Posted: July 10, 2015 11:10 pm
A lot of things have changed in the last six years, including the course at Lancaster Country Club, but Emily Quinn can still remember her 2009 round there at the Lanco Ladies City County Amateur.
Struggling on the 12th hole, at the site of this year’s U.S. Women’s Open, Quinn — a four-time District Three and two-time state qualifier while playing for Lancaster Catholic High from 2003 to 2007 — was just trying to get it up and down, figuring “a bogey’s not a disaster.”
Instead she watched as her shot out of the rough trickled into the hole and went on to claim victory, carding 87-77—164.
It’s a story that many of the LPGA players hope they can repeat — albeit with a lower score, a much bigger trophy to hoist at the end and international audiences watching their every move.
“The conditions under which I played it are completely different as to what it is now,” Quinn was quick to explain. “The fairways are narrower, the rough’s thicker, the greens are faster and they’re restructured. The course is very soft in general and rain makes it softer, so the players aren’t going to get much roll.”
According to Quinn, the rough, and the steep slope of the greens, might pose the biggest problems.
“Just walking the course, you can see the rough is long and thick,” she said. “It’s going to take a lot of strength to get out of it and it takes birdies out of play. If you keep the ball on the fairway, keep the ball below the hole, that’s how you’re going to score.”
It’s a trend that Muni He noticed after wrapping up her second round Friday.
The amateur carded a 2-under 68 in the first round, but struggled with a 4-over 74 in round two.
“It’s all about staying on the fairway, I think,” He said. “One of my problems today was I wasn’t hitting my drives too straight. I would get a bunch of bad hits into these really thick roughs and it’s hard to get out, but yesterday, the one thing that I did really well was keep it in the fairway and on the greens, which is pretty much what you want to try to do here.”
Despite six bogeys, four of which came on the back nine, He should be clear to advance with the cut projected at 5-over par.
The course isn’t the only thing Quinn is familiar with, as the former All-Conference golfer at Gannon University is attending her second U.S. Women’s Open.
Quinn was on hand at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem when Eun-Hee Ji claimed the 2009 title, but that experience doesn’t compare to hosting the championship in her hometown.
“It’s just different having it here and bringing attention to southcentral Pennsylvania,” said Quinn. “I was probably, maybe 20 yards from Cristie Kerr (at Saucon Valley), but I think the fan experience, I think you’re a lot closer to the golfers here. The course, especially with 10 and 11, nine and 18, there’s a section of the course that’s really condensed and you get a chance to be really close to the players.”
Matt Burkhart, a 2006 Lancaster Mennonite graduate who is now on the Lanco Golf Association Board of Directors and whose parents and in-laws are LCC members, wholeheartedly agreed.
“It’s fun to stand here (beside the 10th fairway) and watch them hit about the same shot I would hit and see how they handle it,” said Burkhart, who finished second in the Pennsylvania Amateur in 2011.
“It’s much more of an interactive experience because I know the course,” he continued. “I’ve been to a couple of men’s opens, but this is a lot more interesting. It’s just a lot of fun to watch and it’s fantastic not only for Lancaster Country Club, but for Lancaster County.”