The newest U.S. women’s amateur champion, Jensen Castle, is from West Columbia, but the University of Kentucky golfer has thrived thanks to her connections in Charleston.
Bulls Bay Golf Club director Rickey Sullivan has been teaching Castle since she was 14 or 15. And Daniel Island’s Tom Moylan served as her caddy during Castle’s moving triumph a week ago in the US Women’s Amateur at Westchester Country Club in New York.
“I can only say, my heart is full and my nerves are high. What a tournament!” said Sullivan, who also teaches Wake Forests Rachel Kuehn of Asheville, NC, who was the qualifying medalist for the women’s amateur.
“She’s an amazing athlete, an amazing person,” said Moylan, whose first caddy job led to a national title. Castle befriended the Moylan family a few years ago when they hosted them during a tournament. She visited Boston with the Moylans for a break just before the Women’s Amateur, and during the tournament she and Moylan stayed with some of his friends in Greenwich, Conn.
The question arose of whether Castle could compete in the women’s amateur championship. She qualified for the US Women’s Open, held June 3-6 at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. During the tournament, she suffered a fatigue fracture in one of her ribs and missed the cut. Her doctors suggested she take some time off and didn’t think it would be a good idea to play at the Women’s Am.
But Castle felt that she could physically compete in the tournament and paid Sullivan a visit on Friday before the women’s amateur.
“We had no expectations at all. You’re in the tournament so let’s go and at least see how it feels,” said Sullivan. He said they weren’t working on her golf swing at all, but were working on a plan to relieve her physically and give her the best chance of competing. Sullivan said he also spoke to her coaches in Kentucky about the wisdom of gaming.
“We were just on tiptoe to see how she felt. She was still affectionate. We have an action plan. Take one more club than normal and swing super smoothly to get you out of the tournament, “Sullivan said.
Castle’s opening round in the medals qualifying portion of the tournament was a little tricky as she scored 7 over par 79.
“She was very sore. She hadn’t picked up a club in three weeks,” said Moylan. “She had a lot of putts that she normally does and a lot of chips that weren’t necessarily sharp because she hadn’t played. But she did 18 birdies and we talked about finding her game.”
Moylan said she played well in the second qualifying round, shooting 71. A birdie putt on the 18th hole came out and instead of making the top 64 for match play, Castle found herself part of a 12-player playoff at two Places again. But a birdie on the first playoff hole drove them into the main draw. From there, Castle won five games to make it to the championship.
One of the recurring storylines for Castle at the Women’s Amateur was the fact that she hadn’t packed enough outfits for the duration of the tournament. Moylan addressed this problem by doing laundry at his friend’s house.
“We always said we were the houseguests who never leave,” said Moylan. “There were only balls of snow. It just got better.”
With the win, Castle earned a 10-year exemption for the women’s amateur that she is unlikely to take full advantage of if a professional career beckons. Castle has also earned spots in the US Women’s Open, Women’s British Open, Augusta National Invitational, ANA Inspiration, and Evian.
“She did great and her life changed in an instant,” said Sullivan. “She is the first South Carolina golfer to win this tournament since Beth Daniel (a native of Charleston) did it in the 1970s. It’s a big deal.”
Muni makes it into the top 100 list
Since its recent renovation by Charleston golf architect Troy Miller, the Charleston Municipal Golf Course has received multiple awards, including being ranked # 19 among the 30 best urban golf courses in the country by GOLF.com.
The same publication earlier this week included Muni in its ranking of the Top 100 Seats in the US: The Best Seats You Can Play for $ 150 or less. Charleston Municipal came in 62nd with its rates of $ 20-25 for Charleston residents, $ 35-40 for Tri-County residents, and $ 60 for others.
Bethpage Black of Farmingdale, NY headed the list. The Top 100 Value Courses also included Legends Resort Heathlands ($ 63-79) in Myrtle Beach and Aiken ($ 25-30).
Swan wins Mount Pleasant Open
Jarrett Swan set up a successful defense at the Mount Pleasant Open golf tournament, setting the course record of 10 under par 62 in the final round and a new tournament record of 20 under par 196 in the tournament played 6-8. August at Patriots Point Links. Swan’s 20-under score beat Parker Dudley’s previous record by three strokes.
Kevin Tawes won the Open Division with a total of 218 in three rounds. Alton Hutton won the Senior Division with a 54-hole score of 223.
Holy City Disc Golf
Derrick Maestas had a score of 8 under 52 to win the Holy City Disc Golf Green Jacket tournament held at the Summerville Country Club. Tradd Rodenberg finished second with 53. Heather Thomas won the Advanced Women title with a score of 90, followed by Jessica Brown with a score of 96.
Corey Addy won the Advanced Men title with a 53 while Brett Egger finished second with 56. Rob Davis won the Intermediate Men title with a 55 and Kyle Harvey finished second with 56. Jonathan Wilson won the Recreational Men title with a 60 and Kyle Reetz finished second with 61.
• September 11: 10th Annual Coastal Center Cup golf tournament benefiting residents of the Coatal Regional Center in Summerville, Summerville Country Club, $ 75 per golfer or $ 300 per team of four, contact Richard Johnson at email@example.com or call us. Text 843-312-4222.
Charles Graham, July 22nd, Snee Farm Country Club, No. 17, 155 yards, 7-irons. Witnesses: Ted Summerford, John Hyland, Paul Rogers.
Jared Morgan, July 27, Charleston Municipal Golf Course, No. 14, 108 yards, Wedge. Witness: Bill Ditcher.
Steve Daboub, Aug 2, Rivertowne Country Club, No. 8, 115 yards, 8-iron. Witnesses: Chad Moore, Jay Tompkins.
Mike Goldstar, August 3, Charleston Municipal Golf Course, # 4, 150 yards, 7-iron. Witness: Paul Kattawar.
Al Forsythe, Aug 5, Coosaw Creek Country Club, No. 11, 140 yards, 7-iron. Witnesses: Fred Balser, Christof Buys.
Bob Hermann, Crowfield Golf Club, No. 16, 100 yards, 8-iron. Witnesses: Steve Haden, Roger Williams.
Jack Kramer, August 5th, Turtle Point-Kiawah Island Golf Resort, No. 7, 111 yards, pitching wedge. Witnesses: Woody House, John Fenimore.
Grady Willis, August 5th, Ocean Winds-Seabrook Island Club, No. 12, 135 yards, 7-Hybrid. Witnesses: Jay Brown, Tom Webster, Mark Lovern.
Skip Friedrichhof, Aug 10, Crowfield Golf Club, No. 4, 137 yards, 8-iron. Witnesses: Lou Cantelmo, Roger Williams.
A hole-in-one should be reported by the golf course. Please email aces to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.