AUGUSTA, Ga. (Jan. 22, 2019) – ETSU senior Hee Ying Loy (Johor, Malaysia) has been selected as one 72 amateurs from around the globe that will join the ranks of golf’s elite by playing for a championship at the hallowed grounds of Augusta National Golf Club in early April, accepting an invitation to participate in the club’s first-ever women’s amateur championship.
Loy received word via phone from the site of The Masters that she was selected as a Committee Pick to be a part of the field for the tournament that will take place April 3-6, an event whose final round will be broadcast on NBC.
“It’s amazing to be recognized this way,” Loy said. “It was a very special phone call from Augusta, really unexpected and surprising, but I’m really excited to have this opportunity. It’s going to be the biggest tournament that I’ve ever played in.”
The weekend prior to The Masters, the 54-hole event includes automatic invitations to the winners of the 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur (Kristen Gillman), the Ladies’ British Open Amateur (Leonie Harm), Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific (Atthaya Thitikul), U.S. Girls’ Junior and Girls Junior PGA (Yealimi Noh) and the Girls’ British Open Amateur (Emma Spitz). The World Amateur Golf Ranking was used to fill the next 60 spots, with the 30 top players from the U.S. not otherwise qualified taken and then the next 30 highest-ranked players chosen based off the final list for 2018. Loy, amongst others, received the ANWA Championship Committee remaining spots via special invitation.
“When we received the call from Augusta Headquarters, Loy and I could not contain our excitement,” head coach Stefanie Shelton said. “What an amazing honor to have the committee select Loy for one of the spots in this prestigious field.”
April 3 & 4 will serve as the opening days of the championship at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Evans, Ga., with every player in the field then playing a closed practice round at Augusta National on Friday, April 5 before the top-30 from Wednesday and Thursday step onto Augusta National for the final day of competition.
“Since the announcement of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in April, we have remained determined to organize a competition that will provide a meaningful impact on the development of the women’s game,” said Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament. “While we aim to stage a first-class championship, our motivation goes beyond the scores posted between the ropes. By providing this opportunity and shining a brighter light on this important segment of the sport, we expect role models to emerge who will help inspire a new generation of golfers.”
Loy, who is on the verge of breaking the Bucs career mark for lowest stroke average, will have plenty of opportunities to get ready for Augusta, with three tournaments for the ETSU women coming prior to the much-anticipated ANWA.
“I have a couple of very important months to prepare for it,” Loy said. “I’m very excited.”
Excited, too, is her head coach.
“It will definitely be an amazing competition,” Shelton said. “I’m so proud of Loy, an experience of a lifetime to play at Augusta National in this inaugural event.”