by JASON GORDON
Lindsey McCurdy already has proven she’s better than just about every high school golfer in Texas.
This summer she decided to take on some of the best junior amateur golfers in the United States and beyond.
McCurdy, a senior-to-be at Hays High, captured the UIL Class 4A state title in May. She recently competed in the United States Golf Association Girls Junior Amateur Tournament at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City, a suburb of San Francisco.
The tournament started with more than 150 players from as far away as Australia and New Zealand.
After two days of stroke play, only the top 64 qualified for single-elimination match play that would ultimately decide the winner.
McCurdy shot an 11-over 83 on the difficult course on day one, but she showed the kind of resiliency that earned her a state title on day two, firing a 2-over 74 to finish 41st and make the match play field.
Lake Merced Golf Club played nearly 6,300 yards, almost 1,000 yards more than Jimmy Clay Golf Course in Austin, where McCurdy won her state title.
“Not only was the course long, but the fairways were very narrow and the rough was like you see on television – it was the thickest I’ve ever seen,” McCurdy said. “You also had to put the ball in the right place on the greens. They were so fast and they wouldn’t hold your shot unless you had it in the correct spot. I learned a lot the first day, and I think that’s why I was able to do so much better on day two.”
McCurdy got to see exactly how her game matched up with the best of the best, as she was paired with New Zealand’s Lydia Ko, the top-ranked amateur in the world, during stroke play.
In January, Ko became the youngest person, male or female, ever to win a professional golf tour event by winning the Bing Lee/Samsung Women’s NSW Open on the Australian Ladies Professional Golf tour. She was 14 at the time. Ko also finished 39th in the U.S. Women’s Open to take low amateur honors in June.
McCurdy finished three strokes back of Ko on day two of stroke play at the Girls Junior Amateur Tournament.
“I was pretty surprised to know how close I was to the top-ranked amateur in the world,” McCurdy said. “It gave me confidence to know I was right there with her distance-wise off the tee. She just gave herself better birdie opportunities and she putted better. I know if I continue to work on my game and improve I can compete with anyone out there.”
California native Kathleen Scavo knocked McCurdy out of the tournament in the first round of match play.
McCurdy led Scavo 2-up after six holes, but the match was even going to the 14th. Scavo took a 1-up lead, and the pair halved the next four holes. McCurdy had birdie chances slide just by the cup on both 16 and 18 to lose the match 1-down.
“I’ll take a lot of positives from the experience,” said McCurdy. “I want to play in several more events like this next summer.”
McCurdy, who is also an All-District basketball player, said she plans on playing the U.S. Women’s Amateur and the U.S. Women’s Public Links tournaments in 2013.
One thing McCurdy won’t have to worry about in 2013 is where she’ll attend school after she graduates from Hays High. She has accepted a full scholarship to continue her playing career at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Other schools that showed interest included Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Mississippi State, Baylor and Texas State.
“I fell in love with the SMU campus right away,” she said. “I knew that’s where I wanted to go to college and I’m very excited to have that opportunity.”