2005: Competition - Korean teen’s charge overcomes Chudy

Kansas City, Mo.

Even with a 5-up lead through 23 holes of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship’s 36-hole final, Tiffany Chudy knew things could change in a hurry.

So did Eun Jung Lee.

Lee, a 17-year-old South Korean, rallied from five holes down and defeated Chudy with a par on the 37th hole July 16 at Swope Memorial Golf Course.

It was a disappointing defeat for the University of Florida sophomore, who had a chance to win the match with a 4-foot par putt on the 36th hole, but missed.

Chudy sent her tee shot on the extra hole into the woods and hit a remarkable punch shot to 25 yards short of the green. She hit her next shot to 8 feet but missed the par putt, leaving Lee with a 2-foot putt for the victory.

Chudy made five birdies and only one bogey to lead 4 up after the morning 18 holes, while Lee struggled with four bogeys and a double bogey.

“I knew being 4 up after the first 18 didn’t mean you’ve won the match,” Chudy said. “I knew it could be taken away easily, especially if she got on a good streak or I started struggling. Unfortunately, both started happening.”

Chudy, of Miramar, Fla., made birdie on No. 5 in the afternoon round to go 5 up before Lee began her charge, making birdies on three of the next four holes to pull within two after 27 holes. She then rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt on the 34th hole to pull within one.

“Even when I was five holes down, I felt confident,” the 17-year-old Lee said through an interpreter. “The turning point, of course, was on the ninth hole in the afternoon when I made a long (20-foot) putt. That was a big confidence booster. After that, I felt I could do it.”

“She came back really strong on the final 18, while I struggled with my putting,” Chudy said. “She is definitely a very strong player when the pressure is on.”

44Short shots: Lee, a high school senior in Seoul, became the ninth Korean-born player to win a U.S. Golf Association championship and the second in 2005, following Birdie Kim’s victory at the U.S. Women’s Open. . . . Chudy defeated defending champion Ya-Ni Tseng, 4 and 2, in Friday’s semifinals. Lee ousted 14-year-old Jane Rah of Torrance, Calif., 5 and 4, in the semis. . . . Both finalists received spots in next month’s U.S. Women’s Amateur at Ansley Golf Club in Roswell, Ga. . . . Lee’s 37-hole victory marked the first time in WAPL history that the final needed extra holes. It is the third consecutive year that the final has reached at least the 36th hole.

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