Kim And Ko Advance In U.S. Women’s Amateur


Medalist Hyo-Joo Kim (above) had little trouble getting past Megan Khang, winning 7 and 6 in the first round of match play. (Steven Gibbons/USGA)
By Rhonda Glenn, USGA
August 8, 2012

Cleveland – Medalist Hyo-Joo Kim, 17, of Korea, and Lydia Ko, 15, of New Zealand, the world’s No. 1-ranked player, advanced to the second round of match play in the 2012 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship on the 6,512-yard, par-72 course at The Country Club.

Also advancing were Amy Anderson, 20, of Oxbow, N.D., the 2009 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion and a member of the 2012 USA Curtis Cup Team, and Ariya Jutanugarn, 16, of Thailand, who won the 2011 U.S. Girls’ Junior.  

Match-play rounds continue throughout the week with a 36-hole final scheduled for Sunday.

The U.S. Women’s Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted by the United States Golf Association, of which 10 are strictly for amateurs.

Kim overwhelmed Megan Khang, 14, of Rockland, Mass., 7 and 6. Kim got off to a fine start, mastering the earlier holes that had bedeviled her in stroke-play qualifying. On the fifth, sixth and seventh, the hardest holes on the course, she made three birdie putts in the 20-foot range.

After winning the eighth and ninth with pars, Kim was 5 up at the turn.

The course was so firm that approach shots failed to leave ball marks on the greens and Kim’s soaring irons stopped closer to the hole than those of her younger opponent. On the 10th, with Kim’s ball lying 12 feet below the hole, Khang slashed an iron shot that nearly hit the flagstick but bounded to the back of the green, 45 feet away. They halved with fours.

On the 142-yard 11th, their balls were within a foot of each other, 25 feet from the hole. Khang was in a desperate position, 5 holes down with seven to play. Going for it, she sailed her putt 5 feet past the hole. She went on to three-putt, and Kim was 6 up.

Not as long as Khang off the tee, Kim nearly always hit the middle of the fairway. She drove perfectly on the par-5 12th, as did Khang. After good second shots, their wedge shots to the green were tentative and both missed short. Kim’s pitch was a good one, leaving an uphill putt of two feet. Khang’s effort stopped 4 feet short. After Khang’s putt skidded past the hole, Kim tapped in for a par and the win.

“My putter was working well today,” Kim said through an interpreter, her caddie, Euna Pak, a player who withdrew after the first qualifying round because of an elbow injury. “I’m happy with how I played today. With a match coming up tomorrow, I’ll try to get some rest.”

Ko, the low amateur in last month’s U.S. Women’s Open, defeated Amy Beth Simanton, 20, of Lake Oswego, Ore., 4 and 3.

Simanton got off to a fast start with a birdie to win the first hole, but never again led in the match. At the second, Ko pulled all-square with a 3-foot birdie putt and went 1 up with a 12-footer for birdie at the fourth.

Ko’s pars won the sixth and seventh holes and she made a 15-footer for birdie to win the eighth and go 4 up. After an exchange of holes, Ko went 5 up with a birdie at the 13th and clinched the win on the 15th hole.

“My long game was fine and my putting felt good,” Ko said. “Although I misread a few putts, my stroke was good. In fact, everything was good.”

Ariya is the only remaining Jutanugarn sister still in the championship. The former U.S. Girls’ Junior champion outlasted Jennifer Yang, 18, of Korea, 3 and 1. Jutanugarn outhit Yang off the tee by 50 yards, but Yang was tenacious. Facing a two-hole deficit after the seventh, Yang squared the match at the ninth. Jutanugarn, however, won the 12th and 14th with birdies and the match ended on the 17th green.

“My driver helped me a lot,” Jutanugarn said, “but we had a tight match. Her chipping was great. I would hit a long drive, then I would hit my iron left of the green. I don’t know why I was pulling them. I’m going now to figure it out.”

Jutanugarn’s sister, Moriya, 18, runner-up in the 2011 U.S. Women’s Amateur, fell to Anderson, 1 up, in the most thrilling match of the first round. 

Neither player had more than a 1-up lead. It was all-square at the 16th when Moriya Jutanugarn holed a 40-yard bunker shot for an eagle-3 on the 442-yard, par-5. But on the 377-yard 17th, she gave it back.

“The tees were back 40 yards so I hit my driver, but it went further than I thought I could hit it,” said Moriya Jutanugarn.

Her drive went 287 yards, but her ball landed in a deep, sand-filled divot from which she could not escape. With just part of the ball above the fairway surface, Jutanugarn hit the shot fat  and bogeyed the hole to square the match.

At the par-4 18th, Anderson fired a beautiful iron shot to within 3 feet of the hole. She made the birdie to win, 1 up.

“It was a tough match,” Anderson said. “She’s obviously a very talented player. Coming in, I honestly felt like the underdog. I knew I would have to play my best to beat her.”

“Yeah, I’m disappointed, but it’s match play where anything can happen,” said Jutanugarn. “She played very good. It was fun.”

Other notables to advance include 2012 USA Curtis Cup Team members Austin Ernst and Lisa McCloskey, as well as 2012 Women’s Amateur Public Links runner-up Ashlan Ramsey and 2008 Girls’ Junior runner-up Karen Chung.

Rhonda Glenn is a manager of communications for the USGA.  Email her at rglenn@usga.org.

Results

Cleveland – Results from Wednesday’s first round of match play at the 2012 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship, being conducted at the 6,512-yard, par-72 course at The Country Club:

Upper Bracket
Hyo-Joo Kim, Korea (136) def. Megan Khang, Rockland, Mass. (149), 7 and 6
Isabelle Lendl, Goshen, Conn. (146) def. Whitney Hillier, Australia (146), 2 and 1
Cyna Rodriguez, Philippines (143) def. Ani Gulugian, Irvine, Calif. (148), 1 up
Nicole Zhang, Canada (144) def. Jaclyn Jansen, Effingham, Ill. (148), 6 and 5
Natalie Gleadall, Canada (141) def. Grace Na, Alameda, Calif. (149), 2 and 1
Jayvie Marie Agojo, Philippines (145) def. Emily Childs, Alameda, Calif. (147), 1 up
Maia Schechter, Takoma Park, Md. (149) def. Alina Ching, Honolulu, Hawaii (141), 4 and 3
Su-Hyun Oh, Australia (144) def. Holly Clyburn, England (147), 4 and 2
Andrea Lee, Hermosa Beach, Calif. (149) def. Alison Lee, Valencia, Calif. (139), 1 up
Jaye Marie Green, Boca Raton, Fla. (146) def. Jenna Hague, Canada (145), 6 and 4
Lisa McCloskey, Houston, Texas (142) def. Haley Millsap, Pace, Fla. (149), 2 and 1
Lauren Diaz-Yi, Thousand Oaks, Calif. (144) def. Jennifer Kirby, Canada (148), 22 holes
Madeleine Sheils, Boise, Idaho (149) def. Sierra Brooks, Sorrento, Fla. (140), 3 and 1
Ashlan Ramsey, Milledgeville, Ga. (145) def. Harin Lee, Bayside, N.Y. (147), 6 and 5
Marijosse Navarro, Mexico (149) def. Kelly Shon, Port Washington, N.Y. (142), 3 and 2
Lee Lopez, Whittier, Calif. (148) def. Casey Grice, College Station, Texas (144), 1 up


Lower Bracket

Lydia Ko, New Zealand (137) def. Amy Beth Simanton, Lake Oswego, Ore. (149), 4 and 3
Amy Anderson, Oxbow, N.D. (146) def. Moriya Jutanugarn, Thailand (145), 1 up
Celine Boutier, France (143) def. Mathilda Poulsen, Australia (148), 4 and 3
Karen Chung, Livingston, N.J. (148) def. Brooke Mackenzie Henderson, Canada (144), 4 and 3
Diana Fernandez, Paraguay (149) def. Brogan McKinnon, Canada (141), 19 holes
Jessica Vasilic, Anaheim Hills, Calif. (147) def. Yueer Feng, People's Republic of China (145), 4 and 3
Paula Reto, South Africa (141) def. McKenzie Neisen, New Prague, Minn. (149), 6 and 5
Bronte Law, England (147) def. Chirapat Jao-Javanil, Thailand (144), 3 and 2
Ariya Jutanugarn, Thailand (139) def. Jennifer Yang, Korea (149), 3 and 1
Bethany Wu, Diamond Bar, Calif. (145) def. Samantha Swinehart, Lancaster, Ohio (146), 2 and 1
Breanna Elliott, Australia (143) def. Casey Danielson, Osceola, Wis. (149), 3 and 2
Ashlee Dewhurst, Australia (144) def. Alexandra Papell, Boca Raton, Fla. (148), 6 and 5
Sarah Beth Davis, Victoria, Texas (149) def. Emily Tubert, Burbank, Calif. (141), 3 and 2
Austin Ernst, Seneca, S.C. (147) def. Dottie Ardina, Philippines (145), 4 and 3
Erynne Lee, Silverdale, Wash. (149) def. Minjee Lee, Australia (141), 5 and 4
Elisabeth Bernabe, Anaheim Hills, Calif. (144) def. Demi Frances Runas, Torrance, Calif. (147), 1 up

Pairings

Cleveland – Pairings for Thursday morning’s second round of match play at the 2012 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship, being conducted at the 6,512-yard, par-72 course at The Country Club:

Upper Bracket
7:30 a.m.         Hyo-Joo Kim, Korea (136) vs. Isabelle Lendl, Goshen, Conn. (146)
7:40 a.m.         Cyna Rodriguez, Philippines (143) vs. Nicole Zhang, Canada (144)
7:50 a.m.         Natalie Gleadall, Canada (141) vs. Jayvie Marie Agojo, Philippines (145)
8 a.m.              Maia Schechter, Takoma Park, Md. (149) vs. Su-Hyun Oh, Australia (144)
8:10 a.m.         Andrea Lee, Hermosa Beach, Calif. (149) vs. Jaye Marie Green, Boca Raton, Fla. (146)
8:20 a.m.         Lisa McCloskey, Houston, Texas (142) vs. Lauren Diaz-Yi, Thousand Oaks, Calif. (144)
8:30 a.m.         Madeleine Sheils, Boise, Idaho (149) vs. Ashlan Ramsey, Milledgeville, Ga. (145)
8:40 a.m.         Marijosse Navarro, Mexico (149) vs. Lee Lopez, Whittier, Calif. (148)


Lower Bracket

8:50 a.m.         Lydia Ko, New Zealand (137) vs. Amy Anderson, Oxbow, N.D. (146)
9 a.m.              Celine Boutier, France (143) vs. Karen Chung, Livingston, N.J. (148)
9:10 a.m          Diana Fernandez, Paraguay (149) vs. Jessica Vasilic, Anaheim Hills, Calif. (147)
9:20 a.m.         Paula Reto, South Africa (141) vs. Bronte Law, England (147)
9:30 a.m.         Ariya Jutanugarn, Thailand (139) vs. Bethany Wu, Diamond Bar, Calif. (145)
9:40 a.m.         Breanna Elliott, Australia (143) vs. Ashlee Dewhurst, Australia (144)
9:50 a.m.         Sarah Beth Davis, Victoria, Texas (149) vs. Austin Ernst, Seneca, S.C. (147)
10 a.m.            Erynne Lee, Silverdale, Wash. (149) vs. Elisabeth Bernabe, Anaheim Hills, Calif. (144)

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