U.S. Girls' Junior 36-Hole Championship Set
Doris Chen, 17, of Bradenton, Fla., and Katelyn Dambaugh, 15, of Goose Creek, S.C., both won two matches Friday at The Country Club of North Carolina to advance to the 2010 U.S. Girls’ Junior championship final.
In her afternoon semifinal match against 14-year-old Gyeol Park of Korea, Chen quickly built a 3-up lead after five holes. Park cut the deficit to 2 down when Chen bogeyed the par-4 seventh, but Chen regained a 3-up lead when she hit her approach shot from 100 yards on the par-5 ninth hole to within inches. Chen then won the par-4 11th with a par and never relinquished that lead en route to a 4-and-3 victory.
It was a change of fortunes for Chen, who got off to a slow start this week at CCNC. She struggled during the two rounds of stroke play, making no birdies, and made the cut by a stroke. But she has become increasingly comfortable on the 6,331-yard Dogwood Course layout.
“In the first two rounds I didn’t play as well as I did in the practice rounds,” said Chen. “I was just trying to make the cut and fortunately I did. And then starting in the third round, I started to play well and play more like my game.”
It was the second consecutive semifinal appearance for Chen, who lost to Kimberly Kim in the semis at the 2009 championship. After coming so close a year ago, Chen, who ousted stroke-play medalist Danielle Kang in the quarterfinals Friday morning, came into this year’s championship with lofty expectations.
“I think it would be very nice if I win my last U.S. Girls’,” said Chen. “I was actually expecting it [coming into this week].”
Dambaugh, who is playing in her first USGA championship, had no such aspirations when she arrived at CCNC.
“I just wanted to make the cut, that was my goal,” said Dambaugh, who is aiming to become the first female left-handed USGA champion in history. “And now I’m here.”
In her semifinal match against Ally McDonald, 17, of Fulton, Miss., Dambaugh won four consecutive holes starting at the par-5 fifth to take control of the match.
“I was playing really well at the end of the first match so I just went off that and went into the second one and started off really good,” said Dambaugh, who earned a 2-and-1 quarterfinal win over 13-year-old Stephanie Liu in the morning.
As in Chen’s match, the ninth hole proved important for Dambaugh, who hit her approach shot to 6 feet and made the birdie putt to halve the hole and keep her momentum going. She won the 10th and 12th holes with pars to close out McDonald, 7 and 6.
Given her unexpected place in the final, Dambaugh does not plan to complicate her approach heading into Saturday’s 36-hole final match.
“Just go out there like I did today and just get my first shot in the fairway and go one shot at a time, and keep having fun,” she said.
The 2010 U.S. Girls’ Junior is one of 13 championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association each year, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Results following Friday’s quarterfinal and semifinal rounds of match play at the 2010 U.S. Girls’ Junior.
Round of 8
Doris Chen, Bradenton, Fla. (156) def. Danielle Kang, Thousand Oaks, Calif. (141), 1 up
Gyeol Park, Korea (144) def. Mariko Tumangan, San Jose, Calif. (145), 3 and 2
Ally McDonald, Fulton, Miss. (150) def. Victoria Tanco, Argentina (153), 1 up
Katelyn Dambaugh, Goose Creek, S.C. (151) def. Stephanie Liu, St Albans, Mo. (149), 2 and 1
Round of 4
Chen def. Park, 4 and 3
Dambaugh def. McDonald, 7 and 6
Pairings for Saturday’s 36-hole championship final
7:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Doris Chen, Bradenton, Fla. (156) vs. Katelyn Dambaugh, Goose Creek, S.C. (151)
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