Incoming Stanford freshman Lei Ye wins U.S. Girls' Junior with future teammate as caddie

Steven Gibbons/USGA

Incoming Stanford freshman Lei Ye wins U.S. Girls' Junior with future teammate as caddie

Amateur

Incoming Stanford freshman Lei Ye wins U.S. Girls' Junior with future teammate as caddie

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The final match of the 71st U.S. Girls’ Junior at SentryWorld in Stevens Point, Wis. came down to the 36th hole, with No. 7 seed Lei Ye holding on to defeat No. 5 seed Jillian Bourdage 1 up.

The opening nine holes of the 36-hole final were tightly contested. After not trailing in 83 holes of match play in her first U.S. Girls’ Junior appearance, Bourdage was 1 down after the first hole thanks to a birdie from Ye, an incoming freshman at Stanford. Bourdage, a 2020 Ohio State commit, was able to quickly even the match on the second. The two went back-and-forth, with Ye making the turn at 1 up. For the rest of the opening 18 holes Ye was on cruise control, earning a 3 up lead midway through the final match.

Slowly but surely Bourdage fought her way back to even the match on the par 3 7th, the 25th hole of the final match. Ye once again re-claimed a 1 up lead two holes later at the second turn, but as she had done all day long, Bourdage hung tough and made another birdie to even things up once again on the 28th hole.

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The two traded bounce-back holes for the duration of the match, with Ye holding a 1 up lead entering the 36th and final hole of the match. Bourdage stuck her approach on the par 4 within five feet, setting up a birdie putt to win the hole and force a playoff that just missed the edge. Ye would two-putt for the win.

Before her semifinal match on Saturday evening, Ye switched caddies, asking close friend and future Stanford teammate Rose Zhang to jump on her bag. Zhang lost to No. 1 seed Yuka Saso in the quarterfinals Friday morning.

Ye and Bourdage both earned spots in next month’s U.S. Women’s Amateur at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss. The win earns Ye a spot in the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open at Champions Golf Club in Houston, as well as an invitation to the second Augusta National Women’s Amateur in April.

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