Bradenton golfers Liu, Neville in hunt for state Women' Amateur Championship

jdill@bradenton.comJune 10, 2014 

MANATEE -- Jennifer Neville wasn't sure she wanted to continue her golfing career after college.

Then something happened after her redshirt season with St. John's University following a transfer from the University of South Florida.

The former Manatee High standout won the Brown Bear Invitational in Rhode Island.

That victory reignited Neville's passion for golf, and she dedicated last summer to practicing and playing more to see where her game could go.

Just a year later, Neville's game is taking shape as she advanced to the quarterfinals of the 85th Florida State Women's Amateur on Monday at Sara Bay Country Club.

"Staying patient and just kind of making pars," said Neville about her strategy. "Because I feel like pars are what's going to take you farther on this course."

Neville defeated Lakewood Ranch's Lauren Lamm 8-and-7 in Monday's morning match, before knocking off Gainesville's Laura Kanouse 5-and-4 in the afternoon's Round of 16.

That latter victory sends Neville to a place she's never been in the state amateur: the quarterfinals.

Growing up locally as a Bradenton Country Club member, Neville's played Sara Bay plenty and has developed an understanding of the nuances that the course offers.

While she said she's not a fan of Donald Ross designs (Sara Bay, Bradenton CC and the Rhode Island course she won at in college are all Ross designs), Neville said her game seems to perform on them.

In her two matches, Neville's strength -- her ball striking -- was evident with just three missed greens in 25 holes.

"That's how it's always been," Neville said. "My ball striking's really great, and then my short game is coming along. But it needs to come along a little bit more."

Players return to action Tuesday for the quarterfinals and semifinals. Neville's quarterfinal opponent is Fernandina Beach's Jacqueline Shelly, who defeated Boca Raton's Alexa Popowitz 3-and-2 in the Round of 16. They tee off at 8:08 a.m.

Joining Neville from the area is Bradenton's Marika Liu, who won twice to advance to her 8 a.m. quarterfinal match against Orlando's Emily Rymer.

Bradenton's Jamie Oleksiew was one of the casualties in the Round of 32, when Pensacola's Elin Olsson bested her 1-up.

Among the top players to falter in the first round of match play were top-seeded Athena Young and two-time state am champ Meghan Stasi.

Young, of Winter Haven, was a co-medalist after a 148 total in two stroke play rounds, but was ousted Monday morning by Fleming Island's Lauren Waidner.

"If you get yourself on a roll, if you get some putts going in and get some momentum, it doesn't matter where you are seeded," Sara Bay general manager Paul Barone said.

Stasi, who also won the United States Women's Mid-Amateur in 2012, fell in sudden death to Ormond Beach's Emma Albrecht.

Albrecht birdied the par-5 18th hole to force extra holes, and got herself up-and-down in back-to-back holes to earn victory over Stasi when the latter made bogey on the 20th hole.

"She played great all day," Stasi said. "We both hit a lot of greens, but when she needed to get up-and-down, she got up-and-down."

However, neither Waidner nor Albrecht could utilize that momentum to win their respective Monday afternoon matches.

The remaining quarterfinal matches are as follows: co-medalist Tara Connelly battles Katie Mitchell at 8:16 a.m. and Maitland's Samantha Marks takes on Orlando's Charlotte Daughan at 8:24 a.m.

The public is welcome to attend and the semifinals are tentatively scheduled for 12:15 p.m. and 12:25 p.m. Tuesday, respectively.

Monday's results


at Sara Bay Country Club

Yardage: 5,990 yards; Par 72

Round of 32

Lauren Waidner, Fleming Island (162) def. Athena Yang, Winter Haven (148), 3 and 1

Marika Liu, Bradenton (155) def. Summer Moser, Lutz (156), 7 and 6

Kelly Okun, Naples (159) def. Ashley Burke, Boynton Beach (151), 4 and 2

Emily Rymer, Orlando (151) def. Emily Uhland, Jacksonville (159), 4 and 3

Alexa Popowitz, Boca Raton (150) def. Elle Nachmann, Boca Raton (159), 5 and 4

Jacqueline Shelly, Fernandina Beach (158) def. Nicolette Donovan, Ponte Vedra Beach (152), 1 up

Laura Kanouse, Gainesville (159) def. Maho Hayakawa, Lake Mary (150), 1 up

Jennifer Neville, Bradenton (152) def. Lauren Lamm, Punta Gorda (158), 8 and 7

Tara Connelly, Palm Beach Gardens (148) def. Maria Marino, Coral Springs (161), 4 and 3

Jamie Freedman, Miami (157) def. Sammi Smith, DeLand (154), 1 up

Emma Albrecht, Ormond Beach (151) def. Meghan Stasi, Oakland Park (159), 20 holes

Katie Mitchell, Fernandina Beach (152) def. Courtney Boe, Windermere (158), 2 and 1

Elin Olsson, Pensacola (159) def. Jamie Oleksiew, Bradenton (149), 1 up

Samantha Marks, Maitland (154) def. Ashley Zagers, Oldsmar (158), 19 holes

Alyssa Lamoureux, Seminole (159) def. Carolina Garrett, Miami (150), 2 up

Charlotte Daughan, Orlando (158) def. Alex Milan, Lutz (152), 21 holes

Round of 16

Marika Liu, Bradenton (155) def. Lauren Waidner, Fleming Island (162), 1 up

Emily Rymer, Orlando (151) def. Kelly Okun, Naples (159), 4 and 3

Jacqueline Shelly, Fernandina Beach (158) def. Alexa Popowitz, Boca Raton (150), 3 and 2

Jennifer Neville, Bradenton (152) def. Laura Kanouse, Gainesville (159), 5 and 4

Tara Connelly, Palm Beach Gardens (148) def. Jamie Freedman, Miami (157), 4 and 3

Katie Mitchell, Fernandina Beach (152) def. Emma Albrecht, Ormond Beach (151), 4 and 3

Samantha Marks, Maitland (154) def. Elin Olsson, Pensacola (159), 4 and 3

Charlotte Daughan, Orlando (158) def. Alyssa Lamoureux, Semi

Tuesday's tee times


At Sara Bay Country Club

[ ] 8 a.m. -- Marika Liu vs. Emily Rymer

[ ] 8:08 a.m. -- Jacqueline Shelly vs. Jennifer Neville

[ ] 8:16 a.m. -- Tara Connelly vs. Katie Mitchell

[ ] 8:24 a.m. -- Samantha Marks vs. Charlotte Daughan

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