Coloradan Lauren Lehigh red hot in first match and advances in U.S. Women’s Amateur; CU’s Morgan Miller falls in extra holes after rallying from 4 down
By Gary Baines – 8/9/2023
In boxing terms, Lauren Lehigh seems to be very good at punching above her weight in big-time events.
The Loveland resident is ranked No. 376 in the world among female amateurs, but in national championships, she performs far better than that.
For instance, she advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2022 U.S. Women’s Amateur, losing there to the eventual champion, Saki Baba. And at the 2023 women’s NCAA national championships, Lehigh placed 21st in the field individually.
And now, the University of New Mexico golfer has advanced to the match play round of 32 at the 2023 U.S. Women’s Am, arguably the most prestigious female amateur golf championship in the world.
Lehigh, a two-time girls state high school individual champion in Colorado, rallied after trailing after 10 holes on Wednesday and she prevailed 3 and 2 over Clemson golfer Isabella Rawl of Lexington, S.C., in the round of 64 at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles.
Lehigh won four holes in a five-hole stretch (Nos. 11-15) — two with birdies — to build a big lead and advance to Thursday’s round of 32. Lehigh’s play was stellar as she went 6 under par through 16 holes and didn’t make a bogey.
In Thursday’s round of 32, Lehigh will face Charlotte Cantonis of Tampa, Fla., a 16-year-old high school junior-to-be who has verbally committed to Auburn. Cantonis, seeded 63rd, defeated No. 2 Andrea Lignell of Sweden 4 and 3 on Wednesday.
The round of 16 also will be played on Thursday.
CU golfer Morgan Miller’s short par attempt misses on the 20th hole, where she lost to LSU’s Taylor Riley.
Meanwhile, University of Colorado golfer Morgan Miller, who made it into the field after originally being an alternate, came back in a big way in her round-of-64 match against LSU golfer Taylor Riley of San Diego. The two-time Colorado girls junior match play champion was 4 down after 8 holes, having lost five consecutive holes. But she rallied to tie things with a birdie on No. 17.
After the two tied the 18th and 19th holes (with pars and birdies, respectively), Miller hit a nice pitch on the 20th after missing the green short. But she pulled her 4-foot par putt and made bogey, while Riley two-putted for par and the victory.
Results of the players with strong Colorado connections competing at the U.S. Women’s Amateur:
THURSDAY’S MATCH PLAY ROUND OF 32
Lauren Lehigh, Loveland, vs. Charlotte Cantonis, Tampa, Fla.
WEDNESDAY’S MATCH PLAY ROUND OF 64
Lauren Lehigh, Loveland, def. Isabella Rawl, Lexington, S.C., 3 and 2
Taylor Riley, San Diego, def. CU golfer Morgan Miller, 20 holes
STROKE PLAY MONDAY AND TUESDAY
Advance to Match Play
Lauren Lehigh of Loveland 70-71—141
CU golfer Morgan Miller 71-70–141
Failed to Make Match Play
Emma Bryant of Aurora, a DU golfer 74-76—150
For all the results from Bel-Air CC, CLICK HERE.
About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for ColoradoGolf.org since 2009. He was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates ColoradoGolfJournal.com