Playing two practice rounds on Saturday, July 6th, and Sunday, July 7th, at Redlands Country Club in Redlands, West Ranch student and golf phenom Zoe Campos took aim ahead of Monday’s USGA Women’s Amateur Sectional Qualifier.
Campos focused on working the greens and hitting fairways, due to the tightness of the course, but admitted that she had a hard time focusing because she was coming off playing two tournaments on the East Coast.
“It still seemed that I needed to practice it a little more because the greens were a little tricky,” Campos said. “I wasn’t super familiar with it, but I was familiar enough with it to play well. To be honest, Saturday and Sunday I was super tired because I came back from playing in two tournaments on the East Coast, so I wasn’t really super focused and in it. I was able to focus enough to know what the course is and what it’s like.”
Those two practices rounds made all the difference as Campos powered through the qualifier, shooting a 5-under 65 for first place and an automatic bid to the U.S. Women’s Amateur Tournament on Aug. 5th-11th at Old Waverly Golf Course in West Point, Mississippi.
“I know I really wanted to qualify, but I wasn’t thinking too much about it because I’m not much of a thinker,” Campos said. “If I think too much then it’s just not going to go as well as I wanted it to. Just staying calm and having a positive mindset going into the round was really helpful.”
Opening the round with a bad drive on the first tee, Campos collected herself and parred the first four holes to stay even.
Campos birdied the par-3 fifth hole, beginning her streak of four straight birdies, finishing with a birdie on the par-4 eighth hole.
“A couple of holes passed and I was going with the flow and everything,” she said. “My putting felt really well, so I dropped a lot of putts on the front nine.”
Through the front nine, Campos led the field shooting a 4-under 31, two strokes ahead of Brianna Chacon and four strokes ahead of Hailey Borja, who both tied for runner-up honors.
Campos parred the 10th and 11th holes, but still believed that she would need a lower score to win the round.
“I thought the scores were going to be really low since it was a really tough field,” Campos said. “I didn’t think that 6-under would win it or 5-under would win it because I really wanted to get lower than that.”
Following up with a birdie on the 12th hole and another on the 15th, Campos parred the 13th, 14th, 16th, and 17th holes before finishing the round with her only bogey on the day for a 1-under 34 on the back nine.
“I was pretty proud of myself because from the last couple tournaments, I felt like my game was at its best even though it was match play for those tournaments and I didn’t go as far,” Campos said. “But I still felt like my swing is at its best right now and my putting feels really well, so I’m pretty excited to go into the other tournaments that I have left in the summer.”
Campos will compete in the Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship at Red Deer Golf and Country Club in Red Deer, Alberta on Jul. 23-26 and in the 5th SCGA Women’s Amateur Championship at Newport Beach Country Club on Jul. 29-30 before heading off to Mississippi for the 2019 U.S Women’s Amateur.
“I just need to practice as much as I have before and really just feel out how everything has been lately with the tournaments that I’ve had,” Campos said. “If I just keep my momentum going then I know that I will play well.”