skip to main content

U.S. GIRLS' JUNIOR
Zaretsky's 68 Leads After Round 1 in Kentucky July 18, 2022 | Bowling Green, Ky. By David Shefter, USGA

An eagle and two late birdies propelled Canadian Lauren Zaretsky to a 5-under-par 68 on Monday at The Club at Olde Stone. (USGA/Kathryn Riley)

73rd U.S. Girls' Junior Home

What Happened

On an ideal day for scoring, Lauren Zaretsky, 18, of Canada, posted a 5-under-par 68 on Monday for a one-stroke lead after the first round of stroke play in the 73rd U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship being contested at The Club at Olde Stone.

Yana Wilson, 15, of Henderson, Nev., a two-time Drive, Chip & Putt age-group champion who reached the quarterfinals last year, Hsin Tai Lin, 16, of Chinese Taipei, Justice Bosio, 18, of Australia and Farah O’Keefe, 17, of Austin, Texas, were in the group at 4-under 69 on the 6,484-yard, par-73 Arthur Hills design that opened in 2006.

Overnight storms that continued into early Monday dropped nearly an inch of rain that slightly softened the conditions, especially on the greens, and the winds were calm.

Zaretsky, an incoming freshman at Texas Tech University who won the 2021 Canadian Women’s Amateur to become fully exempt for this championship, was buoyed by an eagle-3 on the par-5 11th and consecutive birdies on 17 and 18 to close out the round. The powerfully built Thornhill, Ontario, resident laced a 5-iron from 206 yards to 8 feet on the 505-yard 11th. Despite a three-putt bogey on 14 and another bogey on 16, she rebounded nicely with a 10-foot birdie on 17 and a 2-footer on the par-5 18th.

“I know I can shoot low,” said Zaretsky. “My biggest advantage is my driver. I’m pretty confident with it. The longer-hitter part of me has an advantage on this course, especially if you put it in play and your putting gets going, it’s possible to go low.”

Wilson, who earlier this year edged Anna Davis by holing out a 75-yard wedge shot on the first playoff hole to win the Annika Invitational in Orlando, Fla., missed an 8-footer for birdie on the par-5 18th that would have put her in a tie with Zaretsky. That came after she converted birdie attempts from 30 and 40 feet, respectively, on Nos. 15 and 17.

“I was just trying to stay as consistent as possible,” said Wilson, who was ousted by eventual champion and world No. 1 Rose Zhang in the quarterfinals last year. “That was my main focus today.”

O’Keefe, competing in her first USGA championship and second major competition outside of her native Texas, got off to an inauspicious start with consecutive bogeys on Nos. 1 and 2 before settling down to play 6-under-par golf over the final 16 holes, including a 45-foot birdie on the par-3 16th.

She credited caddie Jeff Young, an Olde Stone member, for calming her down.

“Both of those bogeys shouldn’t have been on the card,” said O’Keefe, a rising high school senior who plans to sign with the University of Texas in November. “They were just nervous holes. I worked my way into the tournament already, so just go out with the same energy [for Round 2] tomorrow.”

Bosio, fresh off of a quarterfinal showing in last week’s North & South Women’s Amateur at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in North Carolina, was the last player to register on Sunday and only got in one practice round. It didn’t seem to matter as she posted six birdies against two bogeys.

Bosio is looking to become the second Australian to win this championship after Minjee Lee in 2012. Lee also captured the U.S. Women’s Open last month at Pine Needles.

Lin had the only bogey-free round on Monday with birdies on 7, 10, 16 and 18.

Six players are two strokes back after carding 70s: Saki Baba, 17, of Japan, 2021 U.S. Junior Amateur quarterfinalist Karen Tsuru, 17, of Carlsbad, Calif., Trinity Beth, 15, of Calvert City, Ky., Anna Song, 15, of Los Angeles, Calif., Claire Henson, 17, of Jackson, Tenn., and Korean-born Ashley Kim, 17, of La Mirada, Calif. Baba tied for 49th in last month’s U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles and Beth, a two-time Miss Kentucky for golf, is one of three players representing the Commonwealth. 

Nevada native Yana Wilson, a quarterfinalist in 2021, carded a 4-under 69 in Monday's first round. (USGA/Kathryn Riley)

What’s Next

The second and final round of stroke play will be contested on Tuesday after which the field will be cut to the low 64 scorers for match play, which begins on Wednesday. Should a playoff be necessary to fill the final spots in the draw, it will take place on Wednesday at 7 a.m. CDT, starting on hole 10 and then continuing, if necessary, to Nos. 13, 14 and 18. Admission is free, and spectators are encouraged to attend.

Notable

  • Megha Ganne, at No. 16 in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking®, the second-highest-ranked player in the U.S. Girls’ Junior field, was disqualified when she signed for an incorrect score. “The player unknowingly signed her scorecard for a lower score, and under Rule 3.3b (3) was disqualified,” the USGA said in a statement. “She came to us shortly after realizing her mistake." The New Jersey native arrived in Kentucky fresh off helping the USA retain the Curtis Cup at Merion Golf Club. The incoming Stanford freshman also was the low amateur in the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open. This was her fourth and final U.S. Girls’ Junior. She will compete in the U.S. Women’s Amateur next month at Chambers Bay.

  • Reigning U.S. Junior Amateur champion Nick Dunlap is not the only USGA champion serving as a caddie this week (Kynadie Adams). Meredith Duncan, who won the 2001 U.S. Women’s Amateur, is on the bag for fellow Shreveport, La., native Sydney Moss (3-over 76). Duncan’s 37-hole win over 2001 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Nicole Perrot, of Chile, was arguably one of the best finals in championship history with the two players combining for 20 birdies.

  • More than 80 women’s college coaches and assistants are on property this week looking to discover the next great talent. Among that group are several past USA Curtis Cup players Tiffany Joh (USC assistant), Bethany Wu (Florida assistant), Emily Glaser (Florida head coach), Annie Young (Tulsa head coach), Jo Jo Robertson (Texas Tech head coach) and Monica Vaughn (Oregon assistant). Joh (2006 and 2008) and Robertson (1995 and 1997) are two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links champions, while Young won that title in 2002.

  • Therese Hession, who spent 30 years at The Ohio State University as the head women’s golf coach and director of golf for both the men’s and women’s teams before retiring in January, is caddieing for incoming Ohio State freshman Kary Hollenbaugh. Hession led the Buckeyes to 11 Big 10 women’s titles and 17 NCAA appearances.

  • Georgia teens Thienna Huynh and Sara Im, who won the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball in April, carded 75 and 73, respectively. They are the only USGA champions in the field. The runners-up from that championship, Bailey Shoemaker and Kaitlyn Schroeder, carded rounds of 74 and 72, respectively. Shoemaker tied for 49th in last month’s U.S. Women’s Open.

Quotable

“Same goal as today. Just par golf. It’s a difficult course. It’s a lot of strategy. Just be confident over the ball and slow down a little bit. I’m kind of a faster-pace player. Just slow down and commit to every shot and do what I did today.” – Lauren Zaretsky on her mindset for Tuesday’s final round of stroke play

“Today, I feel like I just played some chill golf, just really relaxed. I did that really well today and I feel like I can do that [on Tuesday] as well.” – Yana Wilson

“The rough was pretty bad. I didn’t do a good job of [hitting fairways] on the front nine. But I finally figured it out.” – Farah O’Keefe

“That’s pretty special. It’s not something many people get to do, especially in this big of an event. I was glad to hit the fairway and get off to a good start.” – Kynadie Adams (1-over 74), a member of The Club at Olde Stone who had the honor of hitting the opening tee shot of the championship

David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at dshefter@usga.org.

The Social Scene




More From the 73rd U.S. Girls' Junior