SERVING THE GAME
Brooks Powers USA-Mexico Junior Team to Trans-Pacific Victory September 2, 2015 | Far Hills, N.J. By David Shefter, USGA

The Trans-Pacific Junior Golf Match featured two teams of 16 players, one from the USA and Mexico, the other from China and Chinese Taipei. (USGA/Patrick Lim)

Sierra Brooks, the runner-up in last month’s U.S. Women’s Amateur, produced a 5-0-0 record in leading a 16-person junior team from the United States of America and Mexico to a 34.5-13.5 victory over a team from the People’s Republic of China and Chinese Taipei in the inaugural Trans-Pacific Junior Golf Match Aug. 26-28 at Topwin Golf and Country Club in Beijing.

The competition was created due to the success of the USA-China Youth Match, which began in 2012. Three competitions were contested – two in China and one in California – and featured only teams from those two countries. This year, the event was expanded to include teams from Mexico and Chinese Taipei.

Eight golfers – four boys and four girls – were selected to compete for each country, with the first two days featuring foursomes (alternate shot) and four-ball (best ball) matches, and the final day consisting of 16 singles matches.

“Without a doubt, I could say this has been one of the best experiences I've had,” said Brooks. “I'm so thankful for all the memories I've been able to share with my teammates, coaches and competitors this week.”

USA-Mexico got off to a 6.5-1.5 lead in four-ball and never looked back. After the afternoon mixed foursomes session, the side led 12.5-3.5. On Day 2, USA-Mexico posted a 10-6 advantage and led 23-9 entering the final day of singles.

Photos: Trans-Pacific Junior Golf Match

Brooks, 17, of Sorrento, Fla., sealed the win with a dominating performance, defeating Wendy Hsaio, of Chinese Taipei, 9 and 7. Brooks teamed with Hannah O’Sullivan, 17, of Chandler, Ariz., for a 1-up four-ball victory to open play on Day 1. O’Sullivan defeated Brooks in the 36-hole final match of last month’s U.S. Women’s Amateur at Portland (Ore.) Golf Club, 3 and 2.

“The last week in China has been an overall incredible experience as I bonded with my teammates and fellow competitors as we made lasting memories,” said O’Sullivan. “I am always so honored and humbled to represent our country, and it is the opportunities to represent the United States that I cherish the most. I really enjoyed meeting and playing with my teammates and all of the players from China and Chinese Taipei.”

Later on Day 1, Brooks and Kyosuke Hara, 16, of Honolulu, Hawaii, produced a 5-and-4 mixed foursomes win. On the second day of competition, Brooks and Kyle Suppa, 17, of Honolulu, Hawaii, won, 7 and 5, in mixed four-ball and later that day she partnered with Mika Liu, 16, of Bradenton, Fla., for a 4-and-3 foursomes win. In May, Liu won the inaugural U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Bandon Dunes with partner Rinko Mitsunaga.

O’Sullivan and Suppa each earned four points for USA-Mexico, with the latter going 4-0-1. Suppa halved a Day 2 foursomes match with partner Doc Redman, 17, of Raleigh, N.C. Both golfers won their singles matches with O’Sullivan defeating Chen Hsuan, of Chinese Taipei, 2 and 1, and Suppa edging Hsu Hung-Hsuan, of Chinese Taipei, 2 and 1.

“When we got to the golf course and we met our caddies, it was so hard because we could not speak Mandarin and they could not speak English, so it was like playing charades,” said Hara. “Although at the end of the week I found out that my caddie could say quite a few English words, which made my life easier.”

Angel Yin, 16, of Arcadia, Calif., the runner-up in the 2015 U.S. Girls’ Junior, and Liu each went 3-2. Yin defeated Man Jin, of the People’s Republic of China, 2 up, in the final singles match of the competition, while Liu cruised over Qi Tian, of the People’s Republic of China, 6 and 4.

On Day 1, Yin and Liu produced a 4-and-3 four-ball win.

Spencer Soosman, 17, of Westlake Village, Calif., and Redman posted 2-3 and 2-2-1 records, respectively. Soosman dropped a 1-up decision to Guan Tianlang, of China, who made the cut in the 2013 Masters at the age of 14 after earning his invitation by winning the 2012 Asia-Pacific Amateur. Soosman teamed with Redman on Day 1 for a 5-and-4 four-ball win, and with Hara on Day 2 for a 2-up foursomes win.

All four female players from Mexico competed in USGA championships in 2015, including U.S. Girls’ Junior semifinalist Evelyn Arguelles and 2015 U.S. Women’s Open qualifier Maria Fassi.

Cheng Jin, of China, who advanced to the Round of 64 in last month’s U.S. Junior Amateur and competed in the U.S. Amateur, earned a 3-and-2 singles win over Jorge Villar, of Mexico.

Besides the golf, the team got a chance to visit the Great Wall of China, which dates to 220 B.C. and was constructed by Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China.

“The most interesting story from my trip was hiking up the Great Wall of China,” said Suppa. “They were probably the steepest steps that I have ever climbed in my life and they extended out for a very long time.”