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Posted March 28, 2021, 12:34 pm
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2021 Augusta National Women's Amateur: Here's what to look for

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    Reigning U.S. Women's Amateur champ Rose Zhang is one of 31 players making their second-career start in the Augusta National Women's Amateur next week.    [MICHAEL HOLAHAN/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

The second Augusta National Women’s Amateur is more than a year in the making.

The cancellation of the tournament last year left many in the field wondering if this day would come. Despite some invitees from 2020 opting to turn pro, the tournament features an 85-player field and the fireworks should take place early and often.

The week begins Tuesday, March 30 with a practice round on the Bluff and Island nines at Champions Retreat in Evans. The first and second rounds take place Wednesday and Thursday on the same courses, followed by a 36-hole cut to the top 30 players.

On Friday, things move to Augusta National Golf Club where every starter will play a practice round. The final round takes place Saturday at Augusta National.

Also: Two Texas teammates withdraw from Women's Amateur with COVID

In Other News: Civil rights group calls for Masters removal from Augusta National to protest new Ga. law

2019 ANWA Photos: Women's Amateur Final Round

The field features many of the top golfers in the world, including reigning U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Rose Zhang, who also played here in 2019. Other noteworthy returning starters include Zoe Campos (T-5th in 2019), Beatrice Wallin (T-7th) and 16-year-old Alexa Pano, who is once again the youngest in the field.

The University of South Carolina has four members of its team playing: Pauline Roussin-Bouchard, Pimnipa Panthong, Ana Peláez Triviño and Paula Kirner. The University of Georgia features three: Caterina Don, Isabella Holpfer and Candice Mahe.

Like with the Masters Tournament, there will be a limited number of spectators allowed on the course. For Stanford freshman Rachel Heck, it’s all about being able to play Augusta.

“Honestly, I’m just looking forward to walking the fairways I’ve watched on TV since I was little," she said. "I’m nervous, but excited, and I just want to take in every moment. Not many people get an opportunity to play Augusta, especially in a competitive atmosphere.”

In 2019, Wake Forest’s Jennifer Kupcho won the inaugural event by four shots over Arkansas’ Maria Fassi, including a Saturday 67.

“Jennifer Kupcho played beautifully all three days. The game is fortunate to have ambassadors like she and Maria Fassi and many others that come through our gates and the gates at Augusta National,” Champions Retreat General Manager Cameron Wiebe said. “I think everyone in the golf world had a real opportunity to see the best women players on the planet and they performed beautifully.”

Wiebe expressed the importance of growing the profile of the women’s game and the role this tournament plays in that endeavor.

“I think the great stories about this event, specifically, are that the women’s game in-general have been overlooked significantly,” he said. “There is real relevance to the quality of the player, quality of the individuals and the drive, commitment and passion these players have, just like you would see on the men’s side. The impact this event will have on young girls around the world is at the moment unmeasurable, but time will tell how good it is.”