Chuasiriporn honor was certain to come Curtis Cup: Duke senior from Timonium who was named to U.S. team has racked up a string of impressive amateur accomplishments.

June 17, 1998|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

The golf career of Jenny Chuasiriporn took another step up this week with the announcement of her selection to the U.S. Curtis Cup team.

It was an honor that was expected for the Timonium resident, because her play over the past year had led to her being named the collegiate women's player of the year and No. 1 woman amateur in the country by the weekly publication Golfweek.

The biennial matches against a team from Great Britain and Ireland will be held Aug. 1-2 at the Minikahda Club in Minneapolis.

Chuasiriporn's accomplishments over the past 12 months include winning the women's Eastern Amateur tournament, low amateur at the U.S. Women's Open, qualifying for the U.S. Women's Amateur, and making the final of the Women's North and South.

As a Duke University junior during the past year, Chuasiriporn won four individual college titles, placed fifth in the NCAA women's championships and was the only player to be named Rolex College Golfer of the Month twice.

Additionally, the All-American, who plays out of Hunt Valley Golf Club, recently was honored for having the lowest stroke average among women collegians, 72.94 for 31 rounds.

Unlike tournament play, where the onus is on the player, selection to international teams is done by committees representing the U.S. Golf Association.

It is something Chuasiriporn started thinking about after a stellar summer in 1997, probably after the Women's Trans National, where she defeated Curtis Cup teammate Virginia Grimes and former cup player Robin Weiss, before losing in the final.

"My first couple of college summers, I really wasn't thinking about the Curtis Cup," she said after the announcement. "Oh, it was in the back of my mind, I guess, but match play [the format for many of the amateur tournaments] is so tough, it's enough to stay focused on that."

If Chuasiriporn's play had not attracted the attention of USGA officials before, it certainly did at last year's U.S. Open.

At Pumpkin Ridge GC, outside of Portland, Ore., she opened with a 70, added a 74 to make the cut, then shot 78-75 on the weekend to finish low amateur with 297. Of the eight amateurs to qualify, only two made the cut.

"During the school year, I wanted to maintain my good finishes," she said. "I felt I had to play at least one of the [amateur] winter tournaments in Florida, too, to keep my name in there."

It probably did not hurt that she won the Harder Hall event.

A 3.2 GPA student majoring in psychology, Chuasiriporn in the past year has been discussing the mental part of her game with her teacher, Ted Sheftic, of Hanover CC in Abbotstown, Pa., and with her Duke coach, Dan Brooks.

"It was about this time last year, and Ted was working with me on visualization and relaxing on the course," she said. "From then to the Open -- about a month -- I gained a lot of confidence."

She shot 70 to qualify for the Open last year, and called it "an example of being more focused, of having a stronger mental routine."

Chuasiriporn joins the late Mary Ann Downey Cooke (1956) and Sarah LeBrun Ingram (1992-94-96) as Baltimoreans chosen for the international matches.

Pub Date: 6/17/98

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