RUMFORD, RI (August 12, 2016) -- For Norman Xiong,
it was a dazzling debut, and for Lucy Li, the second time
was the charm. Both claimed victories at the 41st Junior
PGA Championship presented by Under Armour and
Genesis Networks, which was contested this week at
Wannamoisett Country Club, and cemented spots in
next month’s Junior Ryder Cup.
Xiong, who hails from Canyon Lake, California, won
his Junior PGA Championship debut by two strokes over
Patrick Welch, of Providence, Rhode Island. The victory
assured Xiong and Welch of berths on the U.S. Junior
Ryder Cup team, which will square off against their
junior counterparts from Europe, Sept. 26-27 at
Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minnesota.
Xiong’s 2-under, four-day total of 274 was
remarkable considering he was under the weather for
most of the week. Add to that a dose of oppressive
humidity, wet/soggy conditions on Wednesday, week-
long breezy conditions on Donald Ross’ revered par-69
Wannamoisett, and Xiong’s hoisting of the Jack Nicklaus
Trophy is all the more impressive.
“From my first practice round, I knew that this
course really fit my game” said Xiong, who was the lone
member of the Boys’ Division to finish under par. “That
said, the conditions were really difficult. Round two was
wet, and for me, the third day was so hot. The course,
however, played great the whole week. I loved it.”
One-under after 54 holes, Xiong led by a single
shot over Davis Shore of Knoxville, Tennessee. In all,
12 players were within four shots and in hot pursuit.
Xiong started Friday strong, carding three birdies
on the front side. A bogey on No. 7 was his first blemish
in 17 holes dating to Thursday’s third round.
Along the way, Xiong thwarted various charges by
the hometown favorite, Welch (even-par, 276) and
Shore (third place, one-over par, 277).
Nursing a one-shot advantage, Xiong’s successful
15-footer for birdie on the par-5 17th provided needed
breathing room, and his par on 18, the cherished
“I hit a good drive and had 243 yards left in,” said
Xiong of his decisive birdie on 17. “I took the time to
feel and imagine my shot, then I hit it almost exactly as
I wanted to. Really solid. It was a bit long, over the
hole. My lag putt was not very good, but I made the 15-
footer coming back. I got really pumped.”
On the Girls’ side, Mariel Galdiano of Pearl City,
Hawaii led after 18 and 36 holes and appeared to be
cruising early Friday. With five straight pars to start the
morning, her lead reached four shots.
Then came a troubling bogey-double-double
sequence on holes 6-8. A birdie at 9 stopped the
bleeding, but the damage was done.
Meanwhile, two groups ahead, Li posted birdies on
5, 7 and 8 to grab a share of the top spot.
Li’s inward nine was as steady as it was
Championship worthy. Five consecutive pars set the
stage for a shiny birdie on the 135-yard par-3 15th
hole. That gave the Redwood, California native a two-
shot cushion on Galdiano, who bogeyed 13, and
Youngin Chun of Gainesville, Florida, who bogeyed No.
A poor chip from Li on the 72nd hole rendered a
bogey and left the door open for Galdiano, who could
force a playoff with a birdie on either the difficult par-5
17th or the par-4 18th.
Back-to-back 5s, however, cemented a final-round
77 and capped Galdiano’s lost day. Her incredible junior
career, which included three Hawaii state high school
golf championships, a trio of berths in the U.S. Women’s
Open and a spot in the 2016 Curtis Cup, could not be
sullied by a poor round.
“Today was hard,” a stoic Galdiano confirmed. “This
is something that I hope to learn from. I did see how
well I can play and for long stretches. That said, I didn’t
carry it on and play all the way through. That’s the
Galdiano will report to Westwood and begin her
collegiate golf career at UCLA later this month.
When Li woke up this morning, she didn’t see this
“At six shots back, I honestly thought there was
absolutely no chance that I could get back into this,”
said the 13-year-old Li, who at the age of 11 made
history by qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open.
“(Mariel) was playing so well, I just couldn’t see it. Then
in the 13th hole I looked at the leaderboard and I was
at the top.”
Although Li’s scorecard told a different story, her 2-
under 69 was the low round of the day in the Girls’
Division, she was not overly impressed with her own
“I didn’t think I played all that good, but it was
really windy today, and that made it tough. I am used
to playing the in the wind, so that might have been an
advantage for me.”
With her win, Li gained three new Junior Ryder Cup
teammates: Alyaa Abdulghany of Newport Beach,
California, Xiong and Welch.
“I love this Championship, but I also knew I wanted
to earn a spot in the Junior Ryder Cup,” said Li. “I am
so excited. Team golf will be new for me, especially in a
Xiong’s sentiments were similar.
“My biggest goal, which I set in the beginning of
the year, was to earn a spot in the Junior Ryder Cup.
I’m glad I achieved it, especially this way. Not making
our Captain have to choose me. Hopefully, that makes
things easier and helps us win.”
View results for Junior PGA Championship