Kupcho's epic eagle puts her in Augusta folklore

Jennifer Kupcho went five under in the last six holes for a five-under 67 in the final round on Saturday to win the inaugural Augusta National Women's Amateur by four strokes.
Jennifer Kupcho went five under in the last six holes for a five-under 67 in the final round on Saturday to win the inaugural Augusta National Women's Amateur by four strokes.PHOTO: REUTERS

AUGUSTA • Forget magical Augusta National moments as the Tiger Woods miracle putt, Phil Mickelson off the pine straw or Bubba Watson from deep in the trees to win the Masters.

For a generation of young women golfers who never before had an idol to emulate, it is going to be about Jennifer Kupcho's epic eagle in Amen Corner to win the inaugural Augusta National Women's Amateur on Saturday.

Calling her approach at the par-5 13th to set up the only eagle of the tournament as "one of the best shots I've ever hit", she added: "I knew I needed to make a big move. I never thought about laying up. That's pretty cool to be the only person who did that."

The top-ranked women's amateur, who plans to turn professional and join the LPGA Tour in June, went five under in the last six holes for a five-under 67 in the final round to win by four strokes over Mexico's Maria Fassi.

Kupcho, who is also the reigning United States college champion with Wake Forest University, admitted her victory at the once all-male Augusta National, which did not have women members from its 1933 founding until 2012, "probably will not set in for a little while".

The 21-year-old, who fought off a migraine which blurred her vision on the ninth and 10th holes, forcing her to rely on local caddie Brian Murphy, said: "This tournament shows how good we are and what younger girls have to look forward to.

"To start a movement where we're going to start getting followed, that's a big moment."

Crowds enjoyed a final-pair duel for the title that went down to the last of 54 holes, the first two rounds having been played at nearby Champions Retreat before the closer at Augusta.

"There were just so many people. Just to get to walk the fairways and walk up 18 with all of those fans, it was an experience unlike any other," Kupcho said.

"To do it on this big a stage is probably one of the biggest things I've ever been able to do. It was quite a day. It's an amazing feeling."

While Kupcho and Fassi will now have greater attention when they make their Tour debuts, the former believes "that is something everyone is going to look forward to watching".

She added: "I know we're going to have a great time out there next year in the LPGA.

"Both of us wanted to send the message that golf is about being friends. I hope it encourages people to pick up a club and go play."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2019, with the headline 'Kupcho's epic eagle puts her in Augusta folklore'. Print Edition | Subscribe