USGA Girls Junior: Joanne Lee Leads at 3-under-par

Charlotte, N.C. – A motivated Joanne Lee, 17, of San Carlos, Calif., shot a 3-under-par 69 in the first round of stroke-play qualifying at the Girls’ Junior on Monday.

On the 6,396-yard, par-72 Carmel Country Club South Course, which was originally designed by Ellis Maples, Lee rode the momentum of a bogey-free front nine on a scorching day to hold a one-stroke advantage over 17-year-old Kelsey Lindenschmidt of West Chester, Ohio, and Colombia’s Maria Jose Uribe.

Holding steady at 1-under 71 were seven players: 16-year-old Lila Barton of Dallas, Texas; 17-year-old Patty Chawalitmetha of Bellflower, Calif.; Lindy Duncan, 15, of Plantation, Fla.; Mindy Kim, 17, of Diamond Bar, Calif.; Stacey Kim, 15, of Columbus, Ga.; 16-year-old Ayaka Kaneko of Honolulu, Hawaii; and Kristina Wong, 15, of Vestal, N.Y.

All but Barton and Wong posted their scores in the morning session. Through her first 11 holes, Barton had equaled Lee’s 3-under mark on the strength of her putting. She sank 20-foot birdie putts on the second and seventh holes, then another one on No. 10 to save par.

Barton couldn’t maintain the pace, though. On the par-3 12th, she couldn’t get up and down and carded bogey. Two more blemishes, namely bogeys, followed on two of the next three holes. She almost avoided her last one on the 16th when she got out of the left greenside bunker. However, her 4-footer to save par lipped out. Barton, who finished second at the Rolex Girls’ Junior recently, dropped in a 14-foot birdie on the next hole. She parred 18.

It’s amazing because Barton underwent a swing change over the last month to generate more power on her drives.
“Anytime you put together a good round after the first round it gives you confidence,” said Barton. “I’m just trying not to make mistakes, trying to minimize the mistakes.”

The sun baked out the course in the afternoon, which was part of the reason why no one could catch Lee.

“I thought it played fair,” said Barton. “Some of the pin positions were tough, but I thought it played fair.”

Said Vicky Hurst, 15, of Melbourne, Fla., after her even-par round: “The greens don’t look great, but they roll good.”

Fourteen-year-old MacKinzie Kline of Encinitas, Calif., granted the use of a golf cart because of a congenital heart defect, shot level par. She had two birdies, the first a 20-foot putt off the green on the fourth hole and the second when she chipped in from the front of the green on the sixth hole.

“I was very nervous for my first nine holes,” said Kline, who started on the back side. On the 14th hole, her hands were shaking. Two holes later she hit her first fairway, settling down. She would take breaths of oxygen between each shot.

It helped that Stacey Kim (no relation to Mindy) and Lindenschmidt were playing so well in her group.

“It helps when nobody is off in the woods searching for a ball every other shot,” said Kline. “I tried to stay as close to the others as I could.”

That was the philosophy of Hurst, Kaneko, Lee and Uribe, all of whom played and missed the cut in the Women’s Open a few weeks ago at Newport Country Club in Newport, R.I. The difference between this week’s setup and the one used at the Women’s Open forced Lee to rely on more irons Monday, she said.

She used her Open experience and the fact she’d like to advance further than last year’s semifinal finish to inspire her as she began her round on No. 10. With the assistance of caddie Tom Cermack, Lee hit each target effortlessly, birdieing three of her final five holes before making the turn. She said her goal was to stay below holes, which proved effective, as many of her par putts were well within 6 feet of the flagstick. On the course’s second-longest hole, the dogleg right eighth to the tune of 509 yards, Lee had a chance for eagle. Off the green and staring at an uphill putt, she two-putted from 30 feet for the birdie to fall to 3 under.

It was the first time Lee posted a sub-par round in a Girls’ Junior. “Now I have a better time of making match play,” she said smiling. “I’d really like to make finals with the way I’m playing. I’m really confident right now.

Uribe, 16, also was buoyed by self-assurance. She had good reason as her approach shot from a valley on her finishing hole, No. 9, lipped out but ultimately led to her sixth birdie. It helped smooth over a three-putt bogey on the preceding hole and, worse, a four-putt effort on the par-3 17th as she made double bogey.

Uribe, a quarterfinalist in last year’s Women’s Amateur, missed one fairway.

“It was a good ‘bad’ day,” said Uribe, eliminated in the first round last year. “Each year you learn more … I just want to have fun and prove to myself I can do it. I want to win, though. Before, [my goal] was to make it the quarterfinals; on Saturday I want to be there.”

Starting on the 10th tee, Kaneko birdied the 17th, 18th and first holes but didn’t seem pleased afterward with her putting.

“I only practiced putting on Sunday and didn’t get a sense for the greens,” she said while walking to the clubhouse. “That made it very difficult for me today.”

That certainly wasn’t Lindenschmidt problem. She seemed to surprise herself with a hot putter. She carded six birdies overall and was assisted by missing just two greens in regulation.

The former Ohio Women’s Amateur champion cited iron accuracy as the biggest key to her day.

“My putting was really good and it’s not typically that way,” said Lindenschmidt. “I’ve been working on my putting and it has recently gotten much better. I’m thinking about it differently.”

Monday and Tuesday are slated as the first two rounds of stroke-play qualifying. After that, the top 64 players will begin match play Wednesday and play until a new champion is crowned on Saturday.
The U.S. Girls’ Junior is one of 10 national championships for amateurs conducted annually by the USGA. The Association also conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and the U.S. Senior Open.

Story written by Ken Klavon, USGA Web Editor. E-mail him with questions or comments at kklavon@usga.org.

* * *

Charlotte, N.C. – Results after the first round of stroke play Monday at the 2006 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at the 6,396-yard, par-72 Carmel Country Club:  
    Joanne Lee, San Carlos, Calif., 35-34--69
    Kelsey Lindenschmidt, West Chester, Ohio, 35-35--70
    Maria Jose Uribe, Colombia, 34-36--70
    Ayaka Kaneko, Honolulu, Hawaii, 36-35--71
    Kristina Wong, Vestal, N.Y., 35-36--71
    Lila Barton, Dallas, Texas, 33-38--71
    Lindy Duncan, Plantation, Fla., 36-35--71
    Mindy Kim, Diamond Bar, Calif., 36-35--71
    Patty Chawalitmetha, Bellflower, Calif., 34-37--71
    Stacey Kim, Columbus, Ga., 35-36--71
    Elisa Aoki, Bradenton, Fla., 35-37--72
    Mackinzie Kline, Encinitas, Calif., 34-38--72
    Sally Watson, Scotland, 35-37--72
    Tanya Wadhwa, India, 38-34--72
    Tiffany Dong, Sacramento, Calif., 34-38--72
    Vicky Hurst, Melbourne, Fla., 35-37--72
    Becca Huffer, Denver, Colo., 38-35--73
    Esther Choe, Scottsdale, Ariz., 38-35--73
    Jennifer Kirby, Canada, 36-37--73
    Kate Scarpetta, Moosic, Pa., 34-39--73
    Kimberly Donovan, Hopkinton, Mass., 39-34--73
    Margaret Pentrack, Pittsburgh, Pa., 34-39--73
    Maude-Aimee Leblanc, Canada, 36-37--73
    Sara Hurwitch, Potomac Falls, Va., 35-38--73
    Taylore Karle, Scottsdale, Ariz., 37-36--73
    Tiffany Lua, Rowland Heights, Calif., 37-36--73
    Alex Rankin, Anderson, S.C., 37-37--74
    Britney Choy, Wahia, Hawaii, 34-40--74
    Courtney Harter, Clearwater, Fla., 35-39--74
    Ellie Arkin, Reedsburg, Wis., 36-38--74
    Isabelle Lendl, Bradenton, Fla., 37-37--74
    Kristie Smith, Australia, 39-35--74
    Lisa McCloskey, Montgomery, Texas, 36-38--74
    Michelle Shin, Cape Coral, Fla., 37-37--74
    Mina Harigae, Monterey, Calif., 35-39--74
    Wonjoo Choi, Korea, 36-38--74
    Alexandra Bodemann, Palm City, Fla., 37-38--75
    Ariana Patterson, Carmel, Calif., 38-37--75
    Ashley Edwards, Antioch, Calif., 38-37--75
    Austin Ernst, Seneca, S.C., 37-38--75
    Christine Song, Fullerton, Calif., 41-34--75
    Emily Johnson, Warsaw, Ind., 37-38--75
    Grace Na, Oakland, Calif., 37-38--75
    Jennifer Hirano, Pinole, Calif., 38-37--75
    Kayla Mortellaro, Phoenix, Ariz., 40-35--75
    Nicole Ferrero, Lodi, Calif., 37-38--75
    Sarah Almond, Albemarle, N.C., 38-37—75
    Anya Sarai Alvarez, Tulsa, Okla., 38-38--76
    Cydney Clanton, Concord, N.C., 38-38--76
    Dakoda Dowd, Palm Harbor, Fla., 35-41--76
    Ellen Mueller, Evansville, Ind., 39-37--76
    Gabriella Dominguez, Chilton, Texas, 37-39--76
    Madison Pressel, Boca Raton, Fla., 38-38--76
    Marina Alex, Wayne, N.J., 35-41--76
    Megan Grehan, Mamaroneck, N.Y., 37-39--76
    Miki Ueoka, Lihue, Hawaii, 38-38--76
    Pam Burneski, Canada, 36-40--76
    Shannon Fish, Spring, Texas, 36-40--76
    Sydney Burlison, Salinas, Calif., 37-39--76
    Amelia Lewis, Jacksonville, Fla., 39-38--77
    Anne Catherine Tanguay, Canada, 39-38--77
    Brianna Do, Viet Nam, 39-38--77
    Cheyenne Woods, Phoenix, Ariz., 39-38--77
    Christine Cho, La Crescenta, Calif., 40-37--77
    Emma Talley, Princeton, Ky., 38-39--77
    Haley Millsap, Pace, Fla., 38-39--77
    Jaclyn Sweeney, Bradenton, Fla., 37-40--77
    Kimberly Kim, Hilo, Hawaii, 39-38--77
    Lindsey Solberg, Middleton, Wis., 38-39--77
    Marika Lendl, Bradenton, Fla., 39-38--77
    Mia Kabasakalis, Alameda, Calif., 37-40--77
    Natalie Sheary, West Hartford, Conn., 37-40--77
    Rebecca Durham, St Simons Island, Ga., 39-38--77
    Seohee Moon, Mukilteo, Wash., 40-37--77
    Allyson Ferguson, Houston, Texas, 39-39--78
    Ashley McKenney, Scottsdale, Ariz., 39-39--78
    Brittany Altomare, Shrewsbury, Mass., 38-40--78
    Corrine Carr, Pinehurst, N.C., 38-40--78
    Jane Rah, Torrance, Calif., 43-35--78
    Katie Conway, Wading River, N.Y., 40-38--78
    Katrina Hegge, Seattle, Wash., 42-36--78
    Kelsey Vines, Austin, Texas, 38-40--78
    Mariko Tumangan, San Jose, Calif., 39-39--78
    Meghna Bal, India, 39-39--78
    Nara Shin, Chula Vista, Calif., 43-35--78
    Neelam Patel, Clarksville, Tenn., 38-40--78
    Rachel Rohanna, Waynesburg, Pa., 40-38--78
    Rebecca Lederhausen, Hinsdale, Ill., 39-39--78
    Stephanie Kono, Honolulu, Hawaii, 41-37--78
    Taylor Weaver, Spartanburg, S.C., 34-44--78
    Victoria Arena, Lansdale, Pa., 38-40--78
    Victoria Fallgren, Lakewood, Calif., 41-37--78
    Ahnna Kim, Irvine, Calif., 41-38--79
    Amy Meier, Rochester Hills, Mich., 38-41—79
    Betsy Birchall, Birmingham, Ala., 38-41--79
    Caitlin Bliss, Katy, Texas, 39-40--79
    Cassandra Blaney, Rochester, N.Y., 40-39--79
    Chelsey Cothran, Springdale, Ark., 38-41--79
    Jenny Shin, Torrance, Calif., 39-40--79
    Jordan Allyne, Bellevue, Wash., 40-39--79
    Katie Detlefsen, Eagan, Minn., 40-39--79
    Kyung Kim, Wailulu, Hawaii, 40-39--79
    Mariah Montoya, Lubbock, Texas, 38-41--79
    Stephanie Kim, Bayside, N.Y., 39-40--79
    Andrea Watts, Lone Tree, Colo., 41-39--80
    Casey Ann Kennedy, Venice, Fla., 44-36--80
    Hunter Ross, Manakin Sabot, Va., 39-41--80
    Jessica Hollandsworth, Floyd, Va., 38-42--80
    Jillian Brodd, Knoxville, Tenn., 41-39--80
    Kimberly Johnson, San Diego, Calif., 41-39--80
    Kristen Schelling, Mesa, Ariz., 40-40--80
    Rachel Morris, Carlsbad, Calif., 40-40--80
    Sherlyn Popelka, Switzerland, 44-36--80
    Beverly Vatananugulkit, Cerritos, Calif., 42-39--81
    Courtney Figueroa, Naples, Fla., 41-40--81
    Emma Lavy, Fayetteville, Ark., 43-38--81
    Erica Omlid, Springfield, Ore., 44-37--81
    Katie Sylvan, San Diego, Calif., 44-37--81
    Sarah Bejgrowicz, Lancaster, Pa., 38-43--81
    Carly Werwie, Kenosha, Wis., 39-43--82
    Erika Thornton, Knoxville, Tenn., 37-45--82
    Felicia Espericueta, Edinburg, Texas, 41-41--82
    Haley Stephens, Greer, S.C., 40-42--82
    Marisa Kamelgarn, Mahopac, N.Y., 41-41--82
    Mary Michael Maggio, Conway, Ark., 41-41--82
    Megan Trachok, Upper St Clair, Pa., 39-43--82
    Molly Plomaritis, Eden, N.C., 40-42--82
    Rachael Pruett, Linton, Ind., 42-40--82
    Ashley Kaufman, Clark, S.D., 41-42--83
    Emily Childs, Alameda, Calif., 38-45--83
    Hannah Yun, Bradenton, Fla., 40-43--83
    Julia Thead, Poway, Calif., 40-43--83
    Kyle Roig, Pembroke Pines, Fla., 43-40--83
    Lauren Weaver, Scottsdale, Ariz., 40-43--83
    Mabrie Cain, St Peters, Mo., 41-42--83
    Paula Andrea Hurtado Restrepo, Colombia, 43-40--83
    Ashley Lance, Franklin, Tenn., 39-45--84
    Jessica Wallace, Canada, 43-41--84
    Veronica Valerio, Temecula, Calif., 44-40--84
    Amanda Arrington, Hinton, Okla., 41-44--85
    Hayley Brown, Canada, 41-44—85
  Jenna Zamprelli, Castle Rock, Colo., 42-43--85
    Kayla Cline, Socorro, N.M., 41-44--85
    Sara Hemingway, Kingwood, Texas, 41-44--85
    Alexandra Borcherts, Las Vegas, Nev., 41-45--86
    Brittany Kelly, Fishers, Ind., 41-45--86
    Jessica Parmenter, Peoria, Ill., 42-44--86
    Katrina Delen-Briones, San Francisco, Calif., 41-45--86
    Kelsey Meyer, St Louis, Mo., 43-43--86
    Brittany Penny, Peoria, Ariz., 45-42--87
    Melissa Mabanta, Canada, 41-46--87
    Hannah Collier, Birmingham, Ala., 43-45--88
    Mariah Stackhouse, Atlanta, Ga., 40-49--89
    Elizabeth Welker, Lake St Louis, Mo., 43-47--90
    Sharon Shin, West Linn, Ore., 45-46--91
    Mary Kate Boyce, Oak Lawn, Ill., 49-44--93
ABOUT THE U.S. Girls' Junior Amateur

The Girls Junior Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted by the USGA. The event is open to female golfers who have not reached their 18th birthday prior to the close of competition and whose USGA Handicap Index does not exceed 18.4. 36 hole stroke play qualifying from which 64 players advance to match play. Regional qualifying held at sites around the United States.

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