Jensen Castle tied for fourth place after Augusta National Women’s Amateur first round
Laney Frye is tied for 43rd place in her first appearance at the esteemed event
AUGUSTA, Ga. – University of Kentucky women’s golfer Jensen Castle was one of just 12 players to go under par in the first round of the 2023 Augusta National Women’s Amateur at Champions Retreat Golf Club, turning in a 2-under-par 70 for a share of fourth place Wednesday. The Wildcat held a share of the lead on numerous occasions, concluding her round just four shots back of the leader in the clubhouse.
Castle didn’t waste time commanding the leaderboard this morning, going 2-under through her first three holes Wednesday. She began the first round on No. 10, playing through a considerable amount of wind and cooler temperatures on the hilly back nine. But that didn’t stop the West Columbia, South Carolina, native, who knocked in back-to-back birdies on the par-3 No. 11 and the par-4 No. 12.
Two holes later, Castle looked to be in danger of her first blemish, after a blind chip that left her with a long putt off the green of No. 14. It turned out to be no problem for the senior, who drained the 20-footer to save par.
“It was a long hole, especially into the wind,” Castle said. “With the start I had, I mean, I missed a nine-footer on the first hole for birdie, then made a birdie on the next two holes, and then to save par was huge, especially the fact that I wasn’t on the green. After that, I was like, we’re good, we’re calm, let’s go.”
Castle recorded a trio of birdies on the back nine all-in-all, making the turn 3-under. She then had two bogeys and four pars through hole Nos. 1-6, which included a lip out on the par-3 No. 6. She recovered on the very next hole, finding her fourth birdie of the round on the par-4 No. 7.
The senior is tied with Crystal Wang (USA) and Antonia Malate (USA) for fourth place, just one shot back of third place and four shots back of first place.
Laney Frye, who is making her first appearance at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, also teed off on No. 10, just two groups behind Castle. She went 2-over on the back nine and 2-over on the front nine, assembling a 4-over-par 76 for a share of 43rd place Wednesday.
She, too, didn’t waste time finding a birdie on the golf course, taking advantage of the par-3 No. 11. It helped her remain 1-under through her first four holes at Champions Retreat and hang in the top 10 on the individual leaderboard during that stretch. She suffered her first blemish of the round on the long par-5 No. 14 to get back to even, then recorded a couple more bogeys on hole Nos. 16 and 17. On the back nine, she went through a stretch of responding to her blemishes with a birdie, going even par on hole Nos. 1-5, before making two more bogeys on hole Nos. 6 and 7.
“It’s tough out there,” Frye said. “The greens are fast. The wind was kind of up early and settled down late. It switched in a couple spots. There were some uncomfortable shots out there that kind of got the best of me, but I saw some good and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Frye will tee off in the second round at Champions Retreat on Thursday at 8:12 a.m. ET in Group 3, followed by Castle at 8:35 a.m. ET in Group 7. The cut line will be decided after the second round has concluded, with the top 30 players and ties advancing to the final round at Augusta National Golf Club on Saturday.
Big Blue Nation can watch the second round of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur on Golf Channel from 1:30-3:30 p.m. ET.
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