Alabama's Kirby Makes Open Field

Alabama freshman Jennifer Kirby finished second at the U.S. Women's Open Sectional Qualifier at Fox Chapel Golf Club in Pittsburgh, Pa., this week to qualify for the 2010 U.S. Women's Open at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa., on July 8-11.

"It feels great to qualify for my first U.S. Open," Kirby said on Friday afternoon. "It really hasn't sunk in yet, but I'm sure when I get there it will be a little overwhelming. It's a pretty big deal, I guess.

"I went into the qualifier thinking that I could make it, but it was my first time every trying to qualify, so I didn't really know what to expect. It was a challenge with 36 holes in one day and several tour pros there trying to qualify as well."

Kirby is one of 84 players to qualify for the 2010 U.S. Women's Open through the sectional qualifying process at 20 different sites across the country. She is also one of just 25 amateurs that will have a chance to tee it up at Oakmont in July.

Kirby shot rounds of 75 and 74 for a 149 total, just three shots off the leading score of 146 by professional Janice Moodie. Kirby was of just three players to qualify out of the sectional qualifier at Fox Chapel Golf Club.

"We are very proud of Jennifer, but not surprised that she was able to qualify for the U.S. Open," said Alabama Coach Mic Potter. "She has the kind of game that would enable her to qualify for an Open. She is straight and long off the tee, so her game should suit Open venues pretty well. I think it will only make our team better next year with the experience that she will gain from playing there."

Kirby is coming off of the best freshman in season in Alabama history in 2009-10. The native of Paris, Ontario, Canada, averaged 73.06 strokes per round to outdistance the old record by a full stroke. She was the SEC Freshman of the Year, a first-team All-SEC selection and a third-team All-America by Golfweek.

It is the third straight year an Alabama women's golfer has qualified for the U.S. Women's Open. Kathleen Ekey played in both the 2008 and 2009 U.S. Opens.

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