Jenny Bae and Savannah de Bock, current and future Georgia Bulldogs, respectively, will open play in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur on Wednesday. Bae and de Bock are in an uber elite field featuring 72 of the world’s premier amateurs competing in the fourth edition of the ANWA.
The tournament will begin with 36 holes of stroke play at Champions Retreat Golf Club on Wednesday and Thursday. The field will then be cut to 30 golfers for Saturday’s final round at famed Augusta National Golf Club.
The majority of the golfers for the ANWA were selected based on the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR). Bae is currently ranked No. 29 in the world, No. 8 among Americans. Among collegiate golfers, Bae is listed at No. 2 by Golfstat and No. 5 by Golfweek. De Bock is No. 40 in the world.
“It’s definitely an huge honor to be invited,” Bae said. “I get to play against a lot of the best amateur players in the world within every one of our tournaments, but for the players I’ve never met – I’m sure they’re really good seeing that they also received invitations – I can’t wait.”
“I’ve never been to Augusta National,” de Bock said. “It’s going to be a first, and I’m really excited about it. I just want it to get here.”
Bae is in the midst of one of the most statistically dominant seasons in Georgia history. Her current stroke average of 70.42 is .62 per round better than the Bulldogs’ season record of 71.04 by Jillian Hollis in 2018. Bae has recorded 20 par-or-better scores in 26 rounds this season and is a combined 32-under on the year. She is only two par-or-better loops away from the school record shared by Marta Silva Zamora in 2011 and Bailey Tardy in 2016.
Bae has posted seven top-5 finishes in nine tournaments this season, including shooting a school-record 16-under en route to winning the Illini Invitational last fall.
A year ago, Bae shot 76-77=153 to tie for 43rd at the ANWA.
“It’s the second time (at ANWA) so for me it’s kind of a progress check for me to the point where I can say ‘Ok. I’m doing good to the point that I got another invitation,’” Bae said. “It gives me another chance to show off and see what I can do so it’s exciting. Last year I learned that I would have to play the course a little more conservatively and just focus on my targets on out there instead of hitting it really aggressively at the pin.”
De Bock, who is from Ecaussinnes-d’enghien, Belgium, already has posted two runner-up finishes in 2023, finishing second at the Junior Orange Bowl International and the Spanish International Ladies’ Amateur Championship. A year ago, she captured three victories, headlined by earning medalist honors at the European Ladies Amateur Championship. De Bock also won the Belgian International Amateur and Royal Belgian Golf Federation’s King’s Prize tournament and finished fifth at the World Junior Girls Championship in 2022.
Since 2020, de Bock has recorded six wins and 25 top-10 finishes in 50 WAGR events. She helped Europe win the 2021 Junior Solheim Cup and represented Belgium at the 2022 World Amateur Team Championships.
De Bock is hoping to soak up the experience this week at one of the world’s most famous courses located in the same state where she will play collegiately starting this fall.
“Of course I want to get the most experience from this,” de Bock said. “It’s my first year so have no expectations but if I had an objective, it would be to play the least three-putts and finish close to par. I just want to do my best and see what happens.
“It’s really nice because I’m here and know I’m going to be a Bulldog next year,” de Bock added. “I’m so excited because everyone are Bulldog fans here. There are so many people who are like ‘Go Dawgs’ already, and it makes me proud to be a future part of UGA.”
All told, five Georgia Golfers have qualified for the ANWA a total of seven times in the tournament’s four-year history. That ledger includes Caterina Don both 2019 and 2021, Isabella Holpfer in 2021, Candice Mahé in 2021, Bae in 2022 and 2023 and de Bock in 2023.
Bae and de Bock are actually paired to play together in the first and second rounds. They will tee off from No. 10 at 8:42 a.m. on Wednesday along with Jennie Park, who plays for Texas A&M. Georgia head coach Josh Brewer will serve as Bae’s caddy for the third time. He also was on the bag for last year’s ANWA and the 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur.
New in 2023, the first and second rounds of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur will be broadcast live on Golf Channel (1:30-3:30 p.m. ET) from Champions Retreat Golf Club. NBC Sports will produce and broadcast three hours (Noon-3 p.m. ET) of live final-round coverage of the event at Augusta National. Additionally, Golf Channel’s “Live From the Masters” will commence on Friday, April 1 at Augusta National to provide coverage of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals and the Masters Tournament. Live scoring will be available via anwagolf.com.