Dai repeats at Georgia Girls'
-- photo GSGA
-- photo GSGA

BUFORD, Ga (June 20, 2012) -- Rachel Dai of Milton carded a steady, even-par 36 on the final nine holes, breaking a 45-hole deadlock with Jordan Daniel of Newnan to win her second-straight Georgia Girls’ Championship at even-par 216. The 33rd annual competition took place at Legacy on Lanier Golf Club, June 18-20. Daniel, who also won the first flight, and Haley Austin of McDonough finished tied for runner-up honors at 7-over 223.

Ji Eun Baik of Newnan placed fourth overall at 225. The 2010 champion, Jessica Haigwood of Roswell, finished fifth at 226. First flight competitor Janet Jianing Mao of Johns Creek was sixth at 227. Kayla Jones of Alpharetta, who played in the final pairing with Dai and Daniel, finished alone in seventh at 228. Sloan Shanahan of Suwanee, Paula Hong of Duluth and Eunice Yi of Evans all tied for eighth at 231. Dai, Austin, Mao and Shanahan all placed in the overall top 10 for the second straight year.

Dai and Daniel, both 15, began the final round knotted at 1-under 143 for 36 holes. They remained deadlocked through the front nine at 1-over 37. Daniel posted just one bogey on the front (No. 4), while Dai carded two birdies, one bogey and a double. Daniel briefly claimed the lead with a birdie on the par-5, 489-yard 11th hole, but then ran into trouble, going 8-over-par on the last seven holes. Dai, meanwhile, posted bogeys of her own on holes 13 and 14, but put the exclamation point on her title defense by finishing birdie-birdie and even-par for the Championship.

Austin, who tied for ninth overall a year ago, began the final round seven strokes back of the leaders, but posted a steady 73 on Wednesday (three birdies, four bogeys) to move up the leaderboard into second place with Daniel.

Dai also captured the Georgia High School Association’s Class AAAAA individual and team championship for Milton High School last month, and last fall was the medalist and led Georgia to the 2011 USGA Women’s State Team Championship.

The top four finishers – Dai, Austin, Daniel and Baik – have been invited to represent Georgia in the sixth annual Georgia-South Carolina Girls’ Junior Challenge Match, a match-play team competition between the two states. This year’s event takes place August 4-5 at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Evans.

A total of 57 players (those with a handicap index of 14.4 or lower) competed in the Championship Division for the overall title and were divided into five flights. The Championship flights played the course at 5,850 yards and a par 72.

Hannah Mae Deems of Taylorsville won her flight for the second year in a row, this year in the second flight at 233 (78-75-80). In the third flight, Alissa Yang of Norcross won with a 246 (82-81-83). The fourth flight went to Madeline Harr of Gainesville at 256 (85-86-85).

The Tournament Division (for those with handicap indexes between 14.5-24.4) played two nine-hole rounds on the first two days of the event. Kate Owens of Suwanee shot 51-46 to earn medalist honors.

ABOUT THE Georgia Junior Girls

Open to female amateur golfers between the ages of 9 and 18; entrants must be at least 9 years old on or before the first day of the competition and must not have reached their 19th birthday before the last day of the competition; entrants must have a GSGA handicap index.

Format: 54 holes of individual flighted stroke play; players must walk and carry their own clubs.

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