Two top college golf stars set to shine at Women's Western Amateur
Sabrina Bonanno of Norridge and Jessica Yuen of Bolingbrook were dominant golfers in the Illinois high school ranks and have been solid college players. Starting today, however, they'll be experiencing something new and different as far as competition goes.
Both are in the select 120-player field in the 118th Women's Western Amateur at Mistwood in Romeoville. The field includes players from 25 states and seven foreign countries, and they range in age from 15 to 57 -- the oldest being six-time national champion Ellen Port of St. Louis.
Port will also be in the field at the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open at Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton next month. That tournament concludes a busy month featuring three big-time women's events in the Chicago area. The first is the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, which tees off on Thursday at Kemper Lakes in Kildeer.
Though both are in the Western Amateur for the first time, Bonanno and Yuen rank among the most promising young players in the field.
A recent graduate of Arkansas-Little Rock, Bonanno won an Illinois high school title and finished second three times while at Ridgewood. Yuen, a junior-to-be at the University of Missouri, won two Illinois high school titles and was second her other two years at Neuqua Valley.
Bonanno is coming off a stunning win in the Illinois Women's State Amateur at Aldeen in Rockford. No player in the 85-year history of state tourney has dominated the event the way Bonanno did. She was medalist in stroke play qualifying, shooting a 67, and none of her matches went beyond the 15th hole.
That performance, coupled with her collegiate status, suggests the 22-year-old might be ready to turn professional after this week's prestigious event ends on Saturday. While not ruling that out, Bonanno isn't in a hurry to make that dramatic lifestyle change.
"I'm going back to college to get my Masters in Business Administration," she said. "I want to get my game where I'm shooting in the 60s, and I'm up and down right now. I know I can play at that level, but right now I'm not sure if I'm ready."
Her plans after the Women's Western Am suggest she's not. Rather than play in her first Illinois Women's Open, also held at Mistwood in July, she's going to Europe for a vacation and the only golf it'll include is time spent watching the British Open.
When she returns she'll attempt to qualify for the U.S. Women's Amateur, then return to Arkansas-Little Rock and work on her game in addition to studying for that Masters. Professional golf can wait.
"There's so much more golf you can play as an amateur," she said. "I'd like to play in some pro tournaments as an amateur and then make a decision."
Yuen, who will also play in the Illinois Women's Open for the fifth straight year, still has two years of collegiate eligibility remaining. She has one big advantage on other players in the Western Amateur. None know Mistwood as well as she does. Her home is 20 minutes away and she has worked with four members of Mistwood's teaching staff over the years.
"I grew up playing it my entire life," she said. "I'm real comfortable here."
One of the biggest amateur events for women, the Women's Western Amateur has a new format this year. The starters will play 36 holes on Tuesday and Wednesday to decide the 32 qualifiers for match play, which begins on Thursday. Unlike past years, there won't be any secondary flights in match play.
• For more golf news, visit lenziehmongolf.com.
KPMG Women's PGA Championship factsThe KPMG Women's PGA Championship, one of the LPGA Tour's five majors, gets underway Tuesday with a Pro-Am event. Here's a glance at the tournament.
When: Practice rounds Tuesday-Wednesday; championship rounds Thursday-Sunday.
Where: Kemper Lakes Golf Club, Kildeer. No walk-ins allowed; go to Lake County Fairgrounds to park and catch a shuttle.
Course: 6,741 yards, Par 72. Purse: $3.65 million
Defending champion: Danielle Kang
TV: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (CST) June 28 and June 29 on Golf Channel; 2-5 p.m. (CST) June 30-July 1 on NBC.
Tuesday's pro-am tee times#1 Tee - 7:30 a.m. Stacy Lewis; 7:40 Anna Nordqvist; 7:50 Brooke Henderson; 8 a.m. Nelly Korda; 8:10 Danielle Kang ; 8:20 Michelle Wie; 8:30 Juli Inkster; 8:40 Azahara Munoz; 8:50 Brittany Lang; 9 a.m. Nasa Hataoka; 9:10 Paula Creamer; 9:20 So Yeon Ryu
#10 Tee - 7:30 a.m. Mariah Stackhouse; 7:40 Olafia Kristinsdottir; 7:50 Klara Spilkova; 8 a.m. Minjee Lee; 8:10 Jin Young Ko; 8:20 Carlota Ciganda; 8:30 Shanshan Feng; 8:40 Caroline Masson; 8:50 Beatriz Recari; 9 a.m. Jenny Haglund; 9:10 Cheyenne Woods; 9:20 Sandra Gal
#1 Tee - 12:35 p.m. Christina Kim; 12:45 Brittany Lincicome; 12:55 Austin Ernst; 1:05 Pernilla Lindberg; 1:15 Marina Alex; 1:25 Lexi Thompson; 1:35 Moriya Jutanugarn; 1:45 Morgan Pressel; 1:55 Lydia Ko; 2:05 Karrie Webb; 2:15 Tiffany Joh; 2:25 Jennifer Song; 2:35 Mo Martin
#10 Tee - 12:35 p.m. Lizette Salas; 12:45 Megan Khang; 12:55 Eun-Hee Ji; 1:05 Jessica Korda; 1:15 Ariya Jutanugarn; 1:25 Charley Hull; 1:35 Wei-Ling Hsu; 1:45 Inbee Park; 1:55 Lindy Duncan; 2:05 Sei Young Kim; 2:15 Cristie Kerr; 2:25 Hyo Joo Kim
Free parking: Lake County Fairgrounds, 1060 E. Peterson Road, Grayslake; free shuttles will take attendees to the championship. Metra lines also at fairgrounds. ADA accessible parking at Lake Zurich High School, 300 Church St.; call (877) 472-7275 to get parking credential.
Tickets: $15-35 per day, depending on day; $69 per day for a family with two adults and two junior tickets (includes 4 concession meal vouchers); for more details, visit kpmgwomenspgachampionship.com or PGA sales office at Kemper Lakes.
Don't bring: Backpacks, any bag larger than 10-by-10-by-10 inches, laptops, tablets, beverages (one unopened water bottle permitted), signs, coolers.