The Dottie Ardina-Yu Liu match was a classic case of chicken. Or a game of who would blink first. The fellow competitors were evenly matched, evidenced by the back-and-forth nature of their duel.
Ardina, 17, playing in her fourth U.S. Girls' Junior, eventually won the match, 2 and 1.
"It feels very good [to reach the final]," said Ardina.
Not only did she battle Liu, but she went up against her body, namely her feet. She has three blisters on each foot, which made walking tough. She shuffled her way around the course, never giving in.
The two went 10 holes of being all square. Liu only led two holes. The match started with Ardina winning the first hole with a birdie. Liu evened things four holes later on the par-3 fifth hole with a birdie. They ran off seven straight halves after that.
Liu, 15, won No. 13 to take a 1-up lead. She knocked a 14-foot putt close, picked up, while Ardina was left to make a 7-footer to halve the hole. She pushed the putt.
Liu's lead lasted one hole. That's because Ardina knocked a 14-foot putt from the collar close to the hole and picked up. It left Liu looking over a 3 1/2-foot putt, but she missed it.
"My putting wasn't as good," said Liu.
Ardina secured a lead she would never lose on the par-4 16th hole. Liu failed to get up and down from a backside bunker. Her first stroke out hit the lip and bounced back. Ardina essentially needed to two-putt from 20 feet, which she did to go 1 up.
On No. 17, Liu missed the green in regulation and was forced to pitch her way on. It cost her a valuable stroke. She stood over a 14-foot putt, but pulled it. Ardina only needed to two-putt again, this time from 12 feet. When Ardina knocked her ball close, Liu conceded the match.
"I'm extremely disappointed," said Liu. "I played not so good. I made some stupid mistakes."
Someone asked Ardina what her goal was this week.
"To win," she said, "because it's my last year [in the Girls' Junior]."