Stanford’s Rachel Heck reaches US Women’s Amateur semifinals

HARRISON, N.Y. (AP) — NCAA champion Rachel Heck of Stanford advanced to the U.S. Women’s Amateur semifinals Friday, beating Kan Bunnabodee of Thailand 3 and 2 at Westchester Country Club.

Heck took a 2-up lead with a par win on the par-4 15th and finished off Bunnabodee with a birdie win on the par-3 16th.

Heck, from Memphis, Tennessee, will face Jensen Castle of West Columbia, South Carolina, the University of Kentucky player who beat Emily Mahar of Australia 6 and 5. Castle survived a 12-for-2 playoff late Tuesday just to qualify for match play.

“I think it’s incredible that she went from the playoff to the semifinals,” Heck said. “I was talking with my dad about how incredible that is. She’s playing some amazing golf clearly and we’ll have fun tomorrow.”

In May, Heck capped her freshman year at Stanford with the NCAA individual title — her sixth victory of the season. No. 2 in the women’s world amateur ranking, she’s trying to join former Georgia star Vicki Goetze (1992) as the only players to win NCAA Division I individual and U.S. Women’s Amateur titles in the same year. Her father, Robert, is working as her caddie.

In the other semifinal, Valentina Rossi of Argentina will face Hou Yu-chiang of Taiwan. Rossi plays at Michigan State, and Hou at Arizona.

Rossi beat Stanford player Brooke Seay of San Diego in 19 holes, and Hou topped 15-year-old Cara Heisterkamp of Westlake, Ohio, 4 and 3.

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