DURHAM, N.C. — The Duke women’s golf program will feature five golfers competing in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur, which will be held April 3-6, 2019 in Augusta, Ga., as senior Virginia Elena Carta, junior Ana Belac, sophomore Jaravee Boonchant, freshman Gina Kim and incoming freshman Erica Shepherd all received invitations recently.
A field of 72 women amateurs will compete over 54 holes of stroke play. A cut will take place after 36 holes, advancing the leading 30 players to the final round at Augusta National Golf Club. In the event of a tie after 54 holes, the winner will be decided by sudden-death playoff.
The first 36 holes will be contested over two days on the Island and Bluff nines at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., April 3-4. The entire field will then play Augusta National for an official practice round Friday, April 5. The final round will take place at Augusta National on Saturday, April 6, and will feature the top 30 competitors who made the cut.
Carta, a native of Udine, Italy, closed the fall season with a tied for first placement at the Landfall Tradition with three straight rounds of 72. The 2016 NCAA Individual Champion totaled back-to-back top-five placements in her final two tournaments and is currently ranked 59th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and 27th in the Golfweek Individual listing.
A product of Portoroz, Slovenia, Belac boasts a No. 45 ranking in both the Women’s World Amateur and Golfweek Individual ledgers. In the fall, she tallied a 72.67 stroke average with two top five finishes.
Currently ranked 28th in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking, Boonchant totaled a 72.00 stroke average in the fall to go along with three top 11 finishes out of four tournaments. In the latest Golfweek Individual rankings, the Bangkok, Thailand sophomore is 24th.
Kim, who is from Chapel Hill, N.C., owns a No. 46 listing in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking. She rounded out the fall with a tied for first placement at the Landfall Tradition with rounds of 72, 72 and 72 in Wilmington, N.C., for her first collegiate victory.
One of top seniors in the 2019 class, Shepherd owns a No. 74 listing in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking. Shepherd, who hails from St. Charles, Ill., owns three amateur victories, including the 2017 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship. She is also a four-time Rolex Junior All-America.
Provided she remain an amateur, the 2019 Augusta National Women's Amateur Champion will receive an invitation to the next five Augusta National Women's Amateurs, the 2019 U.S. Women's Open, the 2019 Women's British Open, and any USGA, R&A and PGA of America amateur championships for which she is eligible for one year.
NBC Sports will produce and broadcast three hours of live final-round coverage at Augusta National from 12-3 p.m. on April 6. NBC Sports will also provide pre-event promotion across NBCUniversal's portfolio, while Golf Channel will deliver highlights, live reports and news coverage throughout the event, including on-site during the first two competitive rounds at Champions Retreat. Additionally, Golf Channel's "Live From the Masters" will commence on Friday, April 5, from Augusta National and wrap ANWA coverage on Saturday, April 6.