Rachel Kuehn medals at U.S. Women’s Amateur; Wake Forest teammate Emilia Migliaccio not far behind

Rachel Kuehn continues to check the same boxes that her mom, Brenda Corrie Kuehn, once checked. USGA medalist? Check, check.

Brenda was medalist at the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur in 1995 and 1996. Rachel, 20, birdied her final hole on Tuesday at Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York, to earn her first USGA medal. Rounds of 71-67 left her at 6 under, two ahead of SMU’s Kennedy Pedigo.

Rachel said she wasn’t aware of her mom’s USGA medals and she seems to be devoting little thought to what a USGA medal means for her the rest of the week, too.

“I think you get to this level and everyone can play, so you just got to take one match at a time and not take anything for granted,” she said. “The seeding doesn’t really mean anything at this level. Everyone can go out there and have a good round, and match play is having just a little bit of a better round than your opponent.”

Scoring: U.S. Women’s Amateur

Interestingly, Rachel Kuehn, an All-American at Wake Forest, was arguably more of a favorite entering this championship a year ago. She had just won the North & South Amateur (Brenda was runner-up at the 1995 North & South) and the Ladies National Golf Association Amateur. She missed the match-play cut at the North & South last month and rather than defend at the LNGA, teed it up at the inaugural Sea Island Women’s Amateur as a lead-in to the U.S. Women’s Am. A runner-up finish might have indicated what was coming at Westchester.

Ball-striking is key around here, and it made all the difference for Kuehn.

“That just wasn’t there for me in Pinehurst, and luckily I’ve been able to figure it out between then and now,” she said.

Several of college golf’s best landed near the top of the leaderboard – Arkansas’ Brooke Matthews was solo third at 3 under while Duke’s Erica Shepherd and UCLA commit Caroline Canales tied for fourth at 2 under – but another Wake Forest player landed near the top of the leaderboard, too.

Emilia Migliaccio graduated from the Demon Deacon roster this spring, but her name lingers in the golf world through bylines as a Golf Channel intern. Migliaccio ditched the keyboard for her golf clubs this week and despite limited practice time as she has covered the U.S. Women’s Open, KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and U.S. Girls’ Junior (appearing on camera at the latter), fired rounds of 74-69 to land in a tie for sixth.

Migliaccio, at No. 16 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, is likely to be named to the U.S. Curtis Cup team after the Women’s Amateur is over. Three players – Rose Zhang, Rachel Heck and Allisen Corpuz – were already named to that eight-woman squad based off their world ranking. Migliaccio is the next-highest ranked player.

That’s the other thing that’s on the line this week. A U.S. Women’s Amateur win would assure any eligible player a spot on that squad.

Migliaccio, a quarterfinalist at this championship a year ago, has decided she won’t turn professional and will return to Wake Forest in the fall to start a two-year program for her master’s in communication.

But a trip to the Curtis Cup in September? If she got the call, she told Golfweek before teeing it up this week, she’d go in a heartbeat.

“I would love to go, I’m not going to stress over it, I’m going to just really enjoy – I’m so excited for competition round and just totally play my heart out,” Migliaccio said. “One of those reasons to play really well is so I can make the Curtis Cup. Never been to Wales and I’ve been on two practice squads but not a Curtis cup yet. My freshman year I was second alternate.

“If I could make the team, I would be really ecstatic and happy.”

Here’s hoping Women’s Amateur week makes those dreams come true.

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