Anika Varma makes a promising US Women’s Amateur debut

Anika Varma battled through to the last stroke on Wednesday, fighting in vain to make the second round cut. Rachel Heck is the leader at -4.

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Anika Varma plays her tee shot at the seventh hole during the second round of stroke play at the 2020 U.S. Women's Amateur at Woodmont Country Club (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

On a brutal day at the Woodmont Country Club in Maryland, Anika Varma offered a glimpse into the steel that resides underneath her pleasant exterior. Despite suffering a body blow to her aspirations midway through the second round, Anika produced three late birdies to give herself a glimmer of hope. In the end though, it wasn’t to be enough as the teenager came home through a par on the ninth for a 77. That pushed her to 8=over par, just two strokes from securing a spot through the second round cut at the 120th US Women’s Amateur.

Rachel Heck made a disciplined 71 to secure a two-stroke advantage over Valery Plata (71) and Phoebe Brinker (72). Overnight leaders Riley Smyth dropped to T4 with a 75 while Rachel Kuehn slipped to T8 with a 76.

Anika started her round on the 10th hole, getting off to an even start through her first two holes. She conceded bogeys at the 12th and 14th holes, both par-4. But she made a seven on the par-5 15th hole and suffered another double at the par-4 17th hole to drop to 6-over for the day. She made the turn in 42 strokes.

The determined teenager showed plenty of resilience from there. Turning on a display of strength and character, Anika made back to back birdies at the 4th and 5th to move to 4-over and nudge towards the edge of the knife.

Even though she endured a fifth dent on her card, with a bogey on the par-4 7th hole, Anika recovered it straight back with her third birdie of the round at the next hole.

Anika added a 76 to an opening 75 to end the second round at 7-over 151, right on the wrong edge of the cut line. The second round cut allows for the top 64 women to proceed into the Thursday round of golf. She took just 34 strokes for her second nine, but fell marginally short after waging a grim battle to the very end.

USGA Cut Notes: After two rounds of stroke play, the top 64 players will advance to the match-play portion of the championship. The projected cutline on the leader board will track that progress. Once the 79th player who tees off today has posted a score for her first hole, the USGA scoring system will begin projecting the cutline, which will appear on the leader board. The players below the line are projected to miss the cut for match play. We do not simply show the cutline at the player in 64th place, as everyone in the field would have to play even par for the remainder of the day for a cutline of that type to be accurate. Our goal is to project the score at which the cutline will fall. Our cutline projects what the leader board will look like at the end of Round 2.

There were just seven golfers under par through 36 holes. American Marissa Wenzler and South African Kajal Mistry produced the best effort on the day. Both women made 69 even though it served them very differently. Wenzler jumped inside the top ten riding her round, getting back to even par from a 75 in the opening round. Mistry was doing a Houdini act. After an 81 in the opening round, the gritty girl from the rainbow nation, moving to T61 at 6-over 150. That helped her get on the right side of the cut line.

Megha Ganne had a disappointing 76 in the second round, adding to her 71 in the opening round. At 3-over 147, Megha was T26 through two rounds.