Anika Varma. Pic: Courtesy Anika Varma/ Noah Montgomery
New Delhi, July 18: India’s rising amateur star, Anika Varma will tee up early next month at the 120th U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, scheduled for Aug. 6-9 at Woodmont Country Club’s North Course in Rockville.
With qualifying tournaments having had to be put off due to the pandemic, this will be the first all-exempt championship in recent history.
After two rounds of stroke play on August 3-4, the top 64 players will advance to the match-play portion of the championship.
The 16-year-old Anika, who is currently in the United States and chose to stay on during the Covid-19 crisis, said, “The USGA reached out to the players based on the exemption category related to the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking (WGAR), the top 75 ranked players as on June 24, 2020 have been provided an exemption into the Championship. From there we were all asked to file an entry and today they contacted me to inform me that I have earned an exemption into the tournament.”
Anika, who is high school student at the Granite Bay School in Roseville in the US, added, “As a 16-year-old during the pandemic I haven’t been able to do much in high school as well as golf. Covid-19 has definitely affected my golf season this year. The year started with Women’s Amateur Asia Pacific being postponed to October. During the shelter-in-place my regular school shifted to online schooling.
“My other tournaments such as Thunderbird, USGA qualifiers, IMG Junior and the World Amateur championship got cancelled similar to the case of Hero Women’sIndian Open. Although my season was cut short I am grateful to be given the opportunity to understand my shortcoming and improving them. I was given the chance to play the Cactus Tour because the government of Arizona State allowed the golf courses to stay open as long as social distancing rules are strictly followed and precautions are being taken.”
During her stay in the US, Anika has been playing regularly on the Cactus Tour, which has also seen numerous Ladies PGA (LPGA) and Ladies European Tour (LET) compete. Anika has had some good results, and said, “The experience has been great.”
In 2019, she finished fifth at the LET event, the Hero Women’s Indian Open, as the top amateur and the top Indian in field.
The line-up at the US Women’s Amateur will be extremely strong with 13 USGA champions in the field. They include the defending U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, Gabriela Ruffels, of Australia, as well as Kelsey Chugg (2017 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur).
The field also features 14 of the amateurs who competed in the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open at the Country Club of Charleston (S.C.), including low amateur Gina Kim, who tied for 12th at 1-under-par 283, and Rose Zhang, who finished in a tie for 55th.
The Woodmont Country Club is hosting its first USGA championship. It hosted U.S. Open final qualifying 32 out of 33 years since 1986, as well as three U.S. Women’s Open qualifiers.
Match-play rounds can be seen on Golf Channel beginning on August 5.