BREMERTON, Wash. – Quick hits from the Round of 16 at the U.S. Junior Amateur:
Adam Ball turned the final hour at Gold Mountain into his personal highlight reel. Playing in his third and final U.S. Junior, Ball closed eagle-birdie-birdie-birdie-birdie – that’s right, 6 under par on the final five holes – to stun Juan Yumar, 2 up, and advance to the quarterfinals. “The best hour of my life,” Ball said.
Let’s recap: Ball was 3 down after 12 holes but won No. 13 with a par. That’s when things got crazy. On the par-5 14th, Ball hit a low, running 4-iron that nestled to within 20 feet but left a challenging putt down the hill. “I never hit a putt easier in my life,” he would say later, but he sank it anyway. Eagle, 1 down.
On to 15, where he laid up to his favorite yardage – 72 yards – and stiffed his wedge shot to 5 feet. Hole halved with birdie. Now, on 16, a dastardly, 209-yard par 3 that plays almost entirely over water, Ball hit a 5-iron to 4 feet. Another birdie, all square. He hit his approach to 3 feet on the par-4 17th ...
OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Give the award for best fight on a steamy Wednesday at the U.S. Girls’ Junior to Lakareber Abe. The 15-year-old from Angleton, Texas, gave No. 2-seeded Casie Cathrea quite a scare at Olympia Fields’ South Course before fading on the closing holes.
Cathrea, 15, of Livermore, Calif., immediately went up on Abe with a birdie on the first hole but had to give back that advantage with a bogey at the second. Abe led the match or was tied with Cathrea until No. 16, when Cathrea rallied with a timely birdie. Coming into the clubhouse, Abe struggled with her chipping, finishing with a flubbed chip at No. 18 before conceding the match. Cathrea won, 2 up.
It was an afternoon of aggressive play out of Cathrea and Abe. Cathrea fought a swing tempo that she conceded was just “a little off” while Abe fired at pins.
“I wasn’t very consistent the first couple holes,” Cathrea said, noting that Abe’s lead created some stress.
2.) Familiar feeling: Win or lose, count on Karen Chung to greet spectators, friends and media with a smile after a round of golf. At the U.S. Girls’ Junior, the ...
BREMERTON, Wash. – Quick hits from the first round of match play at the U.S. Junior Amateur:
Eyes on the top: Beau Hossler is playing in his first U.S. Junior Amateur, and remarkably, Wednesday’s opener was only his second competitive match-play round. Four down after four holes, it began to look like it could be his final one at Gold Mountain.
“I was like, Are you kidding me? This is the worst joke ever!” Hossler said. “I’m just handing him holes by hitting it out of play on a wide-open golf course.”
He lost the opening hole after his opponent, Miller Capps of Denver, N.C., holed a 20-footer for birdie. Hossler lost the second hole after hitting it way left – 20 yards left of the out-of-bounds stakes. He lost the third hole after flying his approach 40 yards left and making double bogey. And he lost the fourth hole after his drive found a divot, then he flubbed a chip in front of the green and bogeyed.
“When the ball went left on 3, I was not in a good mental state. I was angry,” he said. “When you hit one that feels good and goes ...
OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Gabriella Then, 15, isn’t a little girl anymore. These days, she’s armed with new TaylorMade R-11 woods, and a new Ghost putter. She has a team of coaches shared by many an LPGA tour player and most of all, she has experience in her corner.
Casey Jones, Then’s longtime friend and caddie, also knows Then is growing up, though he remembers the old days fondly. Shortly after Then dispatched Lou Daniela Uy in the Round of 64 on Wednesday at the U.S. Girls’ Junior, Jones found a lawn chair and some shade on the veranda at Olympia Fields and told tales on a precocious 7-year-old Then.
Jones remembers Then approaching him on the practice tee at their home course in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Empire Lakes, and asking Jones to teach her the drill he was doing. That particular day, Jones, a 4-handicap, was working on moving the ball right to left.
“Her predominant shot now is a draw,” he says proudly.
Jones remembers another important moment in Then’s career, which happened at last year’s Girls’ Junior, where he also was on the bag. Matched against Victoria Tanco in the first round ...
BREMERTON, Wash. – One year later, and so much remains the same. Jordan Spieth is the prohibitive favorite at the U.S. Junior Amateur. That much is indisputable. He’s the best junior player in the country, and he has drawn a favorable second-round matchup, and yet there remains an unmistakable wariness.
“Everyone is going to bring their best for me,” Spieth said Wednesday, after defeating Blake Toolan, 4 and 3, in the opening round, “and I really have to be prepared for anything. I had an eye-opener last year.”
A year ago, Jordan Spieth was the prohibitive favorite at the U.S. Junior Amateur. It was indisputable. He was the best player in the country, and he had drawn a favorable second-round matchup, and then he lost the final two holes and was defeated by a peach-fuzzed kid named Robby Shelton, with whom Spieth was unfamiliar.
When Spieth, 17, steps to the first tee here at Gold Mountain, he admittedly knows only about a dozen players. (And his second-round opponent, Wesley Gosselin, isn’t one of them.) But that didn’t matter last year. Against Spieth, the face of junior golf, these players are either intimidated or fearless. There’s ...
BREMERTON, Wash. – Not even a hole-in-one could prevent 17-year-old Connor Klein from being penalized for slow play at the U.S. Junior Amateur. That he was docked the stroke on his aced hole only added to the cruelty.
During Monday’s first round of stroke-play qualifying at Gold Mountain, Klein and his fellow playing competitors – Andrew Bonner of Ripon, Calif., and Alex Church of Timonium, Md. – were warned while making the turn that they had fallen 20 minutes behind.
On the second hole, his 11th of the day, Klein blew his tee shot way off line, onto the adjoining Cascade Course, and took the allotted five minutes to find his ball while the other two players finished out.
Klein, however, made quick work of the 170-yard, par-3 fifth: He aced it. Unfortunately, No. 5 also represented one of the four U.S. Golf Association’s checkpoint stations, and all three players were docked a stroke for slow play.
After the round, the threesome appealed the penalty to USGA officials. Only Klein was forced to add a stroke, which meant turning his hole-in-one on No. 5 into a birdie.
“Poor play is not held against the group,” said the USGA’s ...
OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – If Collins Bradshaw is going to have success on the golf course, she knows it has to start with her short game.
“I’m not the longest hitter, so I need to drop some putts, and anything in between 130 (yards) and in, I need to be pretty nasty around the greens,” Bradshaw said matter-of-factly Tuesday. “I’ve been working hard on just making sure that I don’t give a lot of shots away. Today, that’s where my downfall came.”
Bradshaw, of Columbia, S.C., shot 11-over 155 (78-77) and fell one shot outside the cut line at the U.S. Girls’ Junior at Olympia Fields’ South Course. It was not the end to her junior career that she had imagined.
The petite blonde doesn’t have size or length to her advantage, averaging just 230 yards off the tee, but she does have speed. Bradshaw spends little time over the ball, and her parents tell the story of an unofficial visit to Alabama during which head coach Mic Potter said Bradshaw was the only player he had ever seen sprint down the fairway.
Trace this kind of play back to Bradshaw’s younger years ...
BREMERTON, Wash. – No player has scored better through two rounds at the U.S. Junior Amateur than 16-year-old Beau Hossler, which naturally has its perks. The No. 1 overall seed. The intimidation factor. The confidence. Trouble is, Wednesday marks the start of the match-play portion of this national championship – and few players have as little match-play experience as Hossler.
Amazingly, his only match-play event was the 2010 AJGA Polo Junior, where in the first round he faced off against Anthony Paolucci, then-ranked No. 1 in the country, and lost, 2 and 1.
“So, I’m 0-for-1,” Hossler quipped.
Yet you can’t shake the feeling that his record soon will be much improved. He’s striking the ball beautifully, and through two rounds at Gold Mountain he can’t recall missing a putt inside 15 feet. Hossler’s play off the tee, however, is quite another matter. On Monday, he called it “pretty grotesque to watch.” Tuesday, he begrudgingly said he’s “gotten away with a few drives.” And still, he shot 68-67, good for medalist honors, and he’s one of only seven players to finish 36 holes under par.
“I think I’ve hit it off the shaft ...
OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Shortly after Casie Cathrea dropped a 10-foot birdie putt Tuesday at the 18th hole – completing a difficult up-and-down save from trees right of the green – elation turned to fear.
Cathrea nearly got Villegased.
A spectator who had watched Cathrea’s first round of stroke-play qualifying Monday at Olympia Fields Country Club’s South Course mistakenly thought Cathrea had taken a 6 on the par-4 sixth hole instead of the 5 that was written down. When the spectator informed U.S. Golf Association officials, Cathrea and the other two players in her group were shuttled out to No. 6, where all agreed Cathrea had indeed scored a 5.
The crisis averted, Cathrea, 15, remains tied for second on the leaderboard halfway through the second round of stroke-play qualifying. She made up ground Tuesday with a 2-under 70, and is at even-par 144, four shots behind leader Ariya Jutanugarn.
The USGA bit is not a new scene for Cathrea, it’s just a little unfamiliar. This is her third U.S. Girls’ Junior, and her fifth USGA event. She also played the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, reaching the quarterfinals, and the U.S. Women’s Amateur ...
BREMERTON, Wash. – Wasn’t this supposed to be the predictable part? Thirty-six holes of stroke-play qualifying, 156 players, 64 advance. The best players – Jordan Spieth, Beau Hossler, Grayson Murray, etc. – hardly flinch. So, surely, the defending U.S. Junior Amateur champion can survive that . . .
And then Jim Liu shot 78 in the opening round, dropping into a tie for 72nd, 10 shots back, and needing a good number Tuesday just to extend his stay here at Gold Mountain. “It’s not enjoyable to be down in the pack,” Liu would say later Tuesday, after a 2-under 70 moved him safely inside the cut line, “but once you reach tomorrow, everything is reset.”
So much about Liu, 15, seems familiar. The black Titleist hat. The fashionable black-rimmed glasses. The unusual pre-shot routine, during which he makes two practice swings directly behind the ball and then, like the Red Sox’s Kevin Youkilis, slides his right hand up the shaft and swings to simulate a proper downswing. Even his qualifying scores bare a resemblance to last year. At Egypt Valley, remember, he earned a No. 27 seed after rounds of 72-72. The rest, of course, is part of tournament lore: Liu clinically ...
For complete scores from stroke play, click here.
BREMERTON, Wash. – It’s cut day at the U.S. Junior Amateur, which means it’s the most important round of Zach Herr’s budding career. The 16-year-old is trying to make match play for the first time, and he’s ranked in the top 50 nationally, and the college coaches huddling behind every green here at Gold Mountain only make him more nervous and more excited and more prepared . . . and you can’t help but root for the kid whose heart is three fairways wide.
Never heard of Zachary Herr? His mother, Cyndie, was diagnosed with colon cancer in January 2007. He found out while driving home from a club-fitting session. A few weeks later, he already had planned ways to raise money for cancer research. He called it the “Zach Attacks Cancer Foundation.” He rallied the community in his hometown of New Hope, Pa. Yes, New Hope. You can’t make this stuff up.
Zach bought lime green Livestrong bracelets and sold them to his friends for $1. The first day, he sold 1,500 bracelets. “Pretty much the whole school had one,” he said. For the silent auction, the ...
When Mike Perpich is asked to describe Billy Kennerly’s golf game, the River Pines Golf Club instructor pauses, and then answers not with strengths and weaknesses, but through an anecdote.
“I ask all of my new students to fill out a form,” said the swing coach, who first worked with Kennerly in March 2004. “One of the questions is, ‘What are your objectives?’”
Billy’s answer was simple: “’I want to play college golf and professional golf.’”
It is an answer expected of any fifth grader who aspires to the “big leagues,” whether that be on a diamond, the gridiron, or in the case of Billy Kennerly, the golf course. Nobody, not even Mike Perpich, could have said for certain that Billy would achieve his lofty goals. What Mike did see in Billy, and what distinguishes the best from the rest, was an uncanny determination to learn, improve and compete. Now seven years since filling out that questionnaire, with a golf scholarship from Clemson University and an exemption into the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship, Billy’s dreams are looking more like his reality.
That Kennerly’s game is defined best by an attitude reflects the arc of his ...
The path to Jordan Spieth’s expected coronation at the U.S. Junior Amateur now has one less roadblock. Gavin Hall, the sweet-swinging left-hander and sixth-ranked junior in the country, told Golfweek that he will miss the upcoming national championship because of a lingering injury to his right wrist.
“It’s the worst,” said Hall, 16, from his home in Pittsford, N.Y. “There isn’t much time I can play up here; there’s a four-month window of really good weather. It just couldn’t have happened at a worse time. I’ve got to take the positives from it and see what I can do to try and have a good summer without golf.”
Hall’s absence from the U.S. Junior (July 18-23) is a damaging blow not only for the player but for the tournament, as well. Spieth, the 17-year-old from Dallas who for the past two years has contended at the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Championship, is the heavy favorite to win two weeks hence at Gold Mountain Golf Club, outside Seattle. Now, he has one less contender, and a good one at that.
It was Hall who, last year, at age 15, set ...
Brad Dalke and Jaye Marie Green highlight their respective 20-man teams at the upcoming Wyndham Cup, an East-versus-West mixed team match-play competition to be held July 25-28 at Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington, N.C.
The West team has won six straight matches, and will head into North Carolina relying on team members Dalke, 13, who earlier this year became the youngest AJGA invitational winner; Beau Hossler, 16, who qualified for this year’s U.S. Open; and Kristen Park, the USC signee who is the reigning AJGA Player of the Year. Another member of the West team, Alison Lee of Valencia, Calif., has plenty of match-play experience, having been a member of the 2009 Junior Solheim Cup and 2010 Junior Ryder Cup teams.
AJGA FootJoy Invitational winner Billy Kennerly, and last year’s AJGA Polo Junior winners, Cody Proveaux and Green, headline the East team. Mariah Stackhouse, who is playing this week’s U.S. Women’s Open in Colorado, will make her Wyndham Cup debut.
The three-day event will feature five match-play formats: four-ball, mixed four-ball, foursomes, mixed-foursomes and singles.
• • •
The team rosters:
West – Boys
Connor Black, Katy, Texas (2014)
Brad Dalke, McKinney, Texas (2016)
Nicolo Galletti ...
Emma Talley’s quest for a fourth consecutive AJGA victory was derailed this week thanks to a much more coveted invitation – one to next week’s U.S. Women’s Open at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Talley, 17, had flown to Sunriver, Ore., for this week’s AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions, one of the most elite junior events of the summer. Leading up to the week, she had won the past three AJGA events (Junior at the Quad Cities, Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Partners Junior and Franklin Junior), which tied the record for most consecutive wins in the girls’ division. She has nine career AJGA titles.
In other words this was an important tournament – especially considering the Alabama commit has yet to win an AJGA Invitational – until the call came from a USGA official, who advised Talley that she had received a spot in the Open after qualifying as an alternate out of the sectional held May 23 in Wilmette, Ill.
Granted, the Tournament of Champions and the Rolex don’t overlap, but had Talley decided to tee it up in Oregon then head south to Colorado Springs, she would have been logging five consecutive weeks of ...
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