BEDMINSTER, N.J. — Victoria Tanco, 15, sailed through the first round of match play at the U.S. Girls’ Junior on the strength of a white-hot putter. After struggling with her putter the first two days, Tanco got three consecutive birdies to fall on Nos. 5-7. She took a 1-up lead on the first hole against Hawaii’s Alina Ching and never relented, finishing, 7 and 6, on the Old Course.
“She’s been hitting the ball great all week,” said Tanco’s caddie, Angel Monguzzi. “I believe it was just confidence.”
Like Tanco, Monguzzi hails from Argentina and makes his living looping for Vicente Fernandez on the Champions Tour. Tanco, who won the AJGA’s Rolex Tournament of Champions earlier this year as well as the Mizuno Junior at Innisbrook, lost to defending champion Alexis Thompson in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Girls’ Junior last year.
The high-school junior answers questions in very simple, direct sentences with a heavy accent. When asked if she had any plans for college, Tanco acted as though it was light-years away.
“I don’t know yet,” she said.