Doris Chen of Bradenton, Fla., claimed the 2010 U.S. Girls’ Junior title last July by defeating Katelyn Dambaugh, 3 and 2, in the 36-hole final at The Country Club of North Carolina in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C. Freelance writer Evan Rothman chatted with Chen about what she learned from winning this prestigious championship.
Winning a USGA title means so much. I never thought I’d win this event. I’d never won a big event before, and I just made the cut for stroke play.
In the finals [against Katelyn Dambaugh], I changed my thinking after the first 18. I was really frustrated to be 1 down. I told myself, I don’t care if I win or lose. I’m going to be happy at the end of the day. I’m going to go home and take a break.
The second 18, well, I never thought I could play golf like that.
I never felt that relaxed in a tournament before. I’d always been very concentrated and business-like. During the final 18 holes, I wasn’t worried if I hit a bad shot. I wasn’t focused on winning the tournament. I was just focused on one shot at a time.
By the 14th [32nd] hole, I was exhausted. I wasn’t really even thinking. I just hit the ball and it stopped next to the flag. On the last hole, again I just putted it almost without thinking—and it went in.
It ended up being only a two-day break.
The trophy is in my school’s clubhouse [at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.] so everyone can see it. I don’t check it that often.
I don’t think players are more excited to play against me now. Or, if they are, I’m not paying attention to it. I’m not a showoff-type person. After I win, I just move on to the next day. But more people got to know me, which is nice.
Since the Girls’ Junior, I’ve always remembered that I play my best when I’m happy. In general, I’ve been doing okay since.
My best advice is, Enjoy the game and live in the now. That’s very important. If you don’t enjoy golf, it can be painful!