Erin, Wis. (June 20, 2008) -– Former champion Tiffany Joh, 21, of San Diego, Calif., will face 18-year-old Jennifer Song in the 36-hole final match of the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship at the 6,158-yard, par-73 Erin Hills Golf Course.
Joh, a rising senior at UCLA who won this title in 2006, is seeking to become the fifth multiple WAPL champion, following Kelly Fuiks (1977-78), Lori Castillo (1979-80), Pearl Sinn (1988-89) and Jo Jo Robertson (1995, ’97). Song, the co-low amateur at the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open, has advanced to her first USGA match-play final.
In the first semifinal match Friday afternoon, Joh raced out to a big lead against a future UCLA Bruin, Tiffany Lua, 17, of Rowland Heights, Calif., making birdies on six of her first seven holes to take a commanding 6-up lead. She cruised home from there with a 4-anhd-3 win.
Joh had a much closer match in Friday’s quarterfinal, defeating Lee Lopez, of Whittier, Calif., 2 and 1. With the match all-square through 13, Joh eagled the par-5 14th for a 1-up lead, an advantage she would not relinquish. She then birdied 16 and halved 17 for the narrow win.
“Honestly, I don’t even know what happened,” said Joh of her hot start in the afternoon. “I wasn’t going out there trying to make six birdies. It just happened and I kind of stayed out my own way.”
Said an upbeat Lua, who will attend UCLA in the fall of 2009: “[Joh] has won this tournament before so she is good with match play. At least I didn’t lose 10 and 8. I didn’t give up so I tried the best I could. That’s all I could do.”
Song had a tougher time advancing to the final. In a back-and-forth match, the incoming University of Southern California freshman took a 1-up lead at 17 with a par and then had her birdie putt at 18 conceded by 18-year-old Stephanie Kono of Honolulu, Hawaii, in a 2-up decision. Kono will be a freshman this fall at UCLA. Trailing by one hole at the 18th, Kono hit her approach shot over the green, thus losing any opportunity for birdie to force extra holes.
“I didn’t play aggressively,” said Song, who will compete in next week’s U.S. Women’s Open at Interlachen Country Club outside of Minneapolis. “I just said, ‘Make pars and then if I have a chance or [if Kono made a mistake] just try to make birdie and play it safely.’ ”
In the 2006 WAPL final against Kimberly Kim, Joh played the equivalent of 11-under-par golf over 31 holes at Walking Stick Golf Course in Pueblo, Colo., but lost in the third round last year at Kearney Hill Golf Links in her title defense. The experience was a humbling one for Joh.
“[Previously winning] doesn’t do anything confidence wise,” said Joh, who played a practice round this week with Song. “Every match is a different match. Jennifer Song is a good player.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Song is very confident going into the final.
“This may sound arrogant, but if I am not going to win, I don’t participate in any tournaments,” Song said. “That is always my attitude.”
No matter the outcome, Joh wants to keep it light and have fun with her future friend and rival.
“Even if I don’t play my best golf tomorrow and don’t win, I mean I am pretty much used to losing to Trojans these days,” said Joh, whose UCLA squad finished second to USC by six strokes at the NCAA Division I Women’s Championship last month. “But [our teams] get along and go out for Korean barbeque at least once a week.”
The championship match is scheduled to begin a 8 a.m. CDT, with the second 18 set to go at 12:30 p.m.
The Women’s Amateur Public Links is one of 13 national championships conducted by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Story written by Kent Zakour, USGA Media Relations summer intern. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments.
Erin, Wis. – Results from the quarterfinall and semifinal matches Friday at the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship, being held at the 6,158-yard, par-73 Erin Hills Golf Course.
Quarterfinals - Upper Bracket
Stephanie Kono, Honolulu, Hawaii (149) def. Michelle Shin, Cape Coral, Fla. (156), 5 and 4
Jennifer Song, Korea (153) def. Lauren Doughtie, Suffolk, Va. (147), 4 and 3
Tiffany Lua, Rowland Heights, Calif. (151) def. Stacey Kim, Columbus, Ga. (150), 3 and 2
Tiffany Joh, San Diego, Calif. (153) def.. Lee Lopez, Whittier, Calif. (155), 2 and 1
Song def. Kono, 2 up
Joh def. Lua, 4 and 3
Erin, Wis. – Starting times and pairing for Saturday’s 36-hole championship match of the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship at Erin Hills Golf Course. (All times CDT)
8 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.: Jennifer Song, Korea (153) vs. Tiffany Joh, San Diego, Calif. (153)