NORMAN, Okla. – Lauren Diaz Yi will carry a 6-up lead over Doris Chen into Saturday’s afternoon round of the 36-hole championship match at the 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship, being conducted at the 6,351-yard, par-72 Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club.
Yi, 18, of Thousand Oaks, Calif., never trailed in the match after winning the par-3 second hole with a par. She built a 4-up lead at the turn against the 20-year-old Chen, of Bradenton, Fla. Diaz-Yi nearly eagled the par-5 eighth hole, missing a 6-footer, but still won the hole with birdie when Chen failed to get up and down for birdie from a greenside bunker.
The lead swelled to 5 up at the 10th when Chen, the co-medalist from stroke-play qualifying, missed the green with her approach from the right rough. Her third shot carried just over the green and she missed her par pitch. When she failed on her bogey putt, Diaz-Yi comfortably holed her 3-foot par putt.
Chen, a junior at the University of Southern California, won her only hole of the round at No. 11, sinking a clutch 7-footer for par after Diaz-Yi failed to get up and down for par. But Diaz-Yi won the par-3 12th with a two-putt par from 27 feet and Chen missed a 7-footer for par.
The next six holes were halved with pars. On the par-5 18th, Chen came up short of the green with her third shot. She pitched to 5 feet past the hole and lipped out her par putt. Diaz-Yi two-putted from 20 feet for a winning par, making a 4-footer to go into the lunch break 6 up.
Diaz-Yi, an incoming freshman at the University of Virginia, is playing in her first USGA championship final. She was a quarterfinalist at the 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City, Calif.
Chen is vying to become the third player to win a U.S. Girls’ Junior and WAPL title, joining Lori Castillo and the late Heather Farr. Chen won her Girls’ Junior three years ago at The Country Club of North Carolina in Pinehurst, N.C. She also is looking to be the first medalist since Candie Kung in 2001 to win the WAPL.
Diaz-Yi shot the equivalent of 1-over-par 73, with the usual concessions for match play, while Chen carded an 81. Both players hit 11 of 14 fairways, with Diaz-Yi reaching 11 greens in regulation to Chen’s eight. Diaz-Yi had 29 putts and Chen totaled 33.
The second 18 is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. CDT.