Thompson falls at U.S. Girls’ Junior
BEDMINSTER, N.J. – The reigning U.S. Girls’ Junior champion lost the possibility of maintaining her throne Thursday at the hands of 13-year-old Ariya Jutanugarn.
Alexis Thompson, 14, capitalized on solid ball-striking and a hot putter to take down Kyung Kim, 6 and 5, in the Round of 32. The story was different in the Round of 16, however, as Thompson did not have many putts drop at Trump National Golf Club’s Old Course.
“My shots weren’t good at all ... and my putting was just terrible,” Thompson said.
Thompson never held a lead in the match. Amid a steady downpour that lasted through most of the first nine holes, Jutanugarn made birdie on the par-4 first while Thompson took a bogey. By No. 6, Jutanugarn was 3 up. After Thompson left her approach shot in a bunker on 17, she fell to Jutanugarn’s birdie.
“Everybody is expecting you to win again, but you know I had one off-match, and when you’re off, you get beat,” Thompson said.
The Thompson-Jutanugarn crowd, which included the omnipresent Donald Trump, faded into the Jessica Korda-Kimberly Kim crowd on No. 17 when Kim holed a chip out for par from the left rough to a pin 50 feet across the green. The par kept the match at all square, and after pars at the 18th, the players went extra holes. Kim beat Korda, the No. 3 seed, with a par resulting from a bold third shot from a bunker to a tucked-right pin on the par-4 first.
“It’s so late in the day and so late in the match that you kind of forget you’re in the match,” Kim said of making the turn at 3 down. “When I had that chip-in, it was like the coolest moment of my life, though.”
Stroke-play medalist Amy Anderson, of Oxbow, N.D., also exhibited solid play, taking down Isabelle Lendl in the second round, 1 up. As one of the longer players in the field, Anderson said the soft fairways from the steady rain worked to her advantage, but the weather started to take its toll in the afternoon.
“I don’t know if it was a combination of mental and physical exhaustion and then the rain and the wind – it was really actually very ugly out there,” she said.
In her afternoon match against Alison Lee, of Valencia, Calif., Anderson went back and forth with the lead. She got the match back to even on the par-4 16th with a birdie, then both Lee and Anderson came up short out of a greenside bunker at 17. Anderson lost her drive to the right on the 18th, but won with a bogey when Lee hit her second shot in the water.
“I blocked it out to the right just because I was scared of the water,” she said of the drive. “I was kind of given a gift on the last hole I guess.”
Anderson will meet Victoria Tanco, who enters the quarterfinals with the highest seed at No. 9. Tanco beat Karen Chung, 3 and 1, in the afternoon, and knocked out Kendall Martindale, 5 and 4, in the Round of 32. Tanco is No. 3 in the Golfweek/Titleist Junior Rankings.
In yet another match that came down to the 18th hole, Ani Gulugian came up short of adding momentum to a 5-and-3 victory over Kristin Coleman in the Round of 32 when she lost to Luz Alejandra Cangrejo, 1 up. Cangrejo, of Colombia, had Gulugian 3 down going into 16, but back-to-back pars put Gulugian back in the match. At No. 18, Gulugian was left with a 30-foot birdie putt down a slope that she ran by the hole before Cangrejo tapped in a 5-footer for par and the win.
“I was really nervous on that last putt – I was shaking because Ani is a really good player,” Cangrejo said.
Cangrejo will meet Kimberly Kaufman, of Clark, S.D., in the quarterfinals. Kaufman, 17, took down Annie Park, 2 and 1, in the Round of 32.
Jennifer Johnson, who advanced to the second round of match play at the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur, also advanced to the quarterfinals. The 17-year-old beat Daffodil Sanchez, 3 and 2. Johnson will meet Doris Chen, of Taiwan, who dominated her afternoon match against Suzie Lee, 6 and 4.