U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship underway at SentryWorld
Portage County Gazette
By John Kemmeter
The 71st U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship teed off at SentryWorld Golf Course in Stevens Point this week, and is set to continue through Saturday, July 27.
After severe storms hit the area Friday and Saturday, July 19 and 20, a total of 156 golfers from around the world opened play Monday, July 22.
In the first round Monday, 18-year old Yuka Saso of the Philippines shot a 7-under par 65 on the opening day to lead 15-year old and Duke University commit Sophia Bae (68) of Norwood, N.J.; 17-year old Nicole Adam (68) of Pinehurst, N.C.; and 18-year old Stanford University commit Lei Ye (68) of the People’s Republic of China.
“If I wasn’t here (Saturday), I wouldn’t have believed there had been a storm,” said Ye after the opening day. “This course was such in pristine conditions. It’s amazing. We had a tornado watch sitting in the locker room. And today it was in such beautiful condition. They had it perfect for us.”
Ranked No. 24 in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking, Saso followed with a five-under 67 in the second round Tuesday, July 23, to earn medalist honors in stroke play over 17-year old Maddison Hinson-Tolchard (137) of Australia, Bae (139), YoonMin Han (141) of the Republic of Korea, and Jillian Bourdage (141) of Tarmac, Fla.
“With this golf course, with the wind, you can really make a bogey at any time,” said Saso, who was the only golfer to go bogey-free over the first two days. “And this setup is not easy, so I am a little surprised I’ve been able to go bogey-free.”
That also gave Saso the No. 1 seed for 18-hole match play that was set to begin with the Round of 64 Wednesday, July 24.
Among the others who also made the cut to match play were 18-year old Erica Shepherd (143) of Greenwood, Ind., who won the 2017 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship and is a Duke University commit, and 14-year Alexa Pano (148) of Fort Worth, Fla., who was the runner-up at the 2018 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship.
Jo Baranczyk of Green Bay, the only golfer from Wisconsin in the Junior Championship, missed the cut after she finished with a 174, while 2018 quarterfinalist and Mississippi State University commit Ashley Gilliam, 2017 semifinalist and Florida State University commit Taylor Roberts, and Duke University commit Megan Furtney also missed the cut.
Match play for the Round of 32 and Round of 16 is scheduled for Thursday, July 25, with the Quarterfinals and Semifinals set for Friday, July 26, as the Semifinals are set to be broadcast live on FS1 from 1 to 3 p.m.
The 36-hole Championship Match will be held Saturday, July 27, and broadcast on FS1 from 1 to 3 p.m.
Admission is free, as tickets are not required and spectators are encouraged to attend.