72nd U.S. Girls' Junior: Inside the Field July 7, 2021 | Chevy Chase, Md. By Julia Pine, USGA

U.S. Women's Amateur champ Rose Zhang (left) and 2018 Girls' Junior runner-up Alexa Pano are among the early favorites. (Steven Gibbons/USGA) 

72nd U.S. Girls' Junior Home

The average age of the 156 U.S. Girls’ Junior competitors is 16.4.

Anna Huang, at 12 years and 7 months, is the youngest player in the field.

The championship’s oldest competitor is Laney Frye, of Nicholasville, Ky., who will turn 19 on Aug. 14. There are 41 18-year-olds in the field.

Field breakdown by age:
12: 1 players
13: 3 players
14: 16 players
15: 15 players
16: 28 players
17: 51 players
18: 42 players

There are 13 countries represented in the championship: Australia (1), Barbados (1), Canada (9), Chile (1), Colombia (2), Hong Kong (1), Mexico (4), Paraguay (1), Peoples Republic of China (2), Philippines (1), Singapore (1), Thailand (1), United States (130).

There are 33 states represented in the championship: Alabama (1), Arizona (2), Arkansas (1), California (30), Colorado (1), Florida (10), Georgia (2), Hawaii (4), Illinois (3), Indiana (3), Kansas (2), Kentucky (1), Maryland (3), Massachusetts (2), Minnesota (2), Mississippi (1), Missouri (2), Nebraska (1), Nevada (3), New Jersey (4), New York (3), North Carolina (5), Ohio (3), Oklahoma (2), Oregon (2), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (9), Texas (15), Utah (1), Virginia (3), Washington (4) and Wyoming (1).

There are three USGA champions in the field: Savannah Barber, 17, of Fort Worth, Texas (2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball), Alexa Saldana, 17, of Mexico (2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball), and Rose Zhang, 18, of Irvine, Calif. (2020 U.S. Women’s Amateur).

There is one USGA runner-up in the field: Alexa Pano, 16, of West Palm Beach, Fla., finished runner-up in the 2018 U.S. Girls’ Junior.

Molly Smith, 16, and Morgan Smith, 17, of Westford, Mass., represent the lone pair of sisters in the field this year. They both advanced from the Hyde Park, Mass., qualifier on June 22.

Two players are in the top 100 of the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking® as of July 7:

No. 1 – Rose Zhang, 18, of Irvine, Calif.
No. 87 – Alexa Pano, 16, of Lake Worth, Fla.

Players in the field with the most U.S. Girls’ Junior appearances (includes 2021):

  • 4 – Zoe Antoinette Campos, 18, of Valencia, Calif.
  • 4 – Alexa Pano, 16, of Lake Worth, Fla.
  • 3 – Jennifer Cai, 18, of Irvine, Calif.
  • 3 – Caroline Canales, 18, of Calabasas, Calif.
  • 3 – Iris Cao, 17, of Duluth, Ga.
  • 3 – Faith Choi, 18, of Frederick, Md.
  • 3 – Bailey Davis, 18, of White Plains, Md.
  • 3 – Caroline Hwang, 18, of Orlando, Fla.
  • 3 – Caris Kim, 18, of Los Altos, Calif.
  • 3 – Alexsandra Lapple, 16, of Pinehurst, N.C.
  • 3 – Julia Misemar, 17, of Overland Park, Ky.
  • 3 – Lauryn Nguyen, 18, of Seattle, Wash.
  • 3 – Isabella Van der Biest, 18, of Kingsport, Tenn.

There are 10 current college players in the field:

  • Camille Boyd, 18, of Seattle, Wash. (Univ. of Washington)
  • Jennifer Cai, 18, of Irvine, Calif. (Northwestern)
  • Laney Frye, 18, of Lexington, Ky. (Kentucky)
  • Apelila Galeai, 18, of Orem, Utah (Brigham Young)
  • Lion Higo, 18, of Australia (Pepperdine)
  • Alice Hodge, 18, of Larchmont, N.Y. (Florida State)
  • Caroline Hwang, 18, of Orlando, Fla. (Pepperdine)
  • Caris Kim, 18, of Los Altos, Calif. (Princeton)
  • Camila Madariaga, 18, of Mexico (Lynn University)
  • Olivia Yun, 18, of Carlsbad, Calif. (Univ. of Southern California)

There are 23 players who have signed national letters of intent to play college golf in fall 2021:

  • Lana Calibuso-Kwee, of Wailuku, Hawaii (Texas A&M)
  • Zoe Antoinette Campos, of Valencia, Calif. (UCLA)
  • Caroline Canales, of Calabasas, Calif. (UCLA)
  • Kara Carter, of Kingsport, Tenn. (Xavier)
  • Reagan Cheney, of Ardmore, Okla. (Oklahoma City Univ.)
  • Faith Choi, of Frederick, Md. (Ohio State)
  • Bailey Davis, of White Plains, Md. (Tennessee)
  • Jacee Fields, of Fort Worth, Texas (Southern Miss)
  • Lexanne Halama, of Knoxville, Tenn. (Univ. of Illinois)
  • McKenzi Hall, of Las Vegas, Nev. (UNLV)
  • Rylie Heflin, of Kennett Square, Pa. (Duke)
  • Grace Holcomb, of Wilmington, N.C. (UNC-Greensboro)
  • Kendall Jackson, of Pearland, Texas (Howard University)
  • Kennedy Knox, of Seattle, Wash. (Univ. of Washington)
  • Antonia Matte, of Chile (Baylor)
  • Lauryn Nguyen, of Seattle, Wash. (Northwestern Univ.)
  • Drew Nienhaus, of St. Albans, Mo. (Penn State)
  • Lisa Marie Rudometkin, of Wesley Chapel, Fla. (Univ. of San Francisco)
  • Mayumi Umezu, of Waimea, Hawaii (Univ. of Hawaii)
  • Isabella Van der Biest, of Kingsport, Tenn. (Alabama)
  • Natalie Vo, of San Jose, Calif. (Univ. of Colorado)
  • Tatum Walsh, of Midlothian, Va. (James Madison)
  • Rose Zhang, of Irvine, Calif. (Stanford)

There are 12 players in the field who have competed in the Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals at Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club:

  • Kynadie Adams, 15, of Nashville, Tenn. (2015, 2016)
  • Kate Bennett, 15, of McKinney, Texas (2017)
  • Leigh Chien, 15, of Irvine, Calif. (2016)
  • Molly Hardwick, 17, of Nashville, Tenn. (2014)
  • Isabella McCauley, 17, of Inver Grove Heights, Minn. (2017, 2018)
  • Julia Misemer, 17, of Overland Park, Kan. (2015, 2019)
  • Ali Mulhall, 16, Green River, Wyo. (won 14-15 Division in 2021)
  • Alexa Pano, 16, of West Palm Beach, Fla. (2014, won 10-11 Division in 2016, won 12-13 Division in 2017)
  • Kennedy Swedick, 14, of Albany, N.Y. (2017)
  • Yana Wilson, 14, of Henderson, Nev. (won 12-13 Division in 2019, won 12-13 Division in 2021)
  • Kelly Xu, 17, of Claremont, Calif. (2014, 2015)
  • Avery Zweig, 14, of McKinney, Texas (2016, 2018, 2020)

Four players in the field competed in the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif.

  • Amari Avery – MC
  • Isabella McCauley – MC
  • Karoline Tuttle - MC
  • Rose Zhang – MC

Player Notes

Kynadie Adams, 17, of Gallatin, Tenn., will be playing in her second U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship. In 2019, she advanced to match play at SentryWorld in Stevens Point, Wis. Adams, a two-time Drive, Chip & Putt national finalist, also played in the 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur. Her father, Adrian, played college golf at Tennessee State University, where he was teammates with Sean Foley, Adams’ swing coach and the instructor for 2013 U.S. Open champion Justin Rose.

Raegan Capizzi, 15, of Scottsdale, Ariz., was born in Portsmouth, Va. While her father was stationed at the Pentagon while serving in the Navy, Raegan lived in Arlington, Va., where her love for golf was developed by visiting area golf courses and riding along while her father played. She began playing competitively in October 2017, when she met her coach, Rob Rashell. In four years, she has gone from shooting in the 100s to qualifying for the U.S. Girls’ Junior with a score of 68 in June.

Malia Cottriel, 14, of Costa Mesa, Calif., will be playing in her first USGA championship. Last summer, due to the impact of COVID-19, Malia drove with her father and sister around the country competing in golf tournaments. It was such an unbelievable experience that they decided to do it again this summer. The three family members left on June 15, and have competed in golf events in Michigan, Ohio, and North Carolina. Maryland and the U.S. Girls’ Junior will be the last leg of their month-long trip.

Mia Hammond, 13, of New Albany, Ohio, will be playing in her first USGA championship. In 2019, she underwent surgery on both of her knees, sidelining her from golf for 10 months. Mia is involved with the junior golf program at Zanesville Country Club, where Justin Thomas’ grandfather Paul was once the head professional. She loves animals and plays the piano.

Grace Holcomb, 18, of Wilmington, N.C., will attend UNC-Greensboro in the fall to study marketing and social media and play golf. She was one of five high school seniors to be awarded the LPGA Foundation's Marilynn Smith Scholarship. In 2019, she was chosen by The First Tee to represent her chapter in the Pure Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach. She was captain of the varsity golf team both her junior and senior years at Emsley A. Laney High School, the same high school Michael Jordan attended. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Grace started her own candle-making business, Baby J Candle Co., which raises money for a variety of charitable organizations. The company is named after the character Grace played on the hit show One Tree Hill when she was a baby. The show filmed all of its nine seasons in Wilmington.

Kendall Jackson, 18, of Houston, Texas, will be attending Howard University in the fall as part of the inaugural women’s golf team. NBA star Stephen Curry supported the establishment of the Washington, D.C., university’s first NCAA Division 1 golf program for the next six years. Kendall is passionate about inspiring more African American females to play golf. She likes reading, playing the piano, creative writing, and teaching and mentoring kids in golf.

Caris Kim, 18, of Los Altos, Calif., is the younger sister of LPGA Tour player Lauren Kim. Lauren was a standout at Stanford University who helped the Cardinal to its first national championship in 2015 and reached the Round of 16 in the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur. Caris is playing in her third straight U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship. She recently finished her freshman season at Princeton.

Isabella McCauley, 17, of Inver Grove Heights, Minn., is a two-time Drive, Chip & Putt national finalist. She recently competed in her first U.S. Women’s Open.  Last summer, McCauley outdueled her younger sister, Reese, to win the Minnesota State Girls’ Junior Championship. She advanced to match play in the 2019 U.S. Girls’ Junior at SentryWorld.

Alexa Pano, 16, of West Palm Beach, Fla., is competing in her 12th USGA championship. Four years ago, she became the youngest competitor to play in an LPGA of Japan Tour event – the 2016 Yonex Ladies Golf Tournament. An eight-time winner of the IMG Junior World Championship and two-time National Drive, Chip & Putt champion (2016 and 2017), she has already played in three U.S. Women’s Amateurs. She was featured in the 2013 documentary “The Short Game” on Netflix. She was runner-up in the 2018 U.S. Girls’ Junior, losing 4 and 3 to Yealimi Noh. She won the 2019 Rolex Girls Junior Championship, one of the prominent invitationals on the American Junior Golf Association circuit.

Taylor Riley, 16, of San Diego, Calif., is the daughter of PGA Tour winner/U.S. Ryder Cupper Chris Riley, who is the current men's golf coach at the University of San Diego, and former LPGA Tour player/standout collegian Michelle Louviere (LSU). Chris Riley, a member of the 1995 USA Walker Cup Team that also featured Tiger Woods, qualified for a U.S. Junior Amateur, U.S. Amateur and played in three U.S. Opens. The 2004 Ryder Cupper also finished third in the 2002 PGA Championship. Michelle qualified for a U.S. Girls' Junior and U.S. Women's Amateur. Taylor primarily played soccer and softball as a youth before turning to golf.

Yana Wilson, 14, of Henderson, Nev., won her second straight Drive, Chip and Putt national title earlier this year at Augusta National in the Girls 12-13 Division. Wilson, a freshman at Coronado High School in Henderson, is competing in her second USGA championship, having competed in the 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball. Last December, she won the Arizona Silver Belle Championship, becoming the youngest champion in the event’s 50-year history.

Kelly Xu, 17, of Claremont, Calif., was the first female champion at Augusta National Golf Club when she won the Girls 7-9 Division in the inaugural Drive, Chip & Putt Championship in 2014, and returned as a finalist in 2015. Xu is competing in her third USGA championship. In June, she won the 2021 Southern California Women’s Amateur by 5 strokes.

Rose Zhang, 18, of Irvine, Calif., is the reigning U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, having defeated Gabriela Ruffels in a 38-hole final match last August in Maryland. She is currently the No. 1 golfer in the Women’s WAGR and won the 2020 McCormack Medal as the world’s leading amateur last September. Zhang earned a T11 finish in the 2020 ANA Inspiration, and has competed in three LPGA major championships, making the cut in two. She has represented the United States on both the Junior Solheim Cup and Junior Ryder Cup teams. In 2020, she won the Rolex Girls Junior Championship, the Ping Invitational and the Rolex Tournament of Champions. Zhang finished T3 at this year’s Augusta National Women’s Amateur.

Avery Zweig, 14, of McKinney, Texas, is competing in her sixth USGA championship. She is a three-time Drive, Chip and Putt national finalist. In January, Zweig won the Annika Invitational for her first AJGA tournament title, and last week, she made her LPGA Tour debut at the Volunteers of America Classic in Dallas, Texas, where she missed the cut by two strokes. 

More From the 72nd U.S. Girls' Junior