Kim, Luo to square off in California Women's Amateur finale
Jessica Luo
Jessica Luo

CARMEL, Calif. — It’s down to two high school teenagers.

Yoonhee Kim, a senior at Dougherty Valley High in San Ramon, and Jessica Luo, a junior at Lynbrook High in San Jose, booked reservations into the 18-hole championship match of this year’s California Women’s Amateur Championship at par-72 Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club after winning both their quarterfinals and semifinals matches on Friday.

The No.2 seeded Kim, who’s already verbally committed to UC Davis for 2016, was brought to tears after defeating friend and No.3 seed Anna Zhou on the 20th hole. After shaking hands, Kim apologized to Zhou, telling her ‘I’m sorry.’

“I don’t like playing my friends, said Kim, who has played for years with Zhou on Northern California’s junior golf circuits. “I’m really proud of Anna.”

Things looked dire for Kim after Zhou, who’s headed to Harvard this fall, won the 17th with a par to take a 1-up lead. Kim hung in there, however, and won the 18th with a par to force extra holes. On the 20th hole (the par-3 17th), Zhou’s tee shot bounded left off the green, leading to a bogey.

The only other time that Kim had led during the match was on No.11, where she also won with par.

“It was probably the hardest match I’ve ever had. She was up on me the whole time. My mindset was to just hang in there,” said Kim, who was helped along the way by her mother and caddie, Suzanne.

Luo, 15, had a comeback of her own to knock off No.13 seed Kathleen Scavo.

Seeded No.9 and trailing early by two, Luo squared up the match with a par on the 10th hole and later took a 1-up lead on the 13th when Scavo made another bogey. On the 14th, Scavo hit into the water hazard leading to another Luo win. The match ended with Scavo carding another bogey to Luo’s par on the 16th when Scavo flew her approach shot over the green into heavy rough.

“I grew up watching Kathleen playing on the junior tours, and she’s a very formidable opponent,” Luo said. “To play with her was an honor. To beat her was a little bit surprising.”

Over her 16 holes, Luo played even-par. Scavo, who’d headed to the University of Oregon, went 3-over with five bogeys.

Not lost on both Kim and Luo is the club they are looking to join. Former winners of the California Women’s Amateur championship include LPGA Tour members Mina Harigae and Natalie Gulbis and women’s golf legend Juli Inkster.

“It’s an incredible list of champions,” Luo said. “To have that chance is such an honor.”

Saturday morning’s 18-hole finale will tee off at 7:56 a.m.

ABOUT THE California Women's Amateur

The California Women’s Amateur Championship was founded in 1967 and played at Pebble Beach Golf Links until 1987 when the Championship was invited to Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel, where the tournament remains to this day.

36-hole stroke play qualifying round, 18 holes each day, to determine 32 players for match play. Prizes will be awarded to the Champion, Runner-up, Semifinalists, Quarterfinalists and the 36-hole Low Gross Medalist from qualifying rounds.

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