U.S. GIRLS' JUNIOR
What to Watch For July 14, 2016 | FAR HILLS, N.J.

Hailee Cooper will be looking to claim her second USGA championship title of 2016. (USGA/Darren Carroll)

Zoe Antoinette Campos, 13, of Valencia, Calif., is the championship’s youngest competitor. She is approximately two months younger than 13-year-old Kayla Sam, of Anaheim Hills, Calif. Last year’s youngest competitor, Lucy Li, 13, of Redwood City, Calif., has qualified for the championship again.

The championship’s oldest competitor is Riley Rennell, of Columbia, Tenn. She will turn 18 on July 27.

The average age of the Girls’ Junior competitors is 15.78 years old.

Field by age: age 13, three players ... age 14, 19 players ... age 15, 33 players ... age 16, 48 players ... age 17, 53 players

There are 12 countries represented in the championship: Australia; Canada; China; Chinese Taipei; Colombia; Ecuador; Hong Kong, China; Republic of Korea; Mexico; Philippines; Thailand and the United States of America.

There are 32 states represented in the championship: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Washington.

There are three New Jersey residents in the field: Ami Gianchandani, of Short Hills, Yoona Kim, of Oradell, and Kelly Sim, of Edgewater.

There are three USGA champions in the field:

  • Hailee Cooper, 16, of Montgomery, Texas (2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball with Kaitlyn Papp)
  • Mika Liu, 17, of Beverly Hills, Calif. (2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball with Rinko Mitsunaga)
  • Eun Jeong Seong, 16, of the Republic of Korea (2015 U.S. Girls’ Junior)

 

There are two USGA runners-up in the field:

  • Brianna Navarrosa, 14, of San Diego, Calif. (2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball with Angelina Kim)
  • Eun Jeong Seong, 16, of the Republic of Korea (2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links)


One of the five Girls’ Junior competitors who played in the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open at CordeValle made the cut, including the championship’s 16-year-old low amateur, Hye-Jin Choi. Choi, who finished tied for 38th, was grouped with eventual champion Brittany Lang in Round 3.

The competing players who also qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open are:

  • Hye-Jin Choi, 16
  • Yu Sang Hou, 16
  • Mika Liu, 17
  • Erica Shepherd, 15


Nineteen Girls’ Junior competitors played in the 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship this May at Streamsong (Fla.) Resort’s Blue Course. This number includes co-champion Hailee Cooper and co-runner-up Brianna Navarrosa, as well as the following:

  • Emma Bradley, 16, of Naples, Fla., with partner Morgan Baxendale (lost in round of 32)
  • Julia Dean, 17, of Brighton, Mich., with partner Megan Furtney (lost in round of 32)
  • Pauline Del Rosario, 17, of the Philippines, with partner Princess Mary Superal (lost in semifinals)
  • Isabella Fierro, 15, of Mexico, with partner Evelyn Arguelles (lost in round of 32)
  • Mikhaela Fortuna, 15, of the Philippines, with partner Sofia Chabon (lost in round of 16)
  • Megan Furtney, 15, of South Elgin, Ill., with partner Julia Dean (lost in round of 32)
  • Kendall Griffin, 17, of Sebring, Fla., with partner Athena Young (lost in round of 32)
  • Yu Chiang Hou, 15, of Taipei, with sister Yu Sang (lost in round of 16)
  • Yu Sang Hou, 17, of Taipei, with sister Yu Chiang (lost in round of 16)
  • Ashley Menne, 14, of Phoenix, Ariz., with partner Lauren Metcalf (missed cut)
  • Kaitlin Milligan, 17, of Norman, Okla., with partner Sydney Youngblood (lost in round of 32)
  • Yealimi Noh, 14, of Concord, Calif., with partner Yoonhee Kim (lost in round of 16)
  • Brooke Seay, 15, of Rancho Sante Fe, Calif., with partner Carolyn Zhao (lost in round of 16)
  • Aneka Seumanutafa, 15, of Frederick, Md., with partner Delaney Shah (missed cut)
  • Nicole Whiston, 16, of San Diego, Calif., with sister Waverly (lost in quarterfinals)
  • Waverly Whiston, 16, of San Diego, Calif., with sister Nicole (lost in quarterfinals)
  • Haeley Wotnosky, 16, of Wake Forest, N.C., with partner Courtney McKim (missed cut)

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There are two ­­sets of sisters in the field:

  • Yu Sang and Yu Chiang Hou, of Chinese Taipei, who reached the round of 16 of this year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball as a pairing.
  • Nicole and Waverly Whiston, of San Diego, Calif., who reached the quarterfinals of this year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball as a pairing.


Mika Liu, 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball co-champion from Brandenton, Fla., is playing in her sixth U.S. Girls’ Junior, the most of any competitor in this year’s championship. She earned an exemption from qualifying by reaching the quarterfinals of the 2015 U.S. Girls’ Junior. Liu won the 2014 Women’s Western Amateur and Southern Amateur championships. 

Liu received an exemption into the 2015 ANA Inspiration. The 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball co-champion represented the USA in the 2016 Curtis Cup. 

Mika Liu's 2016 has already included representing the USA in the Curtis Cup Match. (USGA/Steven Gibbons)

General Player Notes:

Alyaa Abdulghany, 17, of Newport Beach, Calif., was born in Malaysia and reached the semifinals of the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball with Ellen Takada.

Ty Akabane, 15, of Danville, Calif., qualified for the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship, the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur and the 2014 U.S. Girls’ Junior.

Adithi Anand, 14, of Richmond, Wash., is a junior coach with The First Tee of Seattle.

Ashley Au, 14, of Westerville, Ohio, won the Optimist Ohio District Championship four consecutive years from 2013 to 2016 and was the recipient of the Archie Griffin Sportsmanship Award in 2015. An accomplished singer, she traveled to the World Choir Games in 2012 and 2014 and to Carnegie Hall in 2015 with the Columbus International Children’s Choir.

Phoebe Beber-Frankel, 14, of Miami, Fla., won the Junior Honda Classic earlier this year. Her father, David Frankel, directed “Marley & Me” and “The Devil Wears Prada,” and her mother, Jennifer Beber, owns an ad agency in Miami. Beber-Frankel’s grandfather, Max Frankel, was the executive editor of the New York Times.

Taylor Black, 17, of Warrensburg, Mo., won the Pepsi Little People’s Championship in 2010 with her mother as the caddie. She also owns a business, Haute Bling Designs.

Emma Bradley, 16, of Naples, Fla., qualified for the 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball, reaching the round of 32 with Morgan Baxendale., She is the youngest winner of the FHSAA regional championship, winning at age 11. She was born prematurely at just 1 lb., 11 oz.

Claire Cameron, 17, of Martinsville, Ind., qualified for the 2013 and 2014 U.S. Girls’ Juniors. She won the Indiana Girls’ Junior State Championship at 14, the youngest champion.

Annika Cedo, 17, of the Philippines, earned an exemption from qualifying by reaching the quarterfinals of the 2015 U.S. Girls’ Junior.

Ya-Chun Chang, 15, of Taiwan, earned an exemption into the championship as part of the top 75 point leaders from the current Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking as of June 1. She won the 2015 Jack Nicklaus Junior Championship at Mission Hills Golf Club and the Amateur Division of the Yeander LPGA, a Taiwan LPGA championship.

Jayna Choi, 15, of Collierville, Tenn., earned an exemption after reaching the semifinals of the 2015 U.S. Girls’ Junior. She lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Eun Jeong Seong. She also competed in the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur.

Hailee Cooper, 16, of Montgomery, Texas. is making her third start in the U.S. Girls’ Junior. The 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball co-champion. reached the Round of 64 in 2015 and the Round of 32 in 2014. She also qualified for the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur, advancing to the Round of 32. Cooper is a five-time winner of AJGA events. She also competed in the Wyndham Cup and Jackie Burke Cup, and represented the U.S. in the 2015 Junior Solheim Cup.

Kyra Cox, 16, of South Salem, N.Y., played in the Drive, Chip & Putt National Championship at Augusta National and was the Metropolitan PGA Player of the Year three consecutive times from 2013 to 2015.

Julia Dean, 16, of Brighton, Mich., won the Michigan Junior Girls Match Play State Championship in 2013.

Ashni Dhruva, 17, of Katy, Texas, helped raise $8,000 to build a preschool in a village in Myanmarwhile volunteering for a local non-profit.

Payton Fehringer, 16, of American Falls, Idaho, missed the cut in the 2015 U.S. Girls’ Junior, and represented Idaho in the North Pacific Junior Ladies team matches and Girls’ Junior America’s Cup.

Mikhaela Denise Fortuna, 15, of the Philippines, won the 2014 U.S. Kids Teen World Championship at Pinehurst Resort and the Jack Nicklaus Junior Championship in China last year.

Megan Furtney, 15, of South Elgin, Ill., qualified for the 2014 and 2015 U.S. Girls’ Juniors and the 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball, where she reached the Round of 32 with Julia Parker Dean.

Jacquelyn Galloway, 16, of Rio Rancho, N.M., played in the 2014 U.S. Girls’ Junior, 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links and the 2015 USGA Women’s State Team Championship.

Muni He, 17, of Rancho Sante Fe, Calif., made the cut in the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open, reached the quarterfinals of the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball with Angel Yin, the Round of 32 in the 2015 U.S. Girls’ Junior, and the Round of 64 in the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur.

Anni Heck, 17, of Egan, Minn., won the Minnesota State High School Championship this year and was the 2015 Minnesota Junior PGA Player of the Year.

Yu Sang Hou, 16, of Chinese Taipei, competed in the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open, reached the Round of 32 in the 2015 U.S. Girls’ Junior and made the cut in the 2015 Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.

Gina Kim, 16, of Chapel Hill, N.C., played in the 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links and the 2014 U.S. Girls’ Junior. She was named all-state in North Carolina in 2012 and 2013 and was a 2014 AJGA Rolex honorable mention. She also represented the U.S. in the 2014 Evian Championship Juniors Cup.

Rachel Kuehn, 15, of Asheville, N.C., is the daughter of 1996 and 1998 USA Curtis Cup team member and 1995 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur runner-up Brenda Corrie-Kuehn. Brenda played in nine U.S. Women’s Opens and 13 U.S. Women’s Amateurs, including the 2001 Women’s Open, while she was eight months pregnant with Rachel.

Andrea Lee, 17, of Hermosa Beach, Calif., earned an exemption from qualifying by reaching the quarterfinals of the 2015 U.S. Girls’ Junior. Lee made the cut in the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open. She was a semifinalist in the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur, and reached the Round of 32 in the 2012 U.S. Women’s Amateur and the 2013 U.S. Girls’ Junior.

Tae Ji Lee, 16 of Howey-In-The-Hills, Fla. was born in the Republic of Korea before moving with her family to Malaysia at five months old. She spent 10 years there before moving to Chinese Taipei for five.  She is trilingual, speaking English, Chinese and Korean fluently.

Lucy Li, 13, of Redwood Shores, Calif., qualified for the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open, becoming the youngest qualifier in history at 11 years, 8 months and 19 days old. She became the youngest competitor in U.S. Women’s Amateur history in 2013 at 10, a month after she became the youngest competitor in history to advance to match play in a USGA championship, at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links. She competed in  U.S. Girls’ Junior for the first time in 2015.

Maria Fernanda Martinez Almeida, 14, of Mexico, missed the cut in the 2015 U.S. Girls’ Junior. She was the runner-up in the 2014 U.S. Kids Championship and won the 2016 MJGA National Championship.

Ramya Meenakshisundaram, 16, of Jacksonville, Fla., won the AJGA Gary Gilchrist Open in 2015, and also held a charity event for cancer treatment and research.

Ashley Menne, 14, of Phoenix, Ariz., was born in Singapore, as her father is a retired U.S. Coast Guard master petty chief officer. She speaks English and Mandarin, and played in the 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball with partner Lauren Metcalf.

Haley Moore, 17, of Escondido, Calif., advanced to the Round of 32 in the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur. Moore graduated high school a year early to attend the University of Arizona,  finishing tied for second individually in the 2016 NCAA Championship. She was the lone amateur to make the cut in the 2015 ANA Inspiration.

Katherine Muzi, 15, of Walnut, Calif., reached the round of 32 at the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball with Patricia Wong and the round of 64 at the 2015 U.S. Girls’ Junior.

Lucy Li, now 13, was the youngest person in history to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open when she played at Pinehurst in 2014. (USGA/Steven Gibbons)

Malia Nam, 16, of Kailua, Hawaii, advanced to the round of 32 at the 2015 U.S. Girls’ Junior.

Kenedee Peters, 16, of Ephrata, Wash., has competed in the last two U.S. Girls’ Juniors, the ANA Junior Inspiration, and was the 2015Washington State 2A champion.

Gabriela Ruffels, 16, of Australia, is a former Australian junior national Champion in tennis, and was ranked in the top three in the country. She is the younger sister of professional golfer Ryan Ruffels, 18.

Brooke Seay, 15, of Rancho Sante Fe, Calif., hit the ceremonial first tee shot at the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in 2013. Seay has played in five USGA championships;  this will be her third U.S. Girls’ Junior. She has competed in both U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Balls, reaching the Round of 16 in each of them with partner Carolyn Zhao. She also qualified for the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur.

Aneka Seumanutafa, 15, of Frederick, Md., will be playing in her fifth USGA championship and second U.S. Girls’ Junior. She won the 2015 Maryland State Girls Amateur by 17 strokes, capturing the 2015 Maryland Women’s Amateur in the same year.

Erica Shepherd, 15, of Greenwood, Ind., is playing in her second U.S. Girls’ Junior. She competed in the 2016 U.S. Women’s.

Ellie Slama, 17, of Salem, Ore., was winner of the Girls Division in the Oregon Junior Amateur 2010, 2013 and 2015. She competed in the Junior America’s Cup in 2015 and is making her second start in the U.S. Girls’ Junior.

Katherine Smith, 17, of Detroit Lakes, Minn., is the first five-time state champion in Minnesota. Her USGA championship experience includes the 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior and the 2015 USGA Women’s State Team.

Yujeong Son, 15, of Korea, reached the Round of 16 in the 2015 U.S. Girls’ Junior.

Grace St. Germain, 17, of Canada, was the Golf Canada Junior National Champion in 2014 and the CJGA Mizuno Junior National Champion in 2015.

Kelly Su, 16, of Scottsdale, Ariz., advanced to match play in both the U.S. Girls’ Junior and the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 2015.

Eun Jeong Seong, 16, of the Republic of Korea, won the 2015 U.S. Girls’ Junior. She was a quarterfinalist in the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur, and was the runner-up in the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links.

Christine Wang, 14, of Houston, Texas, was a runner-up in the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship in 2014 and 2015. 

Compiled by Pete Kowalski, USGA director of championship communications, and Cody Manmiller, USGA communications intern.

2016 U.S. Girls' Junior