Liu looks to get first victory since 2010 at Junior Am
If I told you Jim Liu’s last victory was at the 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur, would you believe it?
The second-ranked junior in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings, has had multiple top finishes – T-7 2013 HP Boys Championship and T-4 at the 2013 Azalea Invitational – and including winning medalist honors at the 2012 Junior Amateur, but he hasn’t broken through with a true victory.
“It’s been a lot of good golf, but I just haven’t been on the right side of things,” he said.
Liu will try and fix that this week at the U.S. Junior Amateur at Martis Camp Club in Trukee, Calif. (See tee times, pairings for stroke play of the 2013 Junior Amateur.)
He will try and put himself in a whole another class when it comes to Junior Amateur champions. Only Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth have multiple titles at that championship.
Leading up to event, Liu has had plenty of time to play and practice.
In April, he played in the European Tour’s Volvo China Open where he shot rounds of 77-70, although he missed the cut. He played in the Metropolitan Golf Association’s Carey Challenge Cup at the European Club in Wicklow, Ireland, where he helped the team win on a links course in 21 years. He then competed in the British Amateur Championship.
The incoming Stanford freshman made it to the semifinals of the championship, but easily could have been a finalist if it weren’t for an 18th-hole cold, dead shank.
It was a sea-saw match between Liu and eventual champion Englishman Garrick Porteous at Royal Cinque Ports
Liu felt like he had momentum going into the last hole. He had made a great par save on 16 and birdied No. 17 to take a 1-up lead. Instead, from the middle of the fairway on 18, Liu admits he tried to hit his 4-iron way too hard into the wind, and shanked it – almost hitting Porteous.
“Looking back I would have taken more club,” he said. “I’m not upset about anything. It’s just unfortunate.”
Porteous would go on to win in 19 holes.
He followed up play at British Amateur by playing 54 holes at Royal St. George’s the next day with his father.
Liu came back to the states and finished in the top 25 at the North & South Amateur and the Trans-Mississippi, but he’s more than ready to win again.
“I’m ready to win another title. I’ve been so close. I’m hungry to get it done,” he added.
Liu has another goal at the beginning of September: Make Team USA for the Walker Cup. In December, Liu was the only junior invited to the Walker Cup practice session in Naples, Fla., at Calusa Pines.
Being a semifinalist at the British Amateur helped, and good finishes at the Junior Am, the Western Amateur and U.S. Amateur will make a good case for the junior.
“It will be a good test for me and the rest of the amateurs to see who can make a run,” he said. Last week, the USGA announced the first five players to make the squad.
Another perk? It’s basically in Liu’s backyard. The Smithtown, N.Y. native is only 50 miles away from National Golf Links of America, but he’s never played it – only next door at Sebonack, where the U.S. Women’s Open was held.
“I would love to play on Team USA,” Liu added.
A victory may just help his cause in more ways than one.