U.S. Girls' Junior: Eight players remain

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (July 25, 2008)--Stroke-play medalist Lisa McCloskey, 16, of Montgomery, Texas, cruised to victory Friday to lead the second-round winners at the 2008 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, played at the 6,265-yard, par-71 Hartford Golf Club.

After two days of heavy rain and thunderstorms that led to a complete washout of Thursday’s play, the 32 remaining players finally got back on the course for the second round. After not playing Thursday, several players said it took a while to get back into a groove Friday morning.

McCloskey bogeyed the first hole in her match against Dorothy Schwartz, 16, of San Jose, Calif., but went on to play even-par golf, with the usual match-play concessions, en route to a 5 & 4 victory. McCloskey won three consecutive holes, starting at the par-3 11th, to take control against Schwartz.

“The first couple of holes were kind of so-so,” said McCloskey, who advanced past the second round for the first time in four Girls’ Junior appearances. “I didn’t feel like it was amazing match, but a win is a win.”

McCloskey’s third-round opponent will be 17-year-old Marina Alex of Wayne, N.J., who earned a 2-and-1 victory over 2006 U.S. Women’s Amateur Kimberly Kim, 16, of Pahoa, Hawaii.

Alex took advantage of several mistakes from Kim, who bogeyed three of her first four holes, and held a 3-up lead after a birdie on the par-3 11th hole.

“Kim made a couple of mistakes early on,” said Alex, a two-time New Jersey high school champion who is playing in her third Girls’ Junior. “I made a few pars and she made a few bogeys, which gave me a little bit of a lead.”

Kim cut the deficit to 1 down with a par on the No. 13 and a birdie at the 14th. After trading pars on the next two holes, Kim’s double bogey on No. 17 gave Alex a 2-and-1 victory.

For Kim, it was another disappointing early exit at a USGA championship this year. She lost in the first round of the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links and missed the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open a week later.

“I need to try harder, I really do,” said Kim, who was trying to become the seventh golfer to win both the Women’s Amateur and Girls’ Junior titles. “I mean, I try my best, but I could work harder.”

Kristen Park, 15, of Buena Park, Calif., kept her hopes of a second consecutive Girls’ Junior title alive with a 1-up victory over Emilie Burger, 17, of Hoschton, Ga. Park built a 3-up lead and managed to hold on.

“I hit the ball good,” said Park, who is trying to become the first repeat champion since Hollis Stacy won three consecutive Girls’ Juniors from 1969-71. “I could have putted better but I played solid today.”

One other past champion, 2006 winner Jenny Shin, 15, of Torrance, Calif., also advanced, with a 2-up victory over Cyna Marie Rodriguez of the Philippines.

Among the other second-round winners were two-time U.S. Women’s Open competitor Alexis Thompson, 13, of Coral Springs, Fla., and Madison Pressel, 17, of Boca Raton, Fla., the sister of 2005 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Morgan Pressel.

The 2008 U.S. Girls’ Junior continues with the third round Friday afternoon. The quarterfinal and semifinal matches will be played Saturday and the championship concludes with Sunday’s 36-hole final.

The U.S. Girls’ Junior is one of 13 championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association each year, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

--Story courtesy USGA

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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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