Megan Khang, who is competing in her record-tying seventh U.S. Girls’ Junior, added her name to the USGA record books again, carding a two-day, 8-under 132 in stroke-play qualifying to earn medalist honors at the 2015 championship at Tulsa Country Club.
Khang’s 132 ties for the third-lowest 36-hole score in U.S. Girls’ Junior history. Taylore Karle shot a 130 in 2005 at BanBury Golf Club in Eagle, Idaho, and Khang’s fellow 2015 Girls’ Junior competitor Angel Yin carded a 131 at the 2014 championship at Forest Highlands Golf Club in Flagstaff, Ariz.
Khang, 17, of Rockland, Mass., who also earned low-amateur honors at the U.S. Women’s Open earlier this month, followed Monday’s 67 with a bogey-free, 5-under 65 on Tuesday, her personal-best 18-hole score.
“It was definitely a great feeling because [my mom] is always bugging me about having a bogey-free round, and I’ve done it in practice, but never in a championship,” said a smiling Khang after carding three consecutive birdies on holes 15 through 17. “I wanted one more birdie on 18, but I was happy to take par and walk away because I knew that would be a bogey-free round.”
Three 16-year-olds finished at 4-under 136: first-round leader Sophie Liu, of Canada; Jaravee Boonchant, of Thailand; and Muni He, of the People’s Republic of China.
“I was glad I kept it where I needed it to be, and I didn’t bring my score up,” said Liu, who resides in Melbourne, Fla., and is playing in her first USGA championship. “I thought I could have played better, but you always think you can play better.”
He, who also made the cut in the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open, is looking forward to the match-play portion of the championship.
“I love match play – it’s really exciting, and requires more aggressive plays in going for the pins and trying to make a lot more putts and birdies,” said He, who carded her lone bogey on hole 18 for a 1-under 69. The Southern California resident continued, “It really comes down to putting tomorrow, and it’s good to be consistent, but I’d like to see a few more birdies tomorrow.”
Fassi, of Mexico, returned the second-lowest round of the day with a 4-under 66, what she called her first bogey-free round in competition. The 17-year-old, who finished stroke-play qualifying tied for 10th with a 1-under 139, won the Mexican Women’s Amateur in January and also played in the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open.
“It’s hard for me not to make bogeys because most of the time I get in lots of trouble, so doing it here means a lot for me, and since this is my last Girls’ Junior, it’s even better,” said Fassi, who has verbally committed to attend the University of Arkansas in the fall of 2016.
The match-play cut came at 7-over 147, forcing a 10-for-7 playoff which lasted two holes. Brooke Seay, Haylin Harris, Simar Singh, Beth Lillie, Kathleen Scavo, Mimi Chen and Shannon Brooks advanced to match play, while Katherine Zhu, Binny Lee and Camille Enright were eliminated.
All eight Girls’ Junior players who played in the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open advanced to match play. Khang, He and Fassi lead the group, which also includes Mariel Galdiano (139); 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball runner-up Hannah O’Sullivan (141); Lilia Khatu Vu (145); 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Kristen Gillman (146); and Lillie.
Two of the three USGA champions in the field made the cut. In addition to Gillman, 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball champion Mika Liu tied for seventh at 2-under 138. Fumie (Alice) Jo, the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links champion, finished two strokes over the cutline at 9-over 149.
Other notable players to make the cut include 2015 Pan American Games individual silver medalist Andrea Lee (137); sisters Yu Sang Hou (137) and Yu Chiang Hou (142); the championship’s youngest player, 12-year-old Lucy Li (139); 2015 Women’s Amateur Four-Ball medalist and quarterfinalist Kendall Griffin (141); and Oklahoma residents Kaitlin Milligan and Yujeong Son (both 144).
Notables to miss the cut include Griffin’s Women’s Amateur Four-Ball partner Athena Yang (148) and Women’s Amateur Four-Ball semifinalist Madelein Herr (150).