Notes: Medalist Tardy wins close one; Cathrea rallies

Bailey Tardy rallied to win her first-round match at the U.S. Girls' Junior.

Bailey Tardy rallied to win her first-round match at the U.S. Girls' Junior.

Girls Rankings »

#NameYearStateRating
1Andrea Lee2016CA69.34
2Nicole Morales2014NY69.75
3Bethany Wu2015CA69.79
4Megan Khang2015MA69.94
5Lakareber Abe2014TX70.19

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Bailey Tardy’s first-round match at the U.S. Girls’ Junior was so emotional, she punctuated her post-round interview with tears. Tardy had just won three of her final four holes to knock off good friend Abbey Carlson. Twenty-four hours earlier, this had been her stated goal, but it’s harder to do when it’s against a friend.

“I was really sad we had to play each other,” Tardy said.

Carlson advanced out of a nine-woman playoff for the No. 64 spot Tuesday evening. She stuck her approach inside 2 feet at the par-3 11th, the second hole of sudden death, to earn a shot against Tardy. Carlson made the most of it, going 2 up on Tardy at No. 13.

After Tardy and Carlson tied No. 14, Tardy won No. 15 with a birdie.

“I knew I wasn’t out of it,” she said. “. . . I’ve done well on 15 every day, so I knew I could reach it.”

Tardy has a length advantage over Carlson, and hit the green with a driver and a 5-iron as Carlson came up short. The birdie, Tardy’s first of the day, got her adrenaline flowing. The 16th resulted in another tie before Tardy won No. 17, then made a seemingly easy par at the 18th.

“I don’t know why, nothing was going (well) for me,” said Tardy, who earned medalist honors on Tuesday.

Still, it’s another goal met.

• • •

FITTING FOR A PRINCESS: Princess Superal frequently is asked if she’s actual royalty, what with the name and all. Princess, a petite and shy teen from the Philippines, smiles and says that while she’s not sure where it came from, Princess is her given name.

Superal endured a close match Wednesday with Youngin Chun of Austin, Texas, eventually winning, 2 and 1. Superal dropped putt after putt Wednesday, but walked back to the clubhouse unsure what her final count was in that stat column.

A member of the Philippine National Team, Superal has former USC player Cyna Rodriguez on the bag this week.

“My coach told her to caddie for me,” Superal said of Rodriguez, who last week made it to match play at the North & South Women’s Amateur. An accomplished player herself, Rodriguez helped Superal read greens and calculate yardage at Sycamore Hills.

Superal will return the favor in two weeks at the U.S. Women’s Amateur.

• • •

HORSES FOR COURSES: A year ago, Samantha Wagner was runner-up at the Junior PGA Championship at Sycamore Hills. Wednesday, she ended her match on the 14th hole, dropping a 20-footer to complete a sandy up-and-down.

“I love it,” Wagner said of the Jack Nicklaus design, where rounds of 67-71-69-70 ultimately earned Wagner a spot on the U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team a year ago. This year, Wagner already has her spot on the U.S. Junior Solheim Cup team locked up.

Wagner’s match against Laura Hoskin could have ended even earlier Wednesday, but after getting to 4 up at No. 5, Wagner admits she got a little complacent and immediately gave two back.

“They were simple holes, I shouldn’t have lost them,” she said.

Wagner didn’t lose another hole until No. 13, where she took an extra shot for accidentally moving her golf ball as she set up. Younger brother C.J., on the bag, then gave her a short pep talk: “Let’s get this done as quickly as possible.”

In her third U.S. Girls’ Junior start, Wagner will start the second round of match play in uncharted territory.

• • •

COMING BACK STRONG: You could almost see Casie Cathrea rev the engine on the 16th tee. Cathrea, 1 down against Lyberty Anderson with three holes to play, was in desperate need of a rally, and she delivered.

When Anderson missed a 2-footer for par there, the match went back to all square. Cathrea won No. 17 with a birdie, then stuck an 8-iron to 8 feet at No. 8 and putted out for the 2-up victory.

Sycamore Hills bodes well for Cathrea’s long game, and she has hit every par 5 in two except for No. 5, at 562 yards, the longest hole.

Cathrea, an Oklahoma State commit, says she’s back on track after uncharacteristic qualifying rounds of 72-81 that left her tied for 46th, and seeded No. 46 on the match-play bracket. Still, it’s no time for a breather.

“I still have work to do,” she said.

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