US Women's Amateur Has Auburn Flavor

SCARBOROUGH, N.Y.--Former Auburn All-American Courtney Swaim earned medalist honors Tuesday at the 102nd United States Women's Amateur by firing a two-day 7-under, 135-total and leads second-place and Auburn rising senior All-American Danielle Downey by three shots.

This marks the second consecutive year an Auburn golfer earned medalist honors in the Amateur as Celeste Troche accomplished the feat last year.

Swaim, who backed up her first round 4-under 67, with a 3-under 68, holed out a 4-iron on the uphill par-4 11th hole from 165 yards. The Sugar Hill, Ga., native turned at even par with a pair of birdies and bogeys, but caught fire with the eagle on the 11th. Another birdie on the par-5 15th capped off her impressive back nine with a 3-under 33.

"The golf course sets up well for me because I am able to hit a fade off the tee on most of the holes," said Swaim, who was a member of this year's victorious USA Curtis Cup team. "I have a real good caddy this week from the club, and I have just been playing well. It starts over Wednesday with match play. It doesn't matter what I shot in the qualifier. I need to keep doing the same thing I'm doing."

Meanwhile, Downey, who went out in the morning wave, carded a pair of 2-under 69s and was the leader in the clubhouse until her former teammate Swaim clipped her. The highlight of Downey's round came when she made an extremely rare double eagle on the par-5, 453-yard, eighth hole by holing out from 200 yards with a 7-wood for a deuce.

"I was excited," said Downey. "It was great. I couldn't see the ball go into the hole because I was in the shade, but my two sisters, Erica and Melissa, saw it and went nuts.

"I am having a blast out there. I played really well Monday as my tee shots, irons and short game were really good. I drove the ball well and my short game was good today, but toward the end of my round, I got tired and wasn't playing aggressively with my irons."

Temperatures reaching 100 degrees blanketed the par-71, 6190-yard Sleepy Hollow Country Club, a five-hour drive from the three-time New York State Amateur Champ Downey's home in Spencerport, outside of Rochester. Playing the first two days without a caddy, Downey has called upon her father, Mike, to loop for her the rest of the way.

Swaim and Downey weren't the only players with an Auburn tie in the event. Coach Kim Evans signee Maria Martinez from Venezuela also made the match play round in the Amateur by firing rounds of 69 and 71 to finish in a tie for 6th place overall after medal play.

Rising senior All-American Celeste Troche improved on her first round 77 with a 4-over 75, but missed the cut of the low 64 for match play by one shot.

Swaim and Downey will occupy the first two spots in match play and will be in opposite brackets. The first two rounds of match play, consisting of 18 holes each, are Wednesday with the third round and quarterfinals Thursday. The semifinals are Friday and the 36-hole final is Saturday. ESPN will televise the event live Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 2-4 pm Central each day.

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