Nebraska’s Kate Smith earned a chance to make a dream come true when she received an invitation on Wednesday, Jan. 13, to compete at the 2021 Augusta National Women’s Amateur this spring.
“My initial reaction was disbelief,” Smith said. “It’s something that I have been working toward for over two years and receiving that invite felt like all of it paid off in one single moment.”
The international field of 72 women amateurs will hit the course at the Champions Retreat Golf Club on March 31. Following the second round on April 1, the field will be cut to 30 with the final round to be played at Augusta National on April 3.
“Being a female and having the opportunity to compete at golf’s highest stage is amazing,” Smith said. “It’s only the second annual Augusta National Women’s Amateur. To think only 144 women will have played this event in history makes it very special.”
In August of 2020, Smith finished in the top 16 in stroke play at the 120th U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship in Maryland, before advancing to the round of 32 in the match play portion of the event. She was also named the 2020 Minnesota Golf Association Co-Player of the Year after winning the MGA Women’s Amateur Championship.
Most recently, Smith competed at the The Sally (95th annual South Atlantic Women’s Amateur Championship) in Ormond Beach, Fla. (Jan. 6-9). Following rounds of 72 and 69 to open the tournament, Smith closed at 298 to take 12th in the 85-player field. She added a recent top-25 finish at the Orlando International Amateur (Jan. 3-5). In early November, she finished fourth with a three-round total of 208 (-8) at the Kissing Tree Invitational in San Marcos, Texas.
In 2019-20, Smith became the first Husker in history to win the Big Ten Mary Fossum Award presented to the golfer with the best stroke average relative to par among all conference golfers. The first-team All-Big Ten golfer is Nebraska’s career stroke average record holder (73.45) after setting NU’s single-season record for the third straight year in 2019-20 (72.18).
Smith and the Huskers are scheduled to begin their competitive season together at SMU’s Trinity Forest Invitational in Dallas, Texas (Feb. 1-2).