Dakota Girls Kaufman, Medalist Anderson Advance To Quarterfinals
Defending champion Alexis Thompson, 2008 runner-up Chung eliminated
By David Shefter, USGA
Bedminster, N.J. – With all the great names congregated at the 61st U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at Trump National Golf Club this week, who would have guessed that two 17 year olds from the Dakotas would be among the final eight survivors?
Kimberly Kaufman of Clark, S.D., and stroke-play medalist Amy Anderson of Oxbow, N.D., each won a pair of matches Thursday on the 6,289-yard, par-72 New Course to reach the quarterfinals.
But the third round, plagued early by steady rain before it finally tapered off late in the afternoon, wasn’t kind to last year’s finalists. Defending champion Alexis Thompson, 14, of Coral Springs, Fla., was eliminated by 13-year-old Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand, 2 and 1, while 14-year-old Karen Chung of Livingston, N.J., fell to two-time U.S. Women’s Open qualifier Victoria Tanco, 15, of Argentina, 3 and 1.
Kimberly Kim, 17, of Hilo, Hawaii, the 2006 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, rallied from three holes down at the turn to beat 16-year-old Jessica Korda of Bradenton, Fla., in 19 holes.
Other third-round winners included Luz Alejandra Cangrejo, 16, of Colombia (1 up over Ani Gulugian, 17, of Irvine, Calif.), Doris Chen, 16, of Bradenton, Fla., (6 and 4 over 17-year-old Suzie Lee of Long Island, N.Y.) and Jennifer Johnson, 17, of La Quinta, Calif. (3 and 2 over Daffodil Sanchez, 15, of Mesa, Ariz.).
The quarterfinals and semifinals will be played Friday on the New Course, with the 36-hole final scheduled for Saturday, also on the New Course. Quarterfinal matches for the girls begin at 8:40 a.m. EDT, following the U.S. Junior Amateur quarterfinal matches starting at 8 a.m. The two Junior championships are being conducted at the same venue for only the third time in history, and the first since 2000 at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club outside of Portland, Ore.
Kaufman, competing in her third Girls’ Junior, had never advanced to match play in her two previous tries, while Anderson reached the second round in her first Girls’ Junior last July. Anderson defeated 14-year-old Alison Lee of Valencia, Calif., 1 up, after earning a 1-up win over Isabelle Lendl in the second round Thursday morning.
Kaufman beat Victoria Park of Irvine, Calif., 2 and 1. Park had eliminated Daniela Lendl of Goshen, Conn., Thursday morning, 8 and 7, while Kaufman ousted 13-year-old Casie Cathrea, 3 and 2.
When Anderson and Kaufman met at the scoreboard late Thursday, both shared some high-fives and hugs. Each is also headed to college in the fall: Kaufman to Texas Tech and Anderson to North Dakota State. Both are now a win away from facing each other in the semifinals.
A USGA champion from the Dakotas is not unprecedented. Shane McMenamy of Grand Forks, N.D., claimed the 1996 U.S. Junior Amateur, while Michael Podolak of Fargo, N.D., took the 1984 U.S. Mid-Amateur. Beverly Hanson of Fargo also claimed the 1950 U.S. Women's Amateur title.
“That’s exciting,” said Anderson. “I’m so happy for Kimmy. She definitely deserved it.”
Added Kaufman: “I think it’s great. We know each other pretty well.”
Anderson and Lee, who made the cut at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open and shot a final-round 70 at Saucon Valley Country Club, were all square going to 18. Lee’s drive found the left rough and Anderson’s the right rough. Lee’s caddie, Daniela Lendl, talked about laying up instead of trying to fly the large pond, but Lee chose to go for the green with a 7-wood. She caught it thin and the ball plunged into the water, some 10 yards from the green.
Anderson played a conservative approach, but pulled it a bit. Fortunately the ball stayed right of the pond. She pitched up and made a match-clinching bogey.
“I didn’t hit it well,” said Lee of her approach shot. “I finished bogey, bogey double. If I had just gotten pars, I would have done better. Before I came here, I was thinking about making birdies, but I know now just getting pars is good.”
Said Anderson of Lee going into the water: “It takes the pressure off. You know you don’t want to follow her in the water. It made me feel more relaxed.”
Thompson, one of three players in this year’s Girls’ Junior field to make the Women’s Open cut, was vying to become just the third back-to-back winner of this championship. But she played the equivalent of 8-over-par golf over 17 holes, with the usual match-play concessions. That included a triple-bogey 7 on No. 13, which, incidentally, didn’t cost her a hole as Jutanugarn also made a 7. The match ended when Thompson bogeyed the 17th hole and Jutanugarn holed a 3-foot par putt.
“I just didn’t hit it good at all,” said a disappointed Thompson. “I putted terribly.
“The first seven holes were just in straight rain and that was pretty hard. Then it got windy, but it was playable. You could play good it in. But I just didn’t.”
At 11 years, 11 months and 2 days, Jutanugarn became the youngest to ever qualify for an LPGA Tour event when she made the field for the 2007 Honda LPGA Thailand, finishing tied for 51st. This is her first U.S. Girls’ Junior, but she has competed in several Junior Worlds in San Diego. She was the runner-up last week in the Girls 13-14 division to another Thai girl.
“It feels really good,” said Jutanugarn, who speaks very little English, but understood she was playing one of the country’s best amateur golfers.
Kim, a member of the victorious 2008 USA Curtis Cup team, began her comeback against against Korda with a birdie at the par-5 11th. She then had a winning par at No. 14 and another winning birdie at the par-5 15th. She kept the momentum going by holing a 40-foot chip at No. 17 for a par to avoid going a hole down.
Two holes later, Kim drove into a fairway bunker and chose to hit a 3-wood instead of playing conservatively. Her shot trickled just off the back of the green and she got up and down for a winning par.
“I hit it so good,” said Kim of the 3-wood approach. “I was aiming like 20 yards left because I wanted to be safe from the hazard, and I hit it straight at the pin.”
Should she post two victories on Friday, Kim would advance to her fourth USGA final. Besides her Women’s Amateur triumph at Pumpkin Ridge, she also has lost championship matches at the 2006 and 2009 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links. Only a handful of golfers have played in finals of three different USGA amateur events, an elite list that includes Hall of Famer Carol Semple Thompson (Women’s Amateur, Women’s Mid-Amateur and Senior Women’s Amateur).
Kim also is competing in her sixth and final Girls’ Junior.
“I didn’t even know I had played in six until they told me the other night,” said Kim. “I don’t even remember my first four.”
A couple of more wins, however, and Kim might have plenty to remember.
David Shefter is a USGA Digital Media staff writer. E-mail him with questions or comments at email@example.com.
Bedminster, N.J. – Results from the second and third rounds of match play at the 61st U.S. Girls’ Junior at Trump National Golf Club. Matches contested on the 6,289-yard, par-72 New Course:
Round of 32
Amy Anderson, Oxbow, N.D. (141) def. Isabelle Lendl, Goshen, Conn. (152), 1 up
Alison Lee, Valencia, Calif. (149) def. Haley Andreas, Pacific Grove, Calif. (155), 2 and 1
Karen Chung, Livingston, N.J. (151) def. Ginger Howard, Bradenton, Fla. (146), 3 and 2
Victoria Tanco, Argentina (147) def. Kendall Martindale, Jefferson City, Tenn. (153), 5 and 4
Victoria Park, Irvine, Calif. (151) def. Daniela Lendl, Goshen, Conn. (157), 8 and 7
Kimberly Kaufman, Clark, S.D. (148) def. Casie Cathrea, Castro Valley, Calif. (149), 3 and 2
Ani Gulugian, Irvine, Calif. (143) def. Kristin Coleman, Rolling Hills Estates, Calif. (152), 5 and 3
Luz Alejandra Cangrejo, Colombia (149) def. Jackie Chang, Paradise Valley, Ariz. (156), 19 holes
Doris Chen, Bradenton, Fla. (152) def. Erynne Lee, Silverdale, Wash. (142), 3 and 1
Suzie Lee, Long Island, N.Y. (155) def. Rebecca-Lee Benthem, Canada (149), 3 and 1
Alexis Thompson, Coral Springs, Fla. (145) def. Kyung Kim, Chandler, Ariz. (151), 6 and 5
Ariya Jutanugarn, Thailand (149) def. Stephanie Meadow, Northern Ireland (147), 2 up
Jessica Korda, Bradenton, Fla. (142) def. Nicole Zhang, Canada (152), 1 up
Kimberly Kim, Hilo, Hawaii (149) def. Kristen Park, Buena Park, Calif. (149), 5 and 4
Daffodil Sanchez, Mesa, Ariz. (151) def. Mariko Tumangan, San Jose, Calif. (156), 20 holes
Jennifer Johnson, La Quinta, Calif. (149) def. Danielle Kang, Thousand Oaks, Calif. (147), 2 up
Round of 16
Anderson def. A. Lee, 1 up
Tanco def. Chung, 3 and 1
Kaufman, def. Park, 2 and 1
Cangrejo def. Gulugian, 1 up
Chen def. S. Lee, 6 and 4
Jutanugarn def. Thompson, 2 and 1
Ki. Kim def. Korda, 19 holes
Johnson def. Sanchez, 3 and 2
Bedminster, N.J. – Pairings and starting times for the quarterfinal round of match play on Friday at the 61st U.S. Girls’ Junior at Trump National Golf Club. Matches contested on the 6,289-yard, par-72 New Course. Note semifinal matches to be played Friday afternoon. (All times EDT):
8:40 a.m. – Amy Anderson, Oxbow, N.D. (141) vs. Victoria Tanco, Argentina (147)
8:50 a.m. – Kimberly Kaufman, Clark, S.D. (148) vs. Luz Alejandra Cangrejo, Colombia (149)
9 a.m. – Doris Chen, Bradenton, Fla. (152) vs. Ariya Jutanugarn, Thailand (149)
9:10 a.m. – Kimberly Kim, Hilo, Hawaii (149) vs. Jennifer Johnson, La Quinta, Calif. (149)