Village of Pinehurst, N.C. – Doris Chen came to the 2010 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at The Country Club of North Carolina with a single goal – to take home the trophy. After earning a 3-and-2 victory over Katelyn Dambaugh of Goose Creek, S.C., in the scheduled 36-hole championship final Saturday at the 6,331-yard Dogwood Course at CCNC, it was mission accomplished.
The 17-year-old Chen of Bradenton, Fla., who lost in the semifinals a year ago, knew she had the game to claim the championship. But it took a change in her mindset to finally lift her to the top.
“This afternoon I really played in a different way than before,” said Chen, who usually has a stoic demeanor on the course. “In the first round I was very serious. In the second round I was very relaxed.”
In the morning 18, Chen made a 45-foot birdie putt on the par-3 seventh for a 2-up lead. But Dambaugh cut into the lead
Katelyn Dambaugh reacts to her missed birdie on the eighth --- b_10GJ__J5F8974Dambaugh
Katelyn Dambaugh's putter let her down a little in the championship match. (John Mummert/USGA)
with a birdie on No. 10 and squared the match with a par on No. 13. Two holes later, Dambaugh took her first lead of the match when Chen had trouble getting out of a fairway bunker.
After the lunch break, Dambaugh increased her lead to 2 up with a par on the 19th hole. But her lead evaporated in the searing heat when she lost holes 24 and 25.
“I was feeling great,” said the 15-year-old Dambaugh. “I don’t know what happened. I hit a couple of bad shots, and for some reason, started getting down on myself. I started getting really tired.”
Exhaustion was understandable for both players, with temperatures nearing 100 and a heat index well above that. During the break between rounds, Chen took her mother’s umbrella, hoping to find some relief from the sun.
Using a steady short game, Chen started to chip away at Dambaugh’s lead. She made an 8-footer for birdie on the 23rd hole and squared the match when Dambaugh found trouble off the tee a hole later. But Dambaugh wasn’t done. She again took the lead on No. 28 when she stuck her approach shot from the rough to 4 feet and made her birdie putt, her second of the match on that hole. But it would be her last lead of the day.
Bogeys by Dambaugh on the next two holes allowed Chen to turn a 1-down deficit to a 1-up advantage. But Chen was careful not to get ahead of herself.
“I didn't think of that in the afternoon,” said Chen. “Even in the afternoon when I got back, 1 up, 2 up, I didn't feel like I was winning. I was just hitting my golf shots. I didn't really think about, ‘Oh, maybe I can win this.’ ”
Whether she thought it or not, victory was about to be hers. Chen made a 10-footer for birdie to win No. 32 and won the next hole on another bogey by Dambaugh. Chen made a 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole to put an exclamation point on the victory.
But Dambaugh, who was playing in her first USGA championship, did not leave disappointed.
“It’s amazing,” she said of her experience at CCNC. “I never even thought about getting this far. I’m so pleased with how I played. I’m just so blessed to even be here.”
The 2010 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 written by Beth Murrison, USGA Manager of Championship Communications. For questions or comments, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Village of Pinehurst, N.C. – Results following Saturday’s championship final at the 2010 U.S. Girls’ Junior at the 6,331-yard, par-72 Country Club of North Carolina:
Doris Chen, Bradenton, Fla. (156) def. Katelyn Dambaugh, Goose Creek, S.C. (151), 3 and 2
View results for U.S. Girls' Junior Golf Championship