CLEVELAND – Hyo-Joo Kim, the 17-year-old medalist who has won on two professional tours, rolled into the Sweet 16 with a 2-and-1 victory over Isabelle Lendl on a rainy day at the U.S. Women’s Amateur. She now faces Northwestern’s Nicole Zhang in her afternoon match.
“On the front nine it wasn’t working out as I expected,” said Kim through the help of her caddie/interpreter Euna Park. The match was all square heading into the par-3 ninth where Kim drained a short birdie putt and started to feel like herself again.
Kim and Lendl, a senior at Florida, posted only three bogeys total in 17 holes. Lendl gave herself a number of birdie chances from within the 15-foot range, but didn’t convert enough putts.
“When you’re winning matches, those go in,” she said.
Lendl had older sister Marika on the bag and younger sister “Crash” in the gallery. Their tennis legend father, Ivan, arrived at The Country Club this morning to watch Round 2.
“She switched instructors in April and is starting to have good results,” Ivan said.
It has been a whirlwind year for Ivan Lendl, who began coaching Olympic gold medalist Andy Murray in January. Lendl spent nine consecutive weeks on the road with the Scottish superstar in Europe and opted not to travel to Wimbledon for the Olympic Games. The pair still spoke on the phone, however, several times a day.
“(My kids) are happy he’s winning maybe because I’m easier to live with then,” Ivan said with a laugh.
Ivan has a tennis academy in Florida and has spent most of his post-playing days coaching youth. Murray is his first professional student.
The Lendl girls have been mainstays on the junior and amateur circuit. Shoulder surgeries cut Marika’s college career short. The Florida grad will soon begin a job with IMG tennis in South Florida. Crash is sophomore at Alabama.
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Tough start: Amy Anderson might have drawn the most difficult early-round matches in U.S. Women’s Amateur history, meeting Moriya Jutanugarn in the opening match and World No. 1 Lydia Ko in the second.
Anderson, a U.S. Curtis Cup player and former Girls’ Junior champion, was 1 up through 11 holes over Ko before the New Zealander poured in back to back birdies on Nos. 13 and 14. Ko capped off the match with a birdie on the par-5 16th to win, 3 and 2.
Anderson, a native of Oxbow, N.D., was 4 under through 16 holes. She birdied Nos. 1-3 and only managed a 1-up lead over Ko. There was only one bogey between the two players (Anderson No. 15). Ko was 7 under through 16 holes.
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Oh yeah: By the end of her 5-and-4 victory over Maia Schechter, Oh could barely remember how it happened. And there were many memorable moments Thursday at The Country Club.
And so the conversation went, you almost made a hole in one at No. 9?
“I hit it pretty good, but it was pretty lucky as well,” said a modest Oh about a smooth 5-iron that stopped just inches from the cup. Had it fallen, it would have been Oh’s fifth competitive hole-in-one. The last came at last year’s Riversdale Cup in Melbourne, Australia.
Then there was the hole-out on from 134 yards at No. 12 for eagle. Once Oh’s memory was jogged, she displayed a sly grin.
“That was really crazy, actually,” Oh said. She heard the applause, but didn’t actually see that shot go in. It took her to 6 up, and she eventually won on the 14th.
Oh is part of the traveling Australian team who arrived in Cleveland after a team golf retreat in The Woodlands, Texas. She and recent U.S. Girls’ Junior winner Minjee Lee had talked earlier this week about caddying for one another should one of the two fall early. Lee lost to UCLA sophomore Erynne Lee in the first round of match play, but Oh was already back at the hotel. Lee picked up Lauren Diaz-Yi’s bag on Thursday instead.
It was OK with Oh, who seems to take a low-key approach to just about everything. She kept local caddie Flemon Barnes as a looper, and likes the local knowledge.
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ROUND OF 32
Hyo-Joo Kim def. Isabelle Lendl, 2 and 1
Nicole Zhang def. Cyna Rodriguez, 4 and 3
Jayvie Marie Agojo def. Natalie Gleadall, 1 up
Su-Hyun Oh def. Maia Schechter, 5 and 4
Jaye Marie Green def. Andrea Lee, 2 and 1
Lisa McCloskey def. Lauren Diaz-Yi, 4 and 3
Madeleine Sheils def. Ashlan Ramsey, 1 up
Marijosse Navarro def. Le Lopez, 1 up
Lydia Ko def. Amy Anderson, 3 and 2
Celine Boutier def. Karen Chung, 1 up
Jessica Vasilic def. Diana Fernandez, 6 and 4
Paula Reto def. Bronte Law, 2 and 1
Ariya Jutanugarn def. Bethany Wu, 6 and 4
Ashlee Dewhurst def. Breanna Elliott, 20 holes
Austin Ernst def. Sarah Beth Davis, 3 and 2
Erynne Lee def. Elisabeth Bernabe, 3 and 2