Jennifer Coleman is as local as local gets at the U.S. Women's Amateur golf championship following her advance through Wednesday's round-of-64 match at the Nassau Country Club.
Coleman, seeded 37th after two rounds of stroke play, knocked out No. 28 Taylor Tomlinson of Gainesville, Florida, 2 up, securing the victory with birdies on two of the last three holes.
The 21-year-old Colorado graduate who grew up near Los Angeles is the granddaughter of Dan and Helen Coleman, longtime members of Nassau. She remembers playing Nassau "a few times" as a child, when the family would visit at Christmas time -- "if the weather was good enough."
The only current Long Islander in the original 156-player field, Levittown's 19-year-old Annie Park, missed the cut when stroke play ended Tuesday. And 19-year-old August Kim of St. Augustine, Florida, who grew up in Searingtown, Wednesday was eliminated by Californian Alison Lee, 3 and 2.
So that leaves Coleman as the proxy Long Islander. She will tee off against Lee this morning at 8:30 and, if she wins, will move on to the afternoon's round of 16.
Against Tomlinson, Coleman fell behind three times, only to immediately pull even by producing birdies -- she totaled seven -- aided by consistently out-driving Tomlinson.
"The ball doesn't go as far at sea level," said Coleman, who guessed that her longest drive in the Colorado altitude "had to be in the 300s. At sea level, I think I once hit one, downwind, easily 290."
Speaking of length: It required a three-hole stroke-play playoff, begun late Tuesday and continued yesterday morning, to get 18-year-old Lakareber Abe of Angleton, Texas, into match play. But Lakareber, committed to the University of Alabama this fall, made it worthwhile by ousting top seed Bethany Wu, a high school senior from Diamond Bar, California, 6 and 4, later in the day.
"Last night and this morning, warming up, was pretty stressful," Abe said. "In the playoff I was, like, 'Try to make some pars and see what happens.' I had three hours to try to take it easy, had lunch, sat around.
"So it's been kind of up and down but, during the match, I was, 'Just stay calm, take one shot at a time.' "
Abe took the lead for good with a birdie on the third hole and steadily pulled away with birdies on Nos. 10, 11, 12 and 14.
Defending champion Emma Talley of Princeton, Kentucky, needed 19 holes to defeat Californian Jiyoon Jang. The tournament's youngest player, 12-year-old Karah Sanford, was eliminated by fellow Californian Grace Na, 3 and 2.