Piyapattra Earns Spot in 2011 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Gene Boyars

NEW YORK -- Columbia women's golf standout Michelle Piyapattra has qualified for what is widely recognized as one of the top women's amateur golf tournaments in the world, the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship.

Piyapattra fired a 72 at the 18-hole sectional qualifier at Glendale Country Club in Glendale, Calif. -- the sixth-best score in the field. The Corona, Calif. native, and most recent individual champion of the Ivy League Women's Golf Championship, joins a list of 10 other golfers that earned an automatic bid into the event from her section. Among the other qualfiers were UCLA All-American Lee Lopez and Alison Lee, who made the cut at the 2009 U.S. Women's Open at the age of 14.

A field of 156 participants took part in the event in 2010, and a similar number is expected to compete this year at Rhode Island Country Club in Barrington, R.I. on August 8-14. Two rounds of 18 holes will be played in a stroke-play format, with the top 64 advancing to match play.

The U.S. Women's Amateur is the third oldest United States Golf Association championship, over a half century older than the U.S. Women's Open Championship, which was first played in 1946. Along with the British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship, the U.S. Women's Amateur championship is considered the highest honor in women's amateur golf.

Past winners of the U.S. Women's Amateur include LPGA standouts Morgan Pressel, Grace Park, Juli Inkster and Beth Daniel.