Mitsunaga Qualifies For U.S. Women's Open
June 3, 2016

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. --- Georgia's Rinko Mitsunaga earned a spot in the 2016 U.S. Women's Open on Friday by winning a 36-hole sectional qualifying tournament at Sugar Mill Country Club. Mitsunaga shot back-to-back 69s to finish at 6-under 138.

Mitsunaga was tied with current LPGA Tour players Sandra Changkija and Katie Burnett, as well as amateur Kelly Grassel, following the opening round. She eventually finished a stroke ahead of Changkjia, who earned the second qualifying spot. Burnett, who finished at 143, and Grassel, who finished at 144, are alternates for the Open field.

"Today I felt like my strength was that I didn't leave myself chances for bogeys," Mitsunaga said. "I only had two and was able to make important putts. The hardest part was actually focusing all 36 holes because I knew how crucial it would be to finish under par."

A native of Roswell, Georgia, Mitsunaga earned SEC All-Freshman honors during the 2015-16 season. She was one of two Bulldogs to participated in all 13 tournaments, with three top-10 and seven top-20 individual finishes and a 73.77 stroke average. Mitsunaga captured medalist honors at the Lady Bulldog Individual Invitational in February and helped the Bulldogs capture five team titles.

Mitsunaga is the second current Bulldog to win a sectional qualifier for this year's Open. Bailey Tardy did so at Butler Country Club outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on May 16. The 2016 Open will be held July 7-10 at CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, California.

Mitsunaga, who was a three-time AJGA Rolex Junior All-American, has a long list of USGA events on her competitive résumé.

Mitsunaga will be participating in her second U.S. Women's Open. She also qualified for the 2012 tournament by winning a sectional qualifier in at Carolina Trace Country Club in Sanford, North Carolina. She shot 87-81 and failed to make the cut at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisconsin.

"I'm very excited to qualify," Mitsunaga said. "I've been thinking about this a lot this year up to this point. Hopefully, I can redeem myself from the first time it played the Open."

In addition, Mitsunaga won the inaugural USGA Four-Ball Championship in 2015. She also participated in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 U.S. Women's Amateurs and the 2012 and 2013 U.S. Girls' Junior Championships.



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