Practice round is silver lining for those who missed cut at Augusta National Women's Amateur
At just 14 years old, Alexa Pano has already seen a lot of success at Augusta National Golf Club.
As the only two-time champion in the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals, she’s already made a name for herself at the home of the Masters. She was hoping to fulfill her dream of competing on the famed course during the final round of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
She was one stroke shy of qualifying for the sudden-death playoff that helped determine the top 30 players who made it to the final round.
Missing the cut weighed heavy on her. It was something she had dreamed of since she was five, and one stroke thwarted her dream.
But she didn’t let that overshadow that she would still get to play a practice round at Augusta National.
“I had a super great playing partner and we kind of just had fun the whole day and really took my mind off the fact that I didn’t make the cut.” Pano said of Friday’s practice round.
“... You just kind of got to appreciate the course and just the whole atmosphere here rather than taking tons of notes and stuff, which was kind of nice in a way but I still wish I had that pressure on me.”
Being able to truly get a chance to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience was a great opportunity for her, though competing to be named the first ever champion of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur would have been an added bonus.
One bonus, however, of getting to play the course was she got the chance to play Amen Corner (holes No. 11, 12 and 13), her favorites on the course.
Former Augusta resident Dylan Kim was also happy to get the opportunity to play her favorite hole on the course – No. 13.
“It was great. It’s a great hole, I think it’s beautiful hole,” Kim said of No. 13. “I think that it’s kind of a dream come true to get to play it.”
It was also a dream of hers to be able to experience No. 16, which holds her favorite Masters memory from back in 2005: Tiger Woods’ famous chip shot which helped him grab his fourth Masters title.
Kim also agreed that she would have loved nothing more than to compete in Saturday’s final round, but it was good to bask in the moment of being a part of history.
“It was fun to see the different shots and hit some good shots and kind of be able to envision where all the people hit the shots from in the Masters,” she said. “So it was just a really fun experience.”
Both agreed this tournament came at a crucial time for them as they continue their careers.
For Kim, 22, it’s another amateur event that can get her the experience and further build her resume if she decides to make the jump to the LPGA Tour when she graduates from Arkansas this spring.
For Pano, the youngest competitor this week, it further justifies how strong of a golfer she is and continues to prove her potential.
“Yeah, definitely (it motivates me),” she said of playing in the tournament. “My dad and I were talking and hopefully this helps me for next year. Missing the cut really sucks and it stung a lot last night, but it was great to kind of help me get over that and hopefully prepare me for next year.”
While neither will get to compete for the title, getting the chance to play Augusta Nationale will rank high in their best memories throughout their careers, however long those last.
“Probably one of the best (memories),” Pano said. “Especially like coming off of yesterday. I had a super rough night, really upset because it had been a dream of mine for so long. But I mean today, coming out and putting it behind me and have a super fun round in this super special place is something I’ll never forget.”