Anika Varma and Meghan Royal enjoy a memorable week at Maridoe

Casey Weidenfeld and Jillian Bourdage found peak form as they trounced Anika and Meghan on their way to the US Women's Four-Ball semifinals

Anika Varma - 2021 U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball

28 April 2021: For the third consecutive time in the championship, three single-digit seeds advanced to the semifinal round of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball on Tuesday at Maridoe Golf Club. One of those four pairs, Casey Weidenfeld and Jillian Bourdage took down Anika Varma and Meghan Royal in the round of 16 enroute to their semifinals.

Playing together for the first time, the Indo-American duo found the contest against the 2019 runners-up pair too hot to handle. Even though they did well to hang tight with their formidable opponents, the rails came eventually, when they lost three of four holes from the eleventh, sliding to defeat. Till then though Anika and Meghan did exceptionally well to pull all stops to keep their seasoned opponents at bay, as they kept the deficit down to just one through the first ten holes.

Casey Weidenfeld - Jillian Bourdage - USGA
Casey Weidenfeld – Jillian Bourdage – USGA

Bourdage, 19, of Tamarac, Fla., and partner Weidenfeld, 18, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., the runners-up in the 2019 championship in their home state and the No. 4 seeds this week, posted a pair of impressive victories on Tuesday, a 5-and-4 quarterfinal victory over Anna Davis of Spring Valley, Calif., and Lucy Yuan of San Diego, Calif., that was preceded by a 4-and-3 win over Meghan Royal, of Carlsbad, Calif., and Anika Varma, of India.

“On hole No. 10, I put an 8-iron to 2 feet, and I was really happy,” said Bourdage, whose birdie capped a run of three consecutive winning holes that helped the Floridians assume a 4-up advantage in their quarterfinal win over Davis and Yuan. “I figured out my irons by that time in the round. I struggled a little bit in the beginning, but that’s why you have teammates.”

Those twin victories set up a semifinal battle at 7 a.m. CDT on Wednesday with No. 1-seeded Paris Hilinski, 17, of Palm Beach, Fla., and Alexa Pano, 16, of Lake Worth, Fla. The pair notched a pair of 3-and-2 victories on Tuesday, eliminating No. 24 Taylor Ledwein and Megan Welch in the afternoon after ousting Melena Barrientos and Rylie Heflin in the morning.

No. 3-seeded Gianna Clemente, 13, of Warren, Ohio, and partner Avery Zweig, 14, of McKinney, Texas – the youngest side in the 64-team field that started the week – was extended to the 18th hole on Tuesday evening, but prevailed, 1 up, over the No. 27 seeds, Loralie Cowart and Ava Merrill. Clemente, who recorded her second career hole-in-one during stroke play on Sunday, and her partner ousted Sarah Beqaj and Britta Snyder, 3 and 2, in the morning.

Zweig is not the only Texan still competing – Savannah Barber of Fort Worth and her partner Alexa Saldana, of Mexico, earned a pair of 4-and-3 wins on Tuesday to set up a 7:15 a.m. CDT semifinal matchup with Clemente and Zweig on Wednesday. The No. 26 seeds defeated Kentucky teammates Jensen Castle and Marissa Wenzler in the afternoon after ousting Vanessa Ho and Karen Tsuru in the Round of 16.

What’s Next

Tuesday’s quarterfinal winners will compete in the semifinals on Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. CDT. The 18-hole final will take place in the afternoon.

The morning Round of 16 started disastrously for Ashley Chow and Katie James, who had their golf clubs stolen from their car on Monday night. James borrowed clubs from teammates and Chow used a backup set of clubs that were in her dorm room at Southern Methodist. The Maridoe pro shop also loaned Chow a demo driver.

All quarterfinalists receive an exemption into the 2022 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship, which will be played April 30-May 4 at Grand Reserve Golf Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. This is a new exemption added this year by the USGA. Previously, only the semifinalists and finalists earned exemptions. The semifinalists and runners-up receive two-year and three-year exemptions, respectively, while the champions earn a 10-year exemption.

Jensen Castle and Marissa Wenzler suffered a loss-of-hole penalty at the outset of their quarterfinal match when both players were late for their 2 p.m. starting time. Rule 5.3a provides that a player must be ready to play at the starting point at the starting time. The side lost the first hole and the match started on hole 2 with opponents Savannah Barber and Alexa Saldana 1 up. Barber and Saldana prevailed, 4 and 3.


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