Wilson well placed after U.S. Women’s Amateur opener

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Wilson well placed after U.S. Women’s Amateur opener

Annabel Wilson (Photo by Jan Kruger/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

Lurgan’s Annabel Wilson carded an even par opening round of 73 to sit inside the top-30 after the opening day of the 122nd U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship at Chambers Bay.

The UCLA star posted three birdies but also a bogey and a double en route to her even par opening, leaving Wilson six shots off the first round lead but well inside the top-64 who advance to the match play.

That lead is remarkably held by Alice Ziyi Zhao, the second-youngest player in the field at 13 years/6 months. Playing in her first USGA championship, Zhao, who was born in Shenyang, China, and now lives in Irvine, California, shot a six-under-par 67 to take a one-stroke lead.

Starting on No. 10, Zhao carded six birdies over her first nine holes to make the turn in 30. She cooled off a bit after that with an even-par score on her inward nine but still topped a field of 156 that includes USGA champions, Curtis Cup Team members and players who have competed at the highest levels of the game.

“Coming into today I didn’t really have any expectations,” said Zhao.

“The course is really beautiful, and I just tried to enjoy my round and not think about shooting low.”  One stroke behind Zhao at 5-under-par 68 is another Chinese-born Irvine resident, Angela (Yilin) Liu, along with Laney Frye of Nicholasville, Ky., and Casey Weidenfeld of Pembroke Pines, Fla. Three more players are tied for fifth place at 4-under 69: Kelsey Bennett and Maddison Hinson-Tolchard, both of Australia, and Brooke Seay, of San Diego.

Round 2 will take place on Tuesday, with tee times again beginning at 7 a.m. and continuing through 2:12 p.m. Pacific Time.

The low 64 scorers after 36 holes will advance to match play. If a playoff is necessary to determine the last match play spots, it is scheduled to take place on Tuesday evening.

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