Kupcho Will Make Pro Debut at U.S. Women’s Open

Photo courtesy of Wake Forest Athletics

Westminster native takes Qualifying Tournament

As the winner of the Mark McCormack Medal, Jennifer Kupcho had a spot in this year’s U.S. Women’s Open as an amateur. But the Westminster resident, who qualified for the LPGA Tour last November but deferred turning pro until after she graduated from Wake Forest University this month, has other plans.

Oh, she’s still going to play in the Open—but as a professional.

On Monday, she qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open by finishing first in a 36-hole qualifier at Starmount Forest Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.. She shot rounds of 72 and 69 for a 3-under-par 141.

So May 29-June 3, a little over a week removed from commencement ceremonies, she’ll be teeing off as a professional at the Country Club of Charleston. The Open’s $5 million purse, with a $900,000 share for the winner, is the largest in women’s golf.

It will be her third U.S. Women’s Open. She finished 21st in 2017 after missing the cut in 2016.

Kupcho’s decision to stay in college instead of turning pro cost her nine starts on the LPGA Tour 2019 season. However, remaining an amateur led to her star turn at the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur, a lights-out performance that led to appearances with runner-up Maria Fassi on Today and Jimmy Fallon.

She’ll also get her opportunity to defend her NCAA Division I individual championship—and potentially compete with her Demon Deacon teammates May 17-22 at The Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark.

The team, currently ranked fifth in the nation according to the NCAA and seventh by Golfstat, looks to advance from the NCAA Norman Regional in Oklahoma May 6-8. The top six finishers will advance to the NCAA Championships.

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