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Thai, teen-ager to meet in title match

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ABERDEEN, N.C. — Russamee Gulyanamitta's most difficult task this week in the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship has been getting her return flight changed.

Gulyanamitta originally scheduled her trip back to Costa Mesa, Calif., for Friday because she wasn't confident of going deep into match-play competition in the USGA championship for players who aren't members of private clubs.

Her plans changed Saturday. Gulyanamitta rolled over Jamie Vannoy of Carrollton, Texas, 5 and 4 at Legacy Golf Links to advance to the title match against Catherine Cartwright, a 17-year-old rising high school senior from Bonita Springs, Fla.

Cartwright beat Cindy Lee of Tempe, Ariz., 4 and 3 and will meet Gulyanamitta in Sunday's 18-hole final. Both players were co-medalists in 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying, shooting 4-under 140s.

Gulyanamitta, playing in her first tournament in the United States since arriving from Thailand a month ago, took control of her match during the middle holes, carding four birdies in a five-hole stretch.

She rolled in a 30-putt on No. 10 and birdied all three of the par 3s she played in the semis. In two rounds of stroke play and five matches this week, Gulyanamitta has yet to three-putt.

"I tried to putt it close to the hole and it just went in," Gulyanamitta said of the long putt on the 10th hole that put her 3-up in the match.

Gulyanamitta also got a huge lift from fellow player Angie Yoon, who volunteered to caddie for her after being eliminated. Gulyanamitta carried her own bag the previous few days of the tourney while most players had caddies.

"I didn't have enough power to play any more," she said of the decision to let Yoon carry the bag Saturday.

Like Gulyanamitta, Cartwright made the turn at 2-up and was never much in danger of losing her semifinal match.

"I am very confident with my game now," Cartwright said. "The last three holes I played I started hitting the ball solidly for the first time, so I am excited about (Sunday)."

If Gulyanamitta, 24, wins, she'll be the oldest champion. No player older than 22 has ever won the event.

Earlier in the day, NCAA champion Jenna Daniels got knocked out on the 19th hole by Vannoy, who made a 20-footer on the final hole of regulation to prolong the quarterfinal match.

"I was thinking I was going to top her," Daniels said following Vannoy's clutch putt on No. 18.

But moments later Daniels, the recent University of Arizona graduate, was faced with a difficult downhill approach shot from the rough at the first playoff hole, and hit the ball into a creek, opening the door for Vannoy.

"I didn't have a great lie, I didn't have a great stance, but you can't lay up in that type of situation, so I just decided to swing away," Daniels said of her ill-fated 6-iron shot that found the water.

Daniels made seven birdies in her round of 16 victory, but managed just one against Vannoy.

"I hit a lot of great shots today. I putted extremely poorly," Daniels said. "I couldn't get anything to drop, but you have those days. I found myself being real tentative over my putts" and when you do that you aren't going to make many."