Girls Jr.: Jutanugarn, Then move toward rematch

Girls Jr.: Jutanugarn, Then move toward rematch


Girls Jr.: Jutanugarn, Then move toward rematch

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Quick hits from the Round of 16 at the U.S. Girls’ Junior:

Marquee match brewing: After her 33rd hole of the day Thursday at the U.S. Girls’ Junior, Ariya Jutanugarn finally admitted to feeling the heat and fatigue of a U.S. Golf Association Championship.

A native of Bangkok, Thailand, Jutanugarn insists the weather is at least as hot back home as at Olypmia Fields Country Club, just maybe not quite as humid. Regardless, Jutanugarn is safely into the quarterfinals.

Jutanugarn won her morning match against Sarah Schmelzel by a 4-and-3 margin, earning herself some much-needed rest in a shady spot on the clubhouse porch before teeing it up again in the afternoon against Canada’s Jisoo Keel.

“(Ariya) hits it a mile, and then she’s got a good putter,” Schmelzel said. “She knows where to hit it on the greens, she knows where to hit it on the fairways, she’s really good with course management.”

Jutanugarn led Keel, a member of Golf Canada’s 2011 Women’s Developmental Squad, most of the afternoon until Keel brought it back to all square at the 14th. From there, it was a battle of wills in the stifling Midwest heat.

All square at the 17th, Jutanugarn missed a 2-footer that would have given her the edge going into the final hole. At No. 18, Keel stuck it to 5 feet before Jutanugarn’s sister and caddie Moriya instructed Ariya to do her one better.

“My sister told me, you have to hit it closer,” Ariya said. From 77 yards out, Ariya put hers to 3 feet, and mercifully ended a marathon day.

Jutanugarn’s match against Keel was the first time she had seen the 18th since the end of stroke play. In the quarterfinals, she’ll meet another player who has been tearing up opponents for much of the week: Gabriella Then. It’s the first time the two have met since Then defeated Jutanugarn on the first hole of sudden death at the Rolex Tournament of Champions.

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One of the boys: Talia Campbell had hardly any match-play experience before this week’s championship. Unless, of course, you count “friendly wagers” at her home course, Brookhaven Country Club in Dallas.

Campbell, a two-time individual champion at the Texas State High School Championship, often finds herself playing matches against members of the boys’ golf team at Jesuit College Preparatory School. It’s the all-boys counterpart to Ursuline Academy, where Campbell has also been part of a state championship-winning team for the past three years.

“They’re pretty intense, it’s fun though,” she said of the boys who often challenge her at Brookhaven. Jordan Spieth is a member of that Jesuit team, but Campbell said she doesn’t often see him or play against him at Brookhaven.

How does she fare against the rest of them? Generally not too bad, unless, of course, they make her play from the tips.

Campbell fared well in the Round of 32 also, rallying from an early deficit to beat Mariah Stackhouse, 4 and 3.

“I had confidence throughout the entire day, I knew I could do it, there was no doubt in my mind,” Campbell said. “I think that’s what helped the most.”

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To the wire: The 18th hole was good to Dottie Ardina on Thursday. Ardina won both her matches at the 476-yard, par-5 finishing hole. In the morning she beat Emma Talley, and in the afternoon it was Yueer Cindy Feng.

To win her match against Feng, Ardina had to birdie the final hole. She had already birdied it in the morning round to edge Talley, 2 up.

“I was just trying to hit like this morning, but it turned out better,” she said.

It completed the comeback that had been brewing since No. 15. Ardina lost her edge on Feng when she made a long putt for birdie at No. 8, then chipped in for another birdie at 9. Ardina had returned the match to even by No. 16.

Before this week, Ardina, of the Phillipines, had never advanced past the Round of 64 in three previous trips to the U.S. Girls’ Junior. This is her final year of eligibility.


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