Jensen Castle claims the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship


Jensen Castle poses with the Robert Cox Trophy after defeating Yu-Chiang Hou 2 and 1 in the final match at the 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur at Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y. on Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021. (Darren Carroll/USGA)

Hunter Shelton

Kentucky women’s golfer Jensen Castle has made history in Rye, New York.

Castle defeated Arizona’s Yu-Chiang (Vivian) Hou 2-and-1 on Sunday in a 36-hole match at Westchester Country Club to win the 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur championship. 

Castle came into the event as the No. 63 seed and defied all odds to become the first University of Kentucky player to win the championship.

“Still hasn’t registered,” Castle said. The West Columbia, South Carolina native is also the first No. 63 seed to win the event, according to the United States Golf Association.

Castle’s cinderella run was almost halted early, as she weaved through 156 other players to claim one of the final two spots from stroke play in a 12-for-2 playoff to get to match play.

From then on, no-one was able to get in the way of the soon to be junior at UK.

In Castle’s semifinal match, she defeated Stanford’s Rachel Heck, the 2021 NCAA individual national champion and player of the year. 

In Castle’s championship bout against Hou, she sunk a ten-foot birdie putt on hole No. 35 of the match to claim victory.

“I can’t even begin to describe how excited we are and how unbelievably proud we are of Jensen,” UK head coach Golda Borst said. “This is an amazing accomplishment, and she is so very deserving. She earned this win the whole way and what a way to do it. Jensen’s passion for the game was on full display and the whole country got to see the strong competitor that we get to work with every day. We are lucky to have Jensen and so, so happy for her. Wow, what a win.”

Castle’s victory propels her to a spot on the eight-woman 2021 USA Curtis Cup Team that will face off against Great Britain and Ireland at the end of August.

“I didn’t even think I would make the cut,” said Castle. “Didn’t pack enough clothes and here I am re-wearing the same outfit and making it to the final day.”

While Castle’s win on Sunday felt improbable, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who have seen her play for Kentucky.

In 17 appearances in two seasons, Castle boasts seven top-20 finishes and a 73.6 stroke average. She set the program’s single-season scoring record with 71.9 strokes per round as a freshman.

“I had one hour and 45 minutes of sleep (on Saturday) night, my watch tracked it. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to sleep tonight either,” Castle said.

Whether Castle is able to rest tonight or not, she’ll be comforted by the prestigious Robert Cox Trophy, having etched her name into women’s golf history.