PORTLAND, Ore.—Seventeen-year-old Kristen Gillman has had quite the summer vacation.
The Pan American Games in Canada and the Women’s British Open in Scotland were among her stops. This week, Gillman looks to defend her title at the U.S. Women’s Amateur in Portland, Oregon.
Gillman, of Austin, Texas, has been on a whirlwind tour since winning last year’s Amateur at Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove, New York, with a 2-up victory over Canadian Brooke Mackenzie Henderson.
About to embark on her senior year in high school, the Alabama-bound Gillman will take on 155 other amateurs at the Portland Golf Club. The tournament opens with stroke play today and Tuesday. The lowest 64 move on to match play with a 36-hole final round yesterday.
Just last month, Gillman played in the U.S. Women’s Open in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; competed for the United States Pan Am games in Toronto; then headed to the Women’s British Open in Turnberry, Scotland. That was her fourth career LPGA event.
There are nine past USGA champions in the field, most notably is Ellen Port, the 2013 U.S. Women’s Senior Amateur champion who also captained the 2014 champion U.S. Curtis Cup team.
Port, at 53, is the oldest player in the field; the youngest is Anne Chen, 14, of Sugar Land, Texas.
Others playing this week include women’s British Open Amateur champion Celine Boutier of France, and 15-year-old Eun Jeong Song of South Korea, who won the U.S. Girls’ Junior title last month in Oklahoma.
The course at Portland Golf Club is set up at 6,360 yards and par-72 for the event, which is in its 115th year.
It is the sixth time that the tournament has been played in Oregon, but first time at the 100-year-old club in southwest Portland.
There were a record 1,303 entries, breaking the previous mark of 1,209 set last year. Sectional qualifying narrowed the field.
Shane Lowry remained somewhat of a mystery to the golf audience outside Ireland and parts of Europe.
He won the Irish Open as an amateur in 2009, and he picked up his first win as a pro three years later in Portugal.
He has been showing up at the majors the last few years, though this is the first year he has been eligible for all of them.
Jim Furyk played with him on Saturday at the Bridgestone Invitational and was asked what he thought of the 28-year-old Irishman’s game. Furyk said he was impressed.
One day later, so was everyone else.
On a strong course at Firestone, with a trio of major champions chasing him, Lowry delivered the biggest round of his career.
He played bogey-free for a 4-under 66, built a two-shot lead and produced two amazing shots and two clutch par saves for a two-shot victory over Bubba Watson.