WMU's Kaylee Imel Returns to U.S. Women's Public Links Championship

Updated 6/18/2012
Courtesy of Western Michigan Sports Information

36th USGA Women's Amateur Public Links Championship site

NESHANIC STATION, N.J. - Kaylee Imel will be playing in the 36th U.S. Women's Public Links Championship, which will be played at the Neshanic Valley Golf Course (June 18-23), for the second time, earning a spot after carding a 3-over par 75.  The trip will be all the more special with her father on the bag.

Imel is playing in her second WAPL Championship, having qualified in 2010, and the third USGA Championship of her amateur career.  She earned her spot with steady play and a clutch closing hole during an 18-hole qualifying round at Heartland Crossing Golf Links in Camby, Ind., on May 30.

Her card showed three birdies, four bogeys, a double bogey and 10 pars but where the birdies occurred may have been the key to her qualifying for this year's championship.  Going out with a 1-over par 37, nine holes without a birdie, Imel ratcheted up her play over the final nine holes.

"I managed to play steadily through 15 holes but carded a bogey and double bogey on her 16th and 17th holes due to an unplayable lie on the 17th," commented Imel.  "I knew +4 was on the bubble and I needed to birdie my final hole to secure a spot."

That is just what she did.

Imel knocked an eight iron shot to 15 feet of the pin and sank her third birdie putt of the day to card a 75, besting a pair of golfers by two strokes that had posted 77 earlier in the day.

"I know very little about Neshanic Valley Golf Club but I am excited and I feel confident in my ability to play well on a links style course.

"I've also never been to New Jersey, so that as well as meeting Annika Sorenstam, who is speaking at the players dinner is all extremely exciting."

There is one more reason that Kaylee is excited to make this trip, especially on this weekend.  She will be traveling with her dad, Blaine, who will be on the bag next week.

"My dad has been my caddy in every USGA qualifier and USGA event I have played.  He is a great 'feel' player and the kind of make-everything-he-looks-at putter that competitors can't stand to play against.

"My dad's ability to read greens and help me to avoid the deadly mistakes on any golf course are no doubt the biggest contributions he brings to the table as my caddy.  As my dad, I can't think of a better Father's Day gift for him than to perform as well as we both know I can."

Imel's run at a WAPL title begins Monday, June 18, at 9:20 a.m., off the first tee.  She will be playing with Candice Wiley from Shelbyville, Ky., and T.J. Kliebphipat from Panorama City, Calif.  This trio will remain together during the second round, which starts at 2:20 p.m., the second to last tee time on Tuesday, from the 10th hole.

Once stroke play is completed, a medalist will be awarded and 64 golfers will advance to the match play rounds.  Two years ago, Imel advanced to the round of 64 at the Warren Golf Course in South Bend, Ind., falling to the Caroline Powers (6 and 5) in the opening round of match play.

"This is the second WAPL Championship I have qualified for and my third USGA Championship appearance.  To this day, I have not played in an event as special as the Women's Amateur Public Links Championship or the U.S. Amateur.  Not only have I met and played with some extremely talented golfers, the volunteers and USGA committee members make each championship such a special experience," added Imel.

"Needless to say, I'm ecstatic to have this chance to compete in New Jersey next week with some of the world's highest ranked amateurs."