What’s in a name?
When it comes to Rolling Green Golf Club in Springfield, Pennsylvania, the name is an apt description of what entrants in the U.S. Women’s Amateur will encounter next week.
One those players is Daniele Giles of Talent.
Giles was one of five players to advance from a qualifier June 28 at the Oregon Golf Association course in Woodburn. She placed fourth in a field of 61 with an even-par 72.
It will be the second straight summer she’s played in a U.S. Golf Association national championship. Last year, she competed in the U.S. Girls Junior, where she came up short of making it to match play.
Giles has never played Rolling Green, but she’s done a bit of research online.
“The only thing I know right now is there are a lot of big, bushy trees and it’s really rolling,” said the former Crater High standout. “That’s why it’s called Rolling Green. It was called that for a reason, I guess. That’s really all I know about it from the pictures I’ve seen.”
If she had to choose a course she’s played that might vaguely resemble it, it would be Eugene Country Club, said Giles. For the trees, not the terrain.
She expected to see the course for herself when she and family arrived Friday. Giles planned to work on her short game that afternoon, then has practice rounds Saturday and Sunday.
Competition begins with 18 holes of stroke play Monday and Tuesday. The 156-player field will then be cut to the top 64 for match play. The 36-hole final is next Sunday.
There were a record 1,381 entrants this year.
Fred Heller, an assistant pro at Rolling Green, echoed Giles’ words, that there’s a reason for the course’s name.
What would he tell a first-timer there?
“It’s gonna play a little longer than it says on the scorecard,” he said. “There are a lot of uphill shots. That, and you want to keep it below the hole. The green complexes are pretty difficult. It’s very undulating.”
He guessed it will take a score of 5 or 6 over par over 36 holes to advance to match play.
The only other time Rolling Green hosted a national championship was in 1976, when JoAnne Carner won the U.S. Women’s Open with a score of 8 over par. She defeated Sandra Palmer in a playoff, shooting 76 to do so.
Heller’s cautionary tale aside, Giles already had reason to work out kinks in her putting.
She had a disappointing two days in the American Junior Golf Association tournament at Centennial Golf Club Tuesday and Wednesday, and it was largely due to a balky putter.
“I don’t think I made any putt that I should have made at all,” said the recent high-school graduate, who will enter the University of Oregon this fall on golf scholarship.
The exception was the last of her 36 holes, when she birdied No. 9 from a decent distance.
“That was pretty much the only putt I made all day,” she said following the round Wednesday. “Yesterday was pretty much the same thing. I had one bad drive but mostly it was putting. And today was kind of worse.”
She wasn’t going to dwell on those woes as she prepared for the Women’s Am. The greens in the coming week will be “totally different,” she said. “I’m going to have to get used to them, anyway.”
Giles can draw from her experience in the Girls Junior last year at Tulsa Country Club in Oklahoma. Other than her second nine on the first day of stroke-play qualifying, when she was overcome by oppressive heat, she played very well.
She was 1 over on her first nine, 10 over on her second, then shot a 2-over 72 on Day 2.
She’s talked to others who have played both tournaments and, other than seeing a higher quality of play this coming week, the tournaments are “pretty much the same,” she said.
“I’m really just going there to enjoy the experience,” said Giles. “I went to the qualifier not really expecting anything, and then I qualified. Now I’m just going to go there and have fun, and if I make the cut, that would be awesome. That’s my main goal is making the cut. Whatever happens after that, it’s just golf.”
She’s excited, not nervous, about the tournament. That could change.
“I’m sure when I get there,” she said, “I’ll start to get a little nervous when I see everybody there. But I’m mostly just excited about it.”
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