FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Bailey Tardy’s second consecutive 3-under-par 69 gave her the early advantage for medalist honors after Tuesday’s morning wave of the second round of stroke-play qualifying for the 2013 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at Sycamore Hills Golf Club.
Tardy’s two-day total of 6-under 138 gives her a three-stroke advantage over 2012 quarterfinalist Yueer Feng, who sits at 3-under 141. Kelsey Ulep, Samantha Wagner and Kathleen Scavo are in the clubhouse with 2-under 140s.
The 2013 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship is open to female amateur golfers under the age of 18. It consists of 36 holes of stroke play followed by six rounds of match play, with the championship scheduled to conclude with a 36-hole final on Saturday.
The U.S. Girls’ Junior is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Tardy, 16, from Norcross, Ga., qualified for match play at the 2012 Girls’ Junior, finishing only one stroke ahead of the playoff for the final berths. 2013, however, has been a different story. Eleven birdies in two days, including playing the four par-5 holes in a combined four under par, puts her in contention for the top seed in the 64-player draw.
“It was a little windier than I expected,” said Tardy, who in June won the 2013 Georgia Girls’ Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club, her home course. “That made some shots difficult that you had a tight pin to. But overall I had a good time.”
Tardy’s round could have been even better, as she approached the final two holes at six under for the day. But a bogey at the par-4 eighth (her 17th hole), and a double at the par-4 ninth put a damper on her post-round excitement.
“I didn't have a very good finish, but I played pretty good,” said Tardy, who has committed to attend the University of Georgia in the fall of 2015. “I made a lot of putts today, so that really helped me.”
Should Tardy’s 138 stand, it would be the lowest medalist score since Lisa McCloskey returned a 134 total at Hartford (Conn.) Golf Club in 2008. Tardy, however, is not counting on that number-one seed.
“The girls that we're up against are good and I think they're going to post lower scores,” she said. “There's a chance, but I don't think so.”
Feng, who came into the championship fresh off a runner-up finish at the 2013 North & South Women’s Championship, battled back from an uncharacteristic double bogey on the par-5 15th and returned a round of even-par 72.
Gabriella Then, who competed in last month’s U.S. Women’s Open, could not find any traction on Tuesday, going 10 over on holes 3-11. Her 8-over 80 gives her a two-day total of 8-over 152.
Tuesday’s steady winds have wreaked havoc with scores, with the morning average at 78.5, up nearly a stroke and a half from Monday. Only three players – Tardy, Kristen Gillman (70) and Chandler Gallagher (70) – returned subpar scores on Tuesday morning.
Seventy-eight players remain on the course for the afternoon wave, including Andrea Lee, who held the lead following Monday’s first round, defending Girls’ Junior champion Minjee Lee and Casie Cathrea, the low amateur in last month’s U.S. Women’s Open.
Christina Lance is the assistant manager of communications for the USGA. Email her at email@example.com.