Grace Park is out, but 10 other golfers from the East Valley have qualified to play in next week’s U.S. Women’s Open at Newport Country Club in Newport, R.I.
Highlighting the list were three amateurs from Scottsdale — Amanda Blumenherst, Esther Choe and Taylore Karle. Also moving successfully through sectional qualifying were Michelle Saiki of Tempe and Krista Bartlett of Scottsdale.
Five pros from Scottsdale were exempt through various categories required by the U.S. Golf Association. They are Tina Barrett, Maria Hjorth, Pat Hurst, Cristie Kerr and Carin Koch.
Park, the former Arizona State All-American who lists her address as Phoenix, was forced to withdraw earlier this week due to a sore neck. Doctors have told Park that the latest injury is perhaps related to the back pain that hampered her for most of the 2005 season. Doctors urged her to rest for the next three to four weeks.
“I knew something was not right, but that’s certainly not what I wanted to hear from my doctors at this point in the season,’’ said Park, who has seven top-10 finishes in her last 13 majors, including a victory in the 2004 Kraft Nabisco Championship.
“I’m obviously sorry I have to miss the U.S. Open. But right now my top priority has to be getting fully healthy again.’’
Blumenherst is perhaps the top amateur in the 156-player field. She was recently named college player of the year and first team All-American after completing her freshman season at Duke, which won the NCAA Championship.
This year, the U.S. Women’s Open received 1,097 entries, down by approximately 100 entries from last year’s record number. Among those who attempted to qualify for national championship was Tempe’s Julie Yang, who at 10 years was the youngest player who entered.