Jim Liu's junior career comes to end at U.S. Junior

Stroke-play medalist Jim Liu reflects on the end of his junior career after losing to John Augenstein during the Round of 32 at the 66th U. S. Junior Amateur Championship.

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TRUCKEE, Calif. –– Jim Liu’s junior golf career reached its end Thursday on the par-4 second hole at Martis Camp Club.

Liu, who never led in his second-round match against John Augenstein, battled back with birdie on the par-3 17th hole to halve the match. Three holes later, he three-putted from just off the green at No. 2, the second extra hole, to end his chances at winning a second U.S. Junior title.

“Looking back, I didn’t do too poorly,” said Liu, the 2010 U.S. Junior champion. “I have every medal this championship has to offer: gold medal, silver (medal), two-time medalist, sectional-qualifying medalist, three-, four- and five-time participant.

“I’m disappointed, but I still did pretty well in this championship overall.”

Liu went as much as 2 down on the front nine despite playing his first nine holes in even par. The on the back Liu brought the match back to all square on four different occasions. He made birdie at the par-5 10th, birdie at the par-4 13th, eagle at the par-5 15th and birdie at the par-3 17th.

But Augenstein didn’t falter. He stuck his tee shot at the par-3 14th hole to about 2 feet to set up a birdie. He also birdied the short par-4 16th hole. He made just one bogey all match, playing the 20 holes in 2 under. Liu went 3 under on the day.

“You just have to think about each shot and try not to get ahead of yourself because it’s very easy to do that, think about the future and what you want to do instead of what you’re doing,” Augenstein said.

On the first playoff hole, both players two-putted for par. Then at No. 2, Liu’s approach came up just short of the green. He three-putted from there while Augenstein two-putted from 12 feet to advance to play Brian Carlson, who beat Brad Dalke, 1 up, in his morning match.

Many thought Liu would cruise through the first two rounds after winning medalist honors for the second straight year. But he needed 19 holes to win his opening match and then never took a lead on Thursday. The player many thought Liu would face in the Round of 16, Dalke, also surprisingly went home early. Dalke, 15, still has a couple more of these championships left. Liu does not.

The Stanford signee will play the Western Amateur and U.S. Amateur within the next month. He’s hoping to make the Walker Cup team, too.

“We all know there’s one automatic spot (for the U.S. Amateur winner), so it looks like that’s the only option now,” Liu said.

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