Chen gets her revenge in WAPL victory over Diaz-Yi

Doris Chen claimed a 6-and-4 match-play victory over Lauren Diaz-Yi on Thursday at the Women's Amateur Public Links.

DUPONT, Wash. – There were so many reasons for Doris Chen to rejoice Thursday after her 6-and-4 match play victory over Lauren Diaz-Yi in the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship.

After all, Chen's triumph in the round of 16 was sweet revenge. In the 36-hole final of the 2013 WAPL, Chen lost to Diaz-Yi by a whopping 10-and-9 margin.

This time it was different. Very different.

At The Home Course, site of the Pacific Northwest Golf Association headquarters, Chen made five birdies in 14 holes and was 4 under as she overwhelmed Diaz-Yi.

Although Chen has never used her mother's illness as an excuse for her WAPL defeat last year, the 2013 event was an emotional rollercoaster. Yuh-Guey Lin, Chen's mother, had been diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. She had never smoked, yet was facing surgery and aggressive treatment for the disease.

Good news: Yuh-Guey Lin was here to celebrate her daughter's victory over Diaz-Yi, another reason to rejoice.

As if Chen needed yet another reason for motivation, her pursuit of a second national championship in 2014 is still going strong. A member of the University of Southern California women's golf team, Chen won the national collegiate individual title just seven weeks ago.

"I am trying to stay calm and concentrate on my game," explained Chen, a graduate of the David Leadbetter junior program in Bradenton, Fla.

There were no fist pumps or displays of joy as Chen dismantled Diaz-Yi, a member of the University of Virginia women's golf team. Chen wore a constant look of determination.

Keep in mind that she had plenty of reason to hoop and holler. She saved par with an 8-foot putt on the 1st hole, then proceeded to make birdie putts of 5, 19, 12, 10 and 13 feet.

"It was too much for me," said Diaz-Yi, who was extremely polite and introspective after the match. "I didn't putt well, and I needed to make putts to keep up with her."

Chen was almost apologetic. "I have worked so long on my putting," she said. "It feels good to see so many putts go in."

Conversely, the only birdie by Diaz-Yi came with a 19-foot putt on the 12th green. However, she already was 6 down heading into the 12th hole.

Looking ahead to Friday morning's match in the round of eight, Chen will go against 14-year-old WAPL medalist (10-under-par 134 for 36 holes) Eun Jeong Seong of South Korea.

The other three matches in the round of 8:

• Alana Uriell of Carlsbad, Calif., against Gabriella Then of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.;

• Sirene Blair of South Jordan, Utah, against Cindy Ha of Denarest, N.J.;

• Dominique Galloway of Rio Rancho, N.M., against Fumie Jo of China.

Golf fans who haven't attended a U.S. Golf Association national championship – other than the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open or U.S. Senior Open – might not realize how thrilling the experience can be.

It also can be very instructive. Spectators can walk along with the players, and it is possible to view the shots from a close-up perspective. In many cases, it is possible to hear a player and caddie discuss an upcoming shot.

Thus it is possible to say with certainty that 11-year-old Lucy Li, who lost here in the first round of match play, stages one of the best shows in amateur golf. She is fast and decisive, and she can be heard talking about her targets – one side of the fairway or the other, a particular spot on the green.

Li is precise, and she may grow up to be just like – you guessed it – Chen.

"I work very hard on my routine," Chen said. "I believe in discipline."

This discipline paid off Thursday afternoon on the large and tricky greens at The Home Course, where she registered seven one-putt greens and seven two-putt greens in 14 holes.

• • •

Thursday's results

  • Eun Jeong Seong (Republic of Korea) def. Eimi Koga (Honolulu, Hawaii), 3 and 1
  • Doris Chen (Bradenton, Fla.) def. Lauren Diaz-Yi (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), 6 and 4
  • Gabriella Then (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) def. Stani Schiavone (Bangor, Pa.), 2 and 1
  • Alana Uriell (Carlsbad, Calif.) def. Robynn Ree (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 1 up
  • Sirene Blair (South Jordan, Utah) def. Soobin Kim (Republic of Korea), 3 and 1
  • Cindy Ha (Demarest, N.J.) def. Jennifer Yang (Republic of Korea), 6 and 5
  • Dominique Galloway (Rio Rancho, N.M.) def. Ji Eun Baik (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.), 2 and 1
  • Fumie (Alice) Jo (People's Republic of China) def. Cassy Isagawa (Wailuku, Hawaii), 4 and 2
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