Amateur Bailey Davis misses cut but raises her game at U.S. Women’s Open

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SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. — Even though she missed the cut at her first U.S. Women’s Open, amateur Bailey Davis allowed herself to smile plenty following her 3-over 74 in the second round Friday afternoon at Pine Needles golf club.

Davis’s almost festive attitude was a complete reversal from Thursday, when she endured one of the most disheartening experiences in her golfing career, carding an 87 that left the White Plains, Md., native unsure if she wanted to come back to the course the next day.

But the two-time Washington Post first-team All-Met selection summoned the mental fortitude to do so, telling herself to enjoy what was left of her time at the most prestigious event on the women’s golf schedule.

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“I just think it shows my determination and the work ethic that I have and the mind-set that I have,” said Davis, the only Black player in the field. “When I was out there [Thursday], I was thinking, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to play tomorrow because I don’t want to go through this again.’ I think being able to sleep on it and come back the next day and post a much better score means a lot to me.”

Davis, 19, was selected to the all-SEC rookie team as a freshman at Tennessee this spring. She collected her only birdie of the tournament in the second round after sinking a 21-foot putt at the par-3 third hole.

Her parents accompanied her throughout the week, including to the amateurs reception Wednesday night where she had time to connect with Ingrid Lindblad, a junior at LSU who fired a 6-under 65 on Thursday for the lowest score by an amateur at a USGA championship. Lindblad followed that up Friday with a 71, leaving her at 6 under and just two shots off the lead, shared by American Mina Harigae and Minjee Lee of Australia.

Lindblad is the second ranked amateur player in the world and directed the Tigers to their first SEC team championship in 30 years. The two-time SEC player of the year has nine career victories, the most in school history.

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“Very impressive,” Davis said. “Ingrid’s a really good player. She knows how to handle the pressure, and she’s proven that time and time again. She’s won a lot of college tournaments, so I’m not surprised by what she’s doing.”

Davis qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open last month at Belle Haven Country Club, shooting 3 under across two rounds in Alexandria for one of two spots. She already is looking ahead to qualifying next year when the tournament moves to Pebble Beach.

She indicated she plans on keeping her schedule light for the immediate future and perhaps coming back to the D.C. area to catch some of the Women’s PGA Championship at the end of the month at Congressional Country Club, which serves as home base for her swing coach John Scott Rattan.

“It’s an unreal experience,” Davis said. “I mean, this is the peak of women’s golf, and to be able to play in it at 19 and get my first few rounds out of the way and try to play again next year, it means a lot. I’m proud to say I competed in it, no matter how I did, and I’m excited to try to come back again.”

Sorenstam, Wie West miss cut

Annika Sorenstam and Michelle Wie West were among the notables who missed the cut, which wound up at 3 over.

Sorenstam, 51 and a 10-time major winner, was playing in the tournament for the first time since 2008 when she announced she would be stepping away from the game. The three-time U.S. Women’s Open champion finished this week at 13-over 155.

Wie West (5-over 147) is doing the same, taking an indefinite leave after this U.S. Women’s Open to devote more time to other projects, including advocating for more representation and inclusion in the women’s game. She won her only major at the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open at nearby Pinehurst.

“I definitely teared up a little bit knowing that it would be one of my last times,” Wie West, 32, said. “It was really cool. Definitely had flashbacks of Pinehurst and just seeing all the same people.”

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