CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, COLORADO – Junior Amanda McCurdy took it easy playing justnine practice holes Wednesday in preparation for Thursday’s opening round in the U.S. Women’s Open. “I feel good”, proclaimed the El Dorado native. “I’m hitting the ball very well and the course sets up very well for me because I hit it very straight and don’t miss a lot left or right. As long as I stay out of the rough I feel I have a chance to do pretty well.” That should not be a problem if Wednesday’s nine-hole practice round was any indication as McCurdy found every fairway and often out-drove her playing partners, fellow amateurs Leah Hart and Ya-Ni Tseng. Most impressive was her 290-yard drive on the 428-yard par 4 16th which spilt the middle of the fairway. While the ball does travel further in the thin air at Cherry Hills Country Club, being in the fairway and not the 3 and 1/2 half-inch rough makes accuracy very important. The short game will also be key as Cherry Hills is set up as the longest course in U.S. Women’s Open history at 6,749 yards (par 71). McCurdy took time at each green Wednesday to chip from the fringe and rough under the direction of caddie Todd Kreps, who is an assistant pro at Cherry Hills. “I think her accuracy off the tee is perfect for this course”, noted Kreps. “She’s long enough that I think a majority of the field will have issues with the length of the course but she’s not going to have any of those issues. She’s hitting the ball really well so I think it’s going to be a great week.” If her fairway bunker shot on 11 Wednesday was any indication it will be as McCurdy cleared the bunker face and from 140 yards out landed the ball pin high and 3 feet to the right. McCurdy tees off in round one from the 10th tee at 1:32 with playing partners Jill McGill and Hilary Lunke, the 2003 U.S. Women’s Open Champion. McGill, a popular LPGA veteran, is the hometown favorite having grown up playing the Cherry Hills layout and has been featured in all the local media coverage. McGill’s presence in the group will no doubt draw a large following but that’s just fine with McCurdy. “I like playing in front of big crowds and (our group) should have one tomorrow so I’m pretty excited about that. They say Hilary is really nice person and I don’t know Jill but know of her so I’m really excited about it.” McCurdy’s goal this week is to finish as the low amateur and in the top 20 which would make her exempt for the 2006 U.S. Women’s Open. So how does she plan on achieveing that goal? “Staying in the fairway and putting well, but definitely staying in the fairway is the biggest thing.” Putting will be no small issue though as the greens will be rolling around 11 on the Stimpmeter. It’s an exciting week for McCurdy but it’s also an exciting week for the Lady Razorback golf program as well. “It’s exciting to be here for Amanda and exciting for the University of Arkansas to have a player here," noted Arkansas head coach Kelley Hester. "I also think it’s exciting for the state of Arkansas. We saw how well Amanda can play in this type of situation last year at the U.S. Amateur. She’s real excited about the golf course and playing well and it’s just great to be here.” Divots: Following Wednesday’s practice round McCurdy presented LPGA Hall of Fame member and NBC Sports Reporter Dottie Pepper with a Razorback head cover. The two became friends during last year’s U.S. Amateur…..TV Coverage of round one will be from 4pm to 8pm on espn2 Thursday…..Childern 17 and under are being admitted free and have the first row of all the public grandstands reserved for them……Cherry Hills’ most famous moment came in the 1960 U.S. Open when Arnold Palmer drove the 346-yard 1st hole which led to a birdie and started a charge that saw him come from seven strokes back to win his only Open title.