Posted: July 10, 2015 11:53 pm
Suzuka Yamaguchi walked off of the 18th green after her second round of the U.S. Women’s Open on Friday afternoon after making double-bogey on the treacherous finishing hole.
You wouldn’t have known it by her expression after turning in her scorecard.
The youngest player in the field — she’ll turn 15 in August — she was unfazed by the pressure of the tournament and the LPGA Tour players playing alongside of her.
“There’s no pressure because I’m having so much fun,” she said through interpreter Yukio Ishikawa.
Yamaguchi mixed six bogeys with three birdies for a 3-over-par 73 in her first round Thursday. She followed that up with five bogeys, one birdie and that double on 18 for a 6-over 76 Friday to finish below the cut line.
While she won’t be playing Saturday, she can look back on the experience as she travels home to Japan, where she will complete her third year of junior high in the fall.
Yamaguchi earned a berth in a sectional qualifier at Hyogo Pref, Japan, in June.
Prior to qualifying, she played in a practice round with Monique Ishikawa, a native of Hawaii who will be a senior at Columbia University in New York in the fall. Ishikawa missed out on qualifying, but Yamaguchi asked her to caddie for her at the Open.
“I was probably more nervous than she was,” Ishikawa said of the two rounds.
But along with carrying Yamaguchi’s clubs, Ishikawa also tried to keep Yamaguchi’s stress level in check.
“Suzuka is very mature for her age,” said Ishikawa, whose father acted as an interpreter for interviews with Yamaguchi. “I was there just to make sure she had fun.”
Yamaguchi was followed step by step by her dad, who praised the U.S. Open fans.
“We’re so impressed with the audience,” Hiroyuki Yamaguchi said. “Suzuka was asked for autographs (during practice rounds) but once the tournament started, that stopped. They have a lot of respect for the players. Only in America.”
Yamaguchi hopes to become a professional golfer one day.
For now, though, it’s back to Japan and the Unomori Junior High golf team.