- August 31, 2021
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The U.S. Girls’ Junior is back.
After a year-long hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most-coveted events on the junior schedule returns at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Beginning in 2017, the U.S. Golf Association put a U.S. Women’s Open exemption on the line for the winner of the event so there’s much to play for this week. The 156-player field will be whittled down to 64 players after two rounds of stroke play, and from there five rounds of match-play commence to decide a champion.
Most conspicuously missing from the field is Megha Ganne, Golfweek’s top-ranked junior and practically a household name after her 14th-place finish at last month’s U.S. Women’s Open, which earned her low-amateur honors.
Despite Ganne’s absence, there are plenty of names to watch in the field, including the following women:
When the U.S. Girls’ Junior was canceled last summer, it meant players in the class of 2020 wouldn’t get their last-ditch effort at a title in this event. Players are eligible to compete in the Girls’ Junior provided they do not turn 19 before July 17, so nine current collegians were able to qualify into the event and can still play. That group of nine brings some pretty stout college resumes to Maryland, too.
Will this be the year that Alexa Pano finally gets her U.S. Girls’ Junior title? Back in 2018, Pano finished runner-up to Yealimi Noh after a marathon day at Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, California. The 16-year-old has appeared everywhere from the junior-golf documentary “The Short Game” to Symetra Tour and LPGA tour events to the U.S. Women’s Open, and now plays the Girls’ Junior for a fourth time.
Rose Zhang, the No. 1-ranked amateur in the world and the reigning U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, seems another easy favorite for this title.
Rose Zhang during the final round of The PING Invitational – 2020. (AJGA photo)
In women’s golf, a 12-year-old (or 11-year-old or 10-year-old) in the field at a USGA championship is hardly even cause for a second glance. There’s been a long line of such players in recent years. This year, Anna Huang is the youngest player in the field at 12 years old. The average age of competitors this week, by the way, is 16.42.
Two women in the field have already won a USGA title this year. That would be U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball champions Savannah Barber and Alex Saldana. The two Texas residents are roommates at the Crown Golf Academy in Arlington and earned their spot in this week’s field with their Four-Ball win.
Savannah Barber and Alexa Saldana hold the trophy after winning the 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball at Maridoe Golf Club in Carrollton, Texas on April 28, 2021. (Darren Carroll/USGA)
For a 14-year-old, Avery Zweig has made an impressive number of USGA starts. This week marks her sixth championship but her second Girls’ Junior, and she’s coming off a start in last week’s Volunteers of America Classic on the LPGA.
7 a.m. / 12:30 p.m. – Faith Choi, Frederick, Md.; Julia Misemer, Overland Park, Kan.; Sophie Thai, Los Altos, Calif.
7:10 a.m. / 12:40 p.m. – Isabella McCauley, Inver Grove Heights, Minn.; Teal Matsueda, Honolulu, Hawaii; Thitaporn Saithip, Thailand
7:21 a.m. / 12:51 p.m. – Xin Kou, People’s Republic of China; Kiera Bartholomew, Wake Forest, N.C.; Alexia Siehl, Fort Mill, S.C.
7:31 a.m. / 1:01 p.m. – Kary Hollenbaugh, New Albany, Ohio; Karen Tsuru, Carlsbad, Calif.; Lexanne Halama, Knoxville, Tenn.
7:42 a.m. / 1:12 p.m. – Sophie Linder, Carthage, Tenn.; Emily McKee, Canada; Raleygh Simpson, Kerrville, Texas
7:52 a.m. / 1:22 p.m. – Emily Odwin, Barbados; Jordan Fischer, North Ft. Myers, Fla.; Zoe Antoinette Campos, Valencia, Calif.
8:03 a.m. / 1:33 p.m. – Natalie Cao, Sugar Land, Texas; Erin Lee, Canada;
8:13 a.m. / 1:43 p.m. – Savannah Barber, Fort Worth, Texas; Regina Plascencia, Mexico; Ellen Yu, Greensboro, N.C.
8:24 a.m. / 1:54 p.m. – Alissa C. Xu, Canada; Lauryn Nguyen, Seattle, Wash.; Apelila Galeai, Orem, Utah
8:34 a.m. / 2:04 p.m. – Rylie Heflin, Kennett Square, Pa.; Taylor Kehoe, Canada; Jenni Roller, Jenks, Okla.
8:45 a.m. / 2:15 p.m. – Chloe Lam, Fountain Valley, Calif.; Valeria Ramirez, Colombia; Malia Cottriel, Costa Mesa, Calif.
8:55 a.m. / 2:25 p.m. – Faith Low, Foster City, Calif.; Anna Huang, Canada; Bridget Chantharath, Irvine, Calif.
9:06 a.m. / 2:36 p.m. – Sophia Bae, Norwood, N.J.; Laney Frye, Nicholasville, Ky.; Esther Lee, Walnut, Calif.
7:15 a.m. / 12:15 p.m. – Bailey Davis, White Plains, Md.; Nicole Kolbas, Lincoln, Neb.; Sophia Sulkar, Barrington Hills, Ill.
7:25 a.m. / 12:25 p.m. – Grace Kilcrease, Springdale, Ark.; Lacey Uchida, Hilo, Hawaii; Kiara Romero, San Jose, Calif.
7:36 a.m. / 12:36 p.m. – Isabella Van der Biest, Kingsport, Tenn.; Kyra Ly, Portland, Ore.; Reagan Gray, Missouri City, Texas
7:46 a.m. / 12:46 p.m. – Kate Bennett, McKinney, Texas; Lauren Sammon, Murrieta, Calif.; Kylie Chong, Torrance, Calif.
7:57 a.m. / 12:57 p.m. – Mia Hammond, New Albany, Ohio; Michelle Woo, Fremont, Calif.; Ali Mulhall, Green River, Wyo.
8:07 a.m. / 1:07 p.m. – Mackenzie Moore, Trophy Club, Texas; Reagan Chaney, Ardmore, Okla.; Ava Ray, Franklin, Ind.
8:18 a.m. / 1:18 p.m. – Jennifer Cai, Irvine, Calif.; Alexa Pano, Lake Worth, Fla.; Ashley Lafontaine, Canada
8:28 a.m. / 1:28 p.m. – Iris Cao, Duluth, Ga.; Amari Avery, Riverside, Calif.; Sky Sudberry, The Woodlands, Texas
8:39 a.m. / 1:39 p.m. – Caroline Canales, Calabasas, Calif.; Addison Klonowski, Naples, Fla.; Grace Lee, Bellevue, Wash.
8:49 a.m. / 1:49 p.m. – Alexa Saldana, Mexico; Ashley Liu, Plano, Texas; Saanvi Kotti, Folsom, Calif.
9 a.m. / 2 p.m. – Melanie Walker, Burke, Va.; Yetong (Alicia) Qian, Windermere, Fla.; Kendall Maynard, Clarksville, Tenn.
9:10 a.m. / 2:10 p.m. – Camille Boyd, Seattle, Wash.; Katie Park, Fairfax, Va.; Borina Sutikto, Fremont, Calif.
9:21 a.m. / 2:21 p.m. – Lisa Marie Rudometkin, Wesley Chapel, Fla.; Yana Wilson, Henderson, Nev.; Lion Higo, Australia
12:15 p.m. / 7:15 a.m. – Alexandra Gazzoli, Palm Coast, Fla.; Chloe Johnson, Evansville, Ind.; Grace Sinclair, Brandon, Miss.
12:25 p.m. / 7:25 a.m. – Lana Calibuso-Kwee, Wailuku, Hawaii; Leigh Chien, Irvine, Calif.; Kate Tilma, Wichita, Kan.
12:36 p.m. / 7:36 a.m. – Yunxuan Zhang, People’s Republic of China; Emma Shen, Demarest, N.J.; Kathryn Vanarragon, Blaine, Minn.
12:46 p.m. / 7:46 a.m. – Molly Hardwick, Nashville, Tenn.; Charlene Chung, Hong Kong China; Raegan Capizzi, Scottsdale, Ariz.
12:57 p.m. / 7:57 a.m. – Mia Nixon, Martins Mill, Texas; Shoshana Zuck, Derwood, Md.; Anna Howerton, Winston Salem, N.C.
1:07 p.m. / 8:07 a.m. – Chloe Kim, Whittier, Calif.; Maggie Ni, Cypress, Texas; Camila Madariaga, Mexico
1:18 p.m. / 8:18 a.m. – Avery Zweig, McKinney, Texas; Alice Hodge, Larchmont, N.Y.; Yoko Tai, Singapore
1:28 p.m. / 8:28 a.m. – Drew Nienhaus, St. Albans, Mo.; Morgan Smith, Westford, Mass.; Christine Chang, Auburn, Ala.
1:39 p.m. / 8:39 a.m. – Grace Holcomb, Wilmington, N.C.; Antonia Matte, Chile; Bailey Shoemaker, West Edmeston, N.Y.
1:49 p.m. / 8:49 a.m. – Reagan Zibilski, Springfield, Mo.; Kylee Choi, Murrieta, Calif.; Angelina Kim, Tenafly, N.J.
2 p.m. / 9 a.m. – Michelle Ding, Canada; Lynn Lim, Nashville, Tenn.; Erica Villegas, Fairfield, Calif.
2:10 p.m. / 9:10 a.m. – Karoline Tuttle, Lake Mary, Fla.; Maelynn Kim, Katy, Texas; Alexsandra Lapple, Pinehurst, N.C.
2:21 p.m. / 9:21 a.m. – Rose Zhang, Irvine, Calif.; Jacqueline Putrino, Lakewood Ranch, Fla.; Kennedy Swedick, Albany, N.Y.
12:30 p.m. / 7 a.m. – Paula Miranda, Mexico; Yvonne Vinceri, Portland, Ore.; Gracie McGovern, Scottsdale, Ariz.
12:40 p.m. / 7:10 a.m. – Katie Li, Basking Ridge, N.J.; Caroline Hwang, Orlando, Fla.; Kennedy Knox, Seattle, Wash.
12:51 p.m. / 7:21 a.m. – Victoria Zheng, Canada; Rianne Mikhaela Malixi, Philippines; Anna Davis, Spring Valley, Calif.
1:01 p.m. / 7:31 a.m. – Mayumi Umezu, Waimea, Hawaii; Giovanna Fernandez, Paraguay; Carlee Rogers, Whitwell, Tenn.
1:12 p.m. / 7:42 a.m. – Jade Gu, Yardley, Pa.; Lauren Pham, Las Vegas, Nev.; Hannah Harrison, Granite Bay, Calif.
1:22 p.m. / 7:52 a.m. – Claire Swathwood, Carmel, Ind.; Chloe Holder, Anderson, S.C.; Olivia Yun, Carlsbad, Calif.
1:33 p.m. / 8:03 a.m. – Jacee Fields, Fort Worth, Texas; Taylor Riley, San Diego, Calif.; Katelyn Lehigh, Loveland, Colo.
1:43 p.m. / 8:13 a.m. – Catherine Rao, Camarillo, Calif.; Shannyn Vogler, Moline, Ill.; Tatum Walsh, Midlothian, Va.
1:54 p.m. / 8:24 a.m. – Madison Spiess, New Albany, Ohio; Maria Jose Marin Negrete, Colombia; Caris Kim, Los Altos, Calif.
2:04 p.m. / 8:34 a.m. – Mckenzi Hall, Las Vegas, Nev.; Catherine Nekola, St. Charles, Ill.; Mallorie Luitwieler, Katy, Texas
2:15 p.m. / 8:45 a.m. – Kelly Xu, Claremont, Calif.; Hailey Han, Duluth, Ga.; Kendall Jackson, Houston, Texas
2:25 p.m. / 8:55 a.m. – Molly Smith, Westford, Mass.; Lauren Kim, Canada; Kynadie Adams, Nashville, Tenn.
2:36 p.m. / 9:06 a.m. – Kaitlyn Schroeder, Jacksonville, Fla.; Sydney Roberts, Spartanburg, S.C.; Dianna Lee, San Diego, Calif.
“Last week was a highlight of my career,” said Ingram of leading Team USA to the win in Wales.
Not since 2008 has the U.S. won a Curtis Cup match as the visiting team.
After the opening day of the Curtis Cup, it looked like these matches might get away from the Americans. That’s no longer the case.
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