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Wildcat breaks ground at US Women’s Open

Weber State University golf alumna Kelsey Chugg became the third Utah native this century, and the first since 2007, to participate in the U.S. Women’s Open.

Chugg golfed for the Wildcats from 2011–13 and had an average of 77.08 per round. She finished in the top-20 in 12 tournaments over her two years at WSU, and earned individual medalist honors three times.

Chugg, who is a four-time Utah Women’s State Amateur champion, qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open last November when she defeated Australia’s Mary Jane Hiestand at the Champions Golf Club, held at the Cypress Creek Course in Houston.

It was an unprecedented come-from-behind victory for Chugg, who began the tournament with a 13-over-par 85 in the first round.

Chugg rebounded with a par second round, and then won six consecutive match-play rounds in a row to claim the victory over the Australian.

“Incredible,“ Chugg said of the event. “It’s just been a crazy week, and just really a lot of fun to be out here at the Champions Golf Club. I can’t believe I pulled it off.“

Winning at the Champions Golf Club allowed Chugg to capture the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amature Title and gave her an automatic bid to compete on the Pro Tour at the U.S. Women’s Open.

“This is a dream,“ Chugg said. “I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s so cool. I am so pumped to go to the U.S. Open. That’s been a lifelong goal.”

Unfortunately for Chugg, qualifying for the U.S. Open was the highlight of her time in Alabama.

During the first day of competition, she was grouped with a pair of pros: Paraguay’s Julieta Granada and Sarah Kemp of Australia. Through the first six holes, Chugg was two shots over par, but finished the round 11-over-par.

She improved during the second day of the competition with a 76 on the round, only four shots over par, but it was not enough to avoid the cut line at 149.

Chugg spoke afterwards about the lessons she learned from this experience, and the insight it gave her to the lifestyle of a LPGA Tour Pro.

“It’s a tough lifestyle,” Chugg said. “You think it would be fun traveling and playing golf and it sounds like a good time. But for the players, it wears on them, and you forget it’s their job. I’m paying attention to that kind of stuff because if I do decide to turn pro, that’s something I need to think about.”

While the tournament is over for Chugg, next month she’ll be honored prior to the Men’s U.S. Open, playing with other United States Golf Association winners in a short alternate-shot tournament.

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