In amateur golf, July is for winning. These eight girls got it right

U.S. Girls' Junior champion Erica Shepherd (leading) showed real grit in winning her first USGA title. USGA/Steven Gibbons

U.S. Girls' Junior champion Erica Shepherd (leading) showed real grit in winning her first USGA title. USGA/Steven Gibbons

All eyes are on the U.S. Women's Amateur (and getting back to school) come August, but in July? There are all kinds of opportunities for summer heroics. Here are the players who found some in the past 30 days:

Isabella Fierro, North & South Women’s Amateur

World Amateur Golf Ranking: No. 85

College: Oklahoma State commit

Skinny: When she won the North & South at Pinehurst Resort to start the month, Fierro became the first Mexican-born player to get her name on that iconic trophy. That’s a big deal considering this is the longest consecutively running amateur championship in the country. She received a Twitter shout-out from her mentor, Lorena Ochoa, for it, too. Also on Fierro’s win list of late: the South American Women’s Amateur (she won that one by 10 shots) and the Mexican National Amateur.

 

Krystal Quihuis, Women’s TRANS National Championship

World Amateur Golf Ranking: No. 38

College: Arizona

Skinny: Quihuis, an Arizona stalwart, flew across the country to claim the TRANS, a 72-hole stroke play event at Mid Pines Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C. She was 10 strokes better than all but one other player (Michigan State’s Sarah Burnham). It’s a good sign for the Wildcat’s anchor heading into the season.

 

Cara Gorlei, South African Women’s Amateur

World Amateur Golf Ranking: No. 170

College: Arkansas

Skinny: Gorlei’s victory in South Africa comes seven years after first playing the event and a year after giving it away in the home stretch. She said in an interview after her defeat of Denver’s Jessica Dreesbeimdieke that she had been practicing and preparing for the week all summer. Now it’s back to Fayetteville, Ark., for her junior season.

 

Agathe Laisne, European Ladies Amateur

World Amateur Golf Ranking: No. 66

College: Texas signee

Skinny: What a nice way to put herself on the map as she begins her freshman season at Texas. If you haven’t heard of her, Laisne is the Paris native who has spent the past two years racking up top 10s around the world and played the 2015 Evian Championship, an LPGA major, on a much-deserved youth wildcard. At the European Ladies Amateur, she needed back-to-back finishing rounds of 67 to close out Swiss favorites Albane Valenzuela and Morgane Metraux in their own backyard (Switzerland’s Golf Club de Lausanne). Now Laisne gets to play the 2018 Ricoh Women’s British Open.

 

Erica Shepherd, U.S. Girls’ Junior

World Amateur Golf Ranking: No. 372

College: Duke commit

Skinny: The thing we all learned about Shepherd last week at the U.S. Girls’ Junior was how mentally tough she could be after enduring some hard lashes through social media (read more about that here). But those close to her already knew that – swing coach Brent Nicoson said she battled a rib injury last summer, but played through it. Nicoson, who coaches NCAA Division II golf at the University of Indianapolis, calls Shepherd the hardest-working player he’s ever coached. Period.

 

Jennifer Kupcho, Canadian Women’s Amateur

World Amateur Golf Ranking: No. 4

College: Wake Forest

Skinny: Colorado conditions must translate well to Ontario, Canada, because Westminster, Colo., native Kupcho never trailed in her Canadian Women’s Amateur romp. She led wire-to-wire in the 72-hole event and at 7 under, was five shots clear of the field. Look for her at the U.S. Women’s Amateur – she’s on my short list to win.

 

Rose Zhang, Junior PGA Championship

World Amateur Golf Ranking: No. 307

College: No commitment

Skinny: Lucky is the college team that scoops up this incoming high-school freshman…in four more years. Zhang broke a slew of records (second-round score, third-round score and 54-hole total) in the stifling Midwest heat at CC of St. Albans (Mo.) to win her first Junior PGA title at the tender age of 14.  Keep this one on your radar – her story is still unfolding.

 

Julianne Alvarez, Pacific Northwest Women’s Amateur

World Amateur Golf Ranking: No. 167

College: Washington

Skinny: To hear Alvarez talk about the PNGA Women’s Amateur final, it wasn’t the sharpest of days. Alvarez even admittedly took her driver out of play before the match was over, but she still won in two extra holes. In fact, she chipped in for birdie to finish off opponent Samantha Martirez, which is reminiscent of Alvarez’s strong closing performance at the 2016 NCAA Championship (she stuck her approach in the deciding match to give Washington the title). Now the Washington junior, who hails from New Zealand, gets to add her name to a trophy etched with Pacific Northwest icons like longtime Huskies coach Edean Ihlanfeldt.