Back in Colorado

Next month in qualifying at The Ranch, Fassi will try to earn a spot in her fifth U.S. Women’s Open; Choi, Huffer also in field

By Gary Baines – 4/19/2021

Maria Fassi, the former women’s NCAA individual champion who is linked with Colorado native Jennifer Kupcho in the minds of many golf fans after their duel at the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur in 2019, is set to make another USGA qualifying appearance in the Centennial State.

The LPGA Tour player, who finished second to Kupcho at the 2019 ANWA and subsequently appeared with her on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” is among the 53 players scheduled to tee it up in 36-hole U.S. Women’s Open qualifying May 10 at The Ranch Country Club in Westminster.

The number of berths available at The Ranch to the U.S. Women’s Open hasn’t yet been announced. Just one spot was up for grabs in the 2019 Colorado-based qualifying — 2020 Women’s Open qualifying was nixed by Covid-19 safety concerns — but that field had just 32 players. Two berths is far more typical for the event.

Fassi is certainly no stranger to trying to qualify for USGA championships in Colorado. From 2013 through ’16, she competed in five USGA qualifiers in the Centennial State — three U.S. Women’s Open, one U.S. Girls’ Junior and one U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball — and she successfully qualified for a U.S. Women’s Open (2015), a U.S. Girls’ Junior (2013) and a U.S. Women’s Four-Ball (2014, with Maria Balcazar). Fassi came to Colorado to qualify in part because the altitude is not much different than that of Mexico City, near where she grew up.

Overall, Fassi has now played in four U.S. Women’s Opens, missing the cut three times but placing 12th in 2019. On the LPGA Tour in general, she has missed cuts in all five of her 2021 tournaments after posting four top-15 finishes last year. She’s currently No. 150 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.

Meanwhile, Kupcho, who grew up in Westminster and works with The Ranch’s Ed Oldham as her instructor, will be exempt for the U.S. Women’s Open for the second straight year. She’s ranked No. 12 in the world.

This year’s U.S. Women’s Open is set for June 3-6 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. The USGA received 1,595 entries for this year’s championship.

Joining Fassi in the May 10 USWO qualifying field at The Ranch are two-time U.S. Women’s Open qualifier — and former LPGA player from the University of Colorado — Robyn Choi; two-time CoBank Colorado Women’s Open winner — and 2012 U.S. Women’s Open qualifier and former LPGA player — Becca Huffer of Monument; recent Drive Chip & Putt national champion Ali Mulhall from Nevada; and Alexa Pano of Florida, one of the top 100 ranked women’s amateurs in the world.

Former Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado Girls Players of the Year Hailey Schalk, Charlotte Hillary, Lauren Lehigh and Aubri Braecklein also are in the field.

For the entire list of entrants for the the May 10 qualifier at The Ranch, CLICK HERE.