Georgia’s Rinko Mitsunaga earned a spot in the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open on Friday by winning a 36-hole sectional qualifying tournament at Sugar Mill Country Club. Mitsunaga shot back-to-back 69s to finish at 6-under 138.
Mitsunaga was tied with current LPGA Tour players Sandra Changkija and Katie Burnett, as well as amateur Kelly Grassel, following the opening round. She eventually finished a stroke ahead of Changkjia, who earned the second qualifying spot. Burnett, who finished at 143, and Grassel, who finished at 144, are alternates for the Open field.
A native of Roswell, Georgia, Mitsunaga earned SEC All-Freshman honors during the 2015-16 season. She was one of two Bulldogs to participated in all 13 tournaments, with three top-10 and seven top-20 individual finishes and a 73.77 stroke average. Mitsunaga captured medalist honors at the Lady Bulldog Individual Invitational in February and helped the Bulldogs capture five team titles.
Mitsunaga is the second current Bulldog to win a sectional qualifier for this year’s Open. Bailey Tardy did so at Butler Country Club outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on May 16.
Mitsunaga, who was a three-time AJGA Rolex Junior All-American, has a long list of USGA events on her competitive résumé.
Mitsunaga will be participating in her second U.S. Women’s Open. She also qualified for the 2012 tournament by winning a sectional qualifier in at Carolina Trace Country Club in Sanford, North Carolina. Mitsunaga already has one USGA title on her competitive résumé. She won the inaugural USGA Four-Ball Championship in 2015. She also participated in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateurs and the 2012 and 2013 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championships.