Mehaffey advances to final round at Augusta Amateur

After bogeying the first hole, Fassi had four birdies on the front nine.

In a week's time, we'll be mired in the triumphs and tribulations as Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry stride the fairways of Augusta National in their pursuit to be the first man from this part of the world to capture a Masters title.

American Jennifer Kupcho leads on five under par, one shot ahead of Mexico's Maria Fassi. The crowd was larger than any of the 30 players who made the cut had ever experienced.

Girls have always been able to take part in the Masters' traditional Drive, Chip and Putt contest held on the Sunday before the Major, but this will be the first time a women's tournament will be held on the course itself.

Fassi answered with a 10-foot birdie putt to regain the lead, and Kupcho made a decision to aim her 3-hybrid to the bunker right of the green on the par-5 15th.

"I started out strong and was hitting the ball really well", Kupcho said.

Women's world amateur number one Kupcho, the reigning USA college champion, and Fassi, last year's United States women's college golfer of the year, staged a dramatic duel in a historic moment.

Fassi shot 2-under 70 Saturday, but had crucial bogeys on the par-3 16th and par 4 18th during Kupcho's charge. "I'm going to pretend it's the final round of the event and see what I can shoot out there".

No matter. She was at 5-under 139 and plays in the final group with Fassi, one of the longer hitters in the field. But she saved par from a bunker on the 17th with a 10-foot putt, saw a leaderboard and knew only an eagle would suffice on the par-5 closing hole.

That moment of magic helped turn a two-shot lead into a four-shot cushion, leaving Kim at 12 under with two to play.

The seesaw battle escalated with Fassi making a birdie at 14 and Kupcho doing the same at 15.

The crowd more resembled one you might find at a US women's soccer game with plenty of teenage girls and mothers and fathers with children in tow.

"It's going to be a tight race all the way to the finish", Kupcho said. "It is fun. So to make it look that way for everyone watching, I hope it encourages people to pick up a club and go play".

  • Angelo Rivera