Liu 3 up midway through U.S. Junior final

Jim Liu

Jim Liu

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#NameYearStateRating
1Scott Scheffler2014TX67.26
2Zecheng Dou2015CA67.76
3Andy Zhang2016FL68.34
4Austin Connelly2015TX68.42
5Brad Dalke2016OK68.46

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ADA, Mich. – Fourteen-year-old Jim Liu made five birdies in a seven-hole stretch around the turn Saturday to take a 3-up lead over Justin Thomas heading into the final 18 holes at the U.S. Junior Amateur. 

Liu, who is attempting to become the youngest player ever to win the Junior Amateur, played the last 11 holes in 7-under par to take a comfortable lead into the afternoon session. Were they playing stroke play, Liu would have shot 64. 

Thomas, 17, who last year became the third-youngest player to make the cut at a PGA Tour event, took an early 2-up lead but couldn’t keep pace. Thomas hit only four of 14 fairways in the morning session, but still managed six birdies. 

Thomas and Liu halved the final two holes with birdies. After shaking hands on the 18th, Thomas flapped his arms around Liu as if to cool him off. 

At this rate, nothing seems to be working. 

Thomas jumped out to an early advantage, boosted by a miraculous par save on the par-4 second, when he nearly whiffed on his flop shot, then chipped in from virtually the same spot to halve the hole. 

Taking dead aim at greens softened by a steady morning rain, Liu squared the match with wins on Nos. 6 and 8, then took the lead for the first time at the 10th, after sinking a 10-footer for birdie. Around the turn Liu birdied Nos. 7, 8, 10, 12 and 13 to build a 3-up lead. 

Liu would become easily the youngest winner of this championship. At 14 years, 11 months, 15 days, Liu would beat Tiger Woods’ previous mark by more than seven months. 

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