By Jeff Babineau

Amateur Rachel Kuehn, who recently helped lead Wake Forest to the women’s NCAA golf title, was making just her second LPGA start, playing on a sponsor’s exemption, and was in good shape following her opening 69. When she went out and birdied her opening hole on Friday, she was 4 under. But her day would not go as expected. Kuehn doubled the par-4 12th and bogeyed three of her first four holes to start the first nine, which was her second. She rallied to birdie Nos. 6 and 7, but her 74 left her just outside the cutline.

Kuehn, a two-time ACC Player of the Year, will return to Wake Forest in the fall, utilizing an extra year of eligibility that came about because of Covid. Rest assured, she and other top amateurs took note of Rose Zhang, their uber-talented peer, winning in her professional debut in New Jersey two weeks ago.

“I think it kind of lets everyone know, okay, just because you’re an amateur, just because you’re a college player, doesn’t mean that your game can be that far off from being able to compete out here,” Kuehn said on Thursday.

“Obviously the players out here, they’re incredible. They play week in and week out. But if Rose can come out here and do it — no one is quite in Rose’s league, but it means when you have your “A” game you can come out here and compete, and it kind of just puts everything in perspective. But she is incredible.”