Going into the 2009 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, 17-year-old Amy Anderson was a relative unknown outside of her native Oxbow, N.D. Her national playing schedule consisted only of the Junior PGA Championship and one previous appearance in the Girls’ Junior. Her yearly practice was severely limited by the harsh North Dakota winters. Nevertheless, Anderson took the Old and New Courses of Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., by storm and defeated 2006 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Kimberly Kim, 17, of Hilo, Hawaii, by a 6-and-5 margin in the scheduled 36-hole championship final.
In defeating Kim, Anderson became the 15th stroke-play medalist in the championship’s 61-year history to take home the Glenna Collett Vare Trophy.
I just came in here hoping to make the cut, Anderson said, That was my goal. And I was a medalist, and now I won. I don’t even know what to feel like right now.
Anderson and Kim started out the final on even terms, playing the first six holes all-square. Kim was the first to falter, making a bogey on the seventh hole to Anderson’s par. Anderson never looked back, taking a 2-up lead into the lunch break and quickly tacking on three more holes for a commanding 5-up lead at the 22nd hole. Her 6-and-5 victory tied for the third-largest winning margin in championship-final history.
Kim , who had lost in the final of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship a month earlier, became the second player in USGA history to lose two finals in the same year. Her putting, which had played a key role in her 5-and-4 semifinal victory over Doris Chen of Bradenton, Fla., was her downfall.
A 1-year-old could have putted better, Kim said. It doesn’t matter because if your putting is bad, everything is bad. She played good. I just played horrible.
Anderson ’s road to victory came with relative ease. With the exception of a 19-hole semifinal scare from Colombia’s Luz Alejandra Cangrejo, Anderson fairly cruised through match play, never playing the full 18 holes until the semifinals. Not even Victoria Tanco, a young Argentine who was the 2008 American Junior Golf Association Rolex Junior Player of the Year, could challenge the incoming freshman at North Dakota State, as Anderson defeated her in the quarterfinals, 2 and 1.
I know I don’t get to spend the same amount of time as the other girls, Anderson said. [But] I work hard at it in the summer. It’s my full-time job in the summer.
Defending champion Alexis Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla., advanced to the third round of match play, where she was upset by 13-year-old Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand. Jessica Korda of Bradenton, Fla., who electrified the crowds at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open at Saucon Valley Country Club with her final-round 69, was upended by Kim in a come-from-behind, 19-hole victory in their fight for a berth in the quarterfinals.