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McCloskey clocks Girls’ Junior with 63

• GolfweekTV: Round 2 recap; McCloskey medals
• Complete U.S. Juniors coverage • Blog Jr.

By RAY McCARTHY
Assistant Editor

One question echoed silently across the U.S. Girls’ Junior Tuesday: Is there really such a thing as the USGA medalist jinx?

Lisa McCloskey hopes not.

McCloskey shot an 8-under 63 Tuesday to medal in the stroke-play qualifying portion of the U.S. Girls’ Junior, one shot shy of the U.S. Girls’ stroke-play record of 62 set by Christina Kim in 2001 and matched by Kimberly Kim in 2007.

“Even if I go out, I have (medalist honors) to show for it,” McCloskey said, downplaying the notion of a jinx. “It feels good, especially at the U.S. Girls’ Junior. I’d rather shoot it here than anywhere else.”

McCloskey strung together four consecutive birdies on her back nine and rode a wave of momentum that she said began with her first shot of the day.

“From the opening tee shot, I was playing pretty good,” said McCloskey, who went as low as she did despite three-putting two holes, including one from five feet.

McCloskey will be joined in match play by some of the strongest names in junior golf.

Seven of the top 10 girls in the Golfweek/Titleist Junior Rankings qualified for match play, including top-ranked Kimberly Kim, No. 2 Tiffany Lua and third-ranked Alexis Thompson.

“I come to these and I’m still nervous,” said Thompson, who at 13 has already played in the Women’s Open twice. “I actually like stroke play better… but match play I’ll be more aggressive because you can only lose one (at a time).”

Defending champion Kristen Park and 2006 champ Jenny Shin both qualified. Park will try to become the first girl to successfully defend since Hollis Stacy won three consecutive titles from 1969-71. Shin is looking for redemption after failing to qualify for match play last year.

“It feels really nice to have my game back and being able to think that I’m able to get into match play and compete with the other girls,” said Shin.

Shin missed the cut at the Women’s Open by one agonizing shot, but her mind has repressed the pain.

“I don’t really remember much because I was so excited, playing with Lorena (Ochoa) and Annika (Sorenstam),” she said. “It was a really great experience.”

Perhaps the biggest name missing from match play is Jane Rah, whose 11-over 153 was two shots shy of the cut. Rah, ranked 6th in the Golfweek/Titleist Junior Rankings, had knee surgery in May.

Joining Rah on the road will be Michelle Shin, who was a semifinalist last year before losing to Ayaka Kaneko. Shin matched Rah round-by-round with a 77-76-153 total.

The story of the day, however, was McCloskey. Her 10-birdie effort was a women’s course record and personal best. McCloskey, who will turn 17 in August, took an accelerated program of classes to graduate high school in April because her parents are moving to Abu Dhabi. She will attend Pepperdine in the fall.

“It was a lot of work,” she said. “I was taking 11 classes at one time.”

McCloskey is coming off a win at the AJGA’s Valero Texas Open Junior Shootout two weeks ago. She began the final day with a five-shot lead but shot 78 and had to outlast two others in a three-way playoff to win. Trouble closing tournaments has been a recurring problem for McCloskey.

Earlier this month, McCloskey was leading when she made the turn in the final round of the Rolex Tournament of Champions. But a back-nine 39 resulted in a fifth-place finish, four shots shy of eventual winner Jennifer Johnson.

“I don’t know what was going on that day,” she said. “I don’t know if the pressure got to me. I just couldn’t get anything going.”

Despite her late-round problems, McCloskey birdied five of her last six holes Tuesday to medal at the U.S. Junior.

So what has she learned?

“It’s not as easy as Tiger Woods makes it look.”

• • •

Ray McCarthy is a Golfweek assistant editor. To reach him e-mail [email protected]

Scores with relation to par from the second round of stroke -playqualifying at the U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur, played July 22 at thepar-71 Hartford GC in West Hartford, Conn.:

1. Lisa Mccloskey 71-63–134

-8 2. Stephanie Kim 68-70–138

-4 3. Madison Pressel 69-71–140

-2 4. Jennifer Kirby 68-73–141

-1 4. Ani Gulugian 71-70–141

-1 4. Jenny Shin 72-69–141

-1 7. Kristina Wong 72-70–142

E 7. Daniela Lendl 73-69–142

E 7. Emma Talley 70-72–142

E 7. Alexis Thompson 71-71–142

E 11. Sarah Brown 72-71–143
+ 1 11. Courtney Gunter 74-69–143
+ 1 11. Pearl Jin 72-71–143
+ 1 11. Lindy Duncan 71-72–143
+ 1 15. Kimberly Kim 72-72–144
+ 2 15. Marina Alex 73-71–144
+ 2 15. Austin Ernst 75-69–144
+ 2 15. Sue Kim 70-74–144
+ 2 15. Stacey Kim 74-70–144
+ 2 15. Kristen Park 73-71–144
+ 2 21. Samantha Swinehart 68-77–145
+ 3 21. Rachel Rohanna 72-73–145
+ 3 23. Victoria Tanco 73-73–146
+ 4 23. Mary Michael Maggio 73-73–146
+ 4 23. Kyle Roig 67-79–146
+ 4 23. Caroline Powers 73-73–146
+ 4 23. Tiffany Lua 74-72–146
+ 4 28. Mariah Stackhouse 74-73–147
+ 5 28. Karen Chung 71-76–147
+ 5 28. Sarah Beth Davis 73-74–147
+ 5 28. Casey Grice 73-74–147
+ 5 28. Dorothy Schwartz 74-73–147
+ 5 33. Nicole Agnello 76-72–148
+ 6 33. Katia Joo 75-73–148
+ 6 33. Ginger Howard 73-75–148
+ 6 33. Alison Lee 75-73–148
+ 6 33. Cyna Marie Rodriguez 74-74–148
+ 6 33. Erica Popson 77-71–148
+ 6 39. Jessica Wallace 74-75–149
+ 7 39. Marisa Kamelgarn 76-73–149
+ 7 39. Julie Yang 74-75–149
+ 7 39. Danielle Kang 75-74–149
+ 7 39. Susana Benavides 72-77–149
+ 7 39. Courtney Ellenbogen 77-72–149
+ 7 39. Emilie Burger 71-78–149
+ 7 39. Katie Sylvan 78-71–149
+ 7 39. Stacy Kim 75-74–149
+ 7 39. Veronica Valerio 76-73–149
+ 7 39. Christine Cho 74-75–149
+ 7 39. Portland Rosen 75-74–149
+ 7 51. Christine Shimel 74-76–150
+ 8 51. Kelly Shon 74-76–150
+ 8 51. Amy Anderson 76-74–150
+ 8 51. Danielle Frasier 72-78–150
+ 8 51. Luz Alejandra Cangrejo 75-75–150
+ 8 51. Esther Lee 73-77–150
+ 8 51. Erynne Lee 72-78–150
+ 8 51. Amanda Steinhagen 77-73–150
+ 8 51. Betsie Johnson 73-77–150
+ 8 60. Katrina Hegge 74-77–151
+ 9 60. Seshia-Lei Telles 72-79–151
+ 9 60. Christine Song 77-74–151
+ 9 60. Chelsey Cothran 75-76–151
+ 9 60. Anna Jang 77-74–151
+ 9 60. Taylor Schmidt 77-74–151
+ 9 60. Saby Dagenais 73-78–151
+ 9 60. Stephanie Meadow 75-76–151
+ 9 60. Natalie Reeves 74-77–151
+ 9 • • •

Missed the cut

69. Simin Feng 75-77–152
+ 10 69. Brittany Altomare 76-76–152
+ 10 69. Lindsey Weaver 76-76–152
+ 10 69. Whitney Hillier 75-77–152
+ 10 73. Felicia Marie Espericueta 77-76–153
+ 11 73. Leigh Henderson 74-79–153
+ 11 73. Michelle Shin 77-76–153
+ 11 73. Alina Ching 77-76–153
+ 11 73. Jennifer Yang 76-77–153
+ 11 73. Samantha Esguerra 75-78–153
+ 11 73. Jane Rah 77-76–153
+ 11 73. Rebecca Lee-Bentham 76-77–153
+ 11 73. Amy Ruengmateekhun 76-77–153
+ 11 73. Chessey Thomas 73-80–153
+ 11 73. Rochelle Chan 76-77–153
+ 11 73. Alexandria Buelow 77-76–153
+ 11 73. Mariko Tumangan 78-75–153
+ 11 73. Anna Keith 78-75–153
+ 11 87. Jacqueline Yanch 80-74–154
+ 12 87. Cheyenne Hickle 75-79–154
+ 12 87. Jacy Benites 77-77–154
+ 12 87. Kyndall Ardoin 77-77–154
+ 12 87. Amelia Hill 76-78–154
+ 12 92. Shamira Marshall 76-79–155
+ 13 92. Gabi Oubre' 76-79–155
+ 13 92. Kimberly Kaufman 77-78–155
+ 13 92. Bethany Buchner 78-77–155
+ 13 92. Ginger Jun Ki Mak 78-77–155
+ 13 92. Sun Park 78-77–155
+ 13 92. Isabel Han 80-75–155
+ 13 99. Linda Brown 79-77–156
+ 14 99. Haley Sanders 77-79–156
+ 14 99. Harin Lee 76-80–156
+ 14 99. Paige Spiranac 79-77–156
+ 14 99. Lalita Patipaksiri 78-78–156
+ 14 99. Rui Li 78-78–156
+ 14 105. Seo Hee Moon 79-78–157
+ 15 105. Haley Wilson 78-79–157
+ 15 105. T J Kliebphipat 76-81–157
+ 15 105. Aurora Kan 76-81–157
+ 15 105. Belen Hernandez 77-80–157
+ 15 110. Kristen Garabedian 78-80–158
+ 16 110. Regina Alonso 76-82–158
+ 16 110. Ashlee Pickerell 77-81–158
+ 16 110. Maria Piccio 79-79–158
+ 16 110. Casie Cathrea 84-74–158
+ 16 110. Lauren Weaver 82-76–158
+ 16 110. Blair Lewis 79-79–158
+ 16 110. Julia Thead 78-80–158
+ 16 118. Cyd Okino 83-76–159
+ 17 118. Erin Sharpee 81-78–159
+ 17 118. Isabelle Lendl 81-78–159
+ 17 118. Nadia Luttner 76-83–159
+ 17 122. Olivia Weber 87-73–160
+ 18 122. Beth Sellers 76-84–160
+ 18 122. Gabriella Dominguez 80-80–160
+ 18 125. Nicole Morales 83-78–161
+ 19 125. Olivia Garard 82-79–161
+ 19 125. Alexandra Groetsema 86-75–161
+ 19 125. Brittany Weddell 78-83–161
+ 19 125. Whitney Rhodes 84-77–161
+ 19 130. Amelia Lewis 87-75–162
+ 20 130. Laura Hildebrandt 78-84–162
+ 20 130. Amy Meier 80-82–162
+ 20 130. Stephanie Smith 84-78–162
+ 20 130. Olivia Lugar 82-80–162
+ 20 130. Darlea Carr 80-82–162
+ 20 136. Brittany Mai 83-80–163
+ 21 136. Emily Podzielinski 82-81–163
+ 21 138. Samantha Wagner 83-81–164
+ 22 138. Sarah Almond 88-76–164
+ 22 140. Gianna Misenhelter 86-79–165
+ 23 140. Bryce Schroeder 88-77–165
+ 23 140. Abbie Horan 82-83–165
+ 23 140. Sarah Schmelzel 84-81–165
+ 23 144. Taylor Fisher 83-83–166
+ 24 144. Tory Bauman 82-84–166
+ 24 146. Lauren Kim 85-83–168
+ 26 147. Chelsea Bretcher 85-84–169
+ 27 147. Breanna Patz 82-87–169
+ 27 149. Rachel Uremovich 87-84–171
+ 29 150. Mary Larsh 86-86–172
+ 30 151. Jamie Lavin 87-86–173
+ 31 152. Gianna Digrazia 89-86–175
+ 33 152. Christina Ocampo 88-87–175
+ 33 154. Isabel Southard 86-90–176
+ 34 155. Chanet Fiorina 96-87–183
+ 41 156. Cassie Deeg 95-90–185
+ 43

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