If there was a turning point in the afternoon, it came early, at the 429-yard par-5 3rd hole. From an elevated tee, the players hit to a narrow neck in the fairway that is no more than 15 yards wide. Miss to either side, and you are faced with a blind second shot over a huge hill. On the right the player is also faced with a cluster of immense oaks. Knight hit her drive square in the middle of the opening. Kuehne sliced hers onto the hill. What Kuehne did next was to pull a Tiger Woods. She threaded a six-iron through a "hole" in the trees and to within 75 yards of the green. "I was actually thinking about Tiger and Sawgrass," Kuehne said. "That's just what he did [against Trip]. The shot was a big momentum rush." Kelli, in fact, birdied from 10 feet and went 2 up.
After getting to 3 up with a birdie on the par-3 12th, Kuehne's win was signed and nearly sealed. She did seal it with a big drive on the par-4 15th, a wedge to six feet, two putts and a par to Knight's bogey.
"I believe I've always been a good pressure player," a teary-eyed Knight said later while sipping a Heineken. "I just couldn't get anything to happen." Kuehne clearly did, and in the process won the biggest trophy of her young life.
If by some chance at next week's U.S. Amateur in Newport, R.I., Trip Kuehne happens to find himself on the 18th green at the end of the week holding a large silver trophy, you can be sure there will be a phone ringing somewhere nearby.