WEST POINT, Miss. – The dream of winning a national title ended Wednesday when Vanderbilt golf standouts Morgan Baxendale and Auston Kim suffered match-play losses at the United States Women’s Amateur.
Both Baxendale and Kim ran into red-hot opponents in the opening round of match play. Baxendale fell 5&4 to Lucy Li of Redwood Shores, California. Kim lost 6&4 to Brooke Matthews of Rogers, Arkansas.
Baxendale managed just one birdie against Li after producing 10 birdies while finishing tied for sixth place in 36 holes of stroke play Monday and Tuesday. While Baxendale wasn’t going low, Li dropped several putts to win four of the first six holes. Baxendale cut the deficit to 3-down with a birdie at the par-4 eighth hole, but couldn’t get closer to her opponent.
“(Lucy) played really solid and I didn’t have my ‘A’ game,” Baxendale said. “I had a difficult time keeping the advantage when I got it and the putts that fell Monday and Tuesday didn’t fall today.”
Kim’s opponent played just as well as Baxendale’s foe. Matthews blitzed the Old Waverly Golf Club for six birdies in 14 holes.
“Obviously the result wasn’t what I wanted, but there were a lot of positives,” Kim said. “I know what I need to work on. It’s disappointing now, but this has been a really good experience.”
For Kim, the loss concludes a splendid season. Since April, she has helped Vanderbilt reach the NCAA Championships and make her first appearances in the U.S. Women’s Open and Women’s Amateur. Still, she expects a quick return to the practice range.
“I’ll get back soon,” Kim said. “I want to continue to hone my skills, and work hard to better my game.”
Like her Vanderbilt teammate, Baxendale can’t wait to get back to Nashville and work on her swing.
“I’m so appreciative to be part of this and get to match play. I know how far my game has come because the top 150 amateurs in the world were here and I finished in the top 10 (in stroke-play competition),” Baxendale said. “I looking forward to getting back to school, back to work, and representing the black and gold again.”