12-Year-Olds to Face Each Other at Womens Am


USGACARMEL, Ind. -- In the first 106 years of the U.S. Women's Amateur golf championship, no preteen had reached match play.
Now there are two and they will face each other Thursday.
Alexis Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla., and Pearl Jin of San Gabriel, Calif., ousted older opponents Wednesday to set up their second-round showdown at the Crooked Stick Golf Club.
'I'm really excited. I heard that she's a good player,' said Jin, who turned 12 in June, four months after Thompson.
'It feels really good to be the youngest one. It's a little bit nervous,' she said. 'It's easy to get nervous out there. I just try to concentrate and be calm.'
Jin, who took up golf at age 8 -- after earning a black belt in tae kwon do -- beat 20-year-old Ashley Tait of Littleton, Colo., 2 and 1 in the first round; Thompson got by 17-year-old Evan Jensen of Belleair, Fla., 3 and 2.
'I was a little nervous when it all started, but I've gotten used to it,' Thompson said of her full schedule this summer. 'In these golf tournaments, I just go out there and play my game and don't worry about anything else and hope for the best.'
Among the first-round teenage winners was Kristina Wong, the co-medalist from Vestal, N.Y.
Drinking a bottle of water about every two holes because of the heat, Wong beat Kaitlin Drolson 5 and 3 and easily advanced to the second round against Vicky Hurst of Melbourne, Fla.
'I'm getting used to it a little bit now,' said the sweat-covered Wong, a 16-year-old high school junior playing in the women's amateur for the fourth time. 'Still, I was just trying to find some shade. I feel good right now, but I know I have a long road ahead of me.'
A 20-foot birdie putt on the par-3 second hole put Wong ahead, and Drolson, of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., never caught up.
'I hit a good drive and had a nice 7-iron to the green,' Wong said. 'I just wanted to get to the front part of the green and not be too aggressive. ... I just wanted to play my own game, stay steady. I wasn't really expecting anything.'
Wong tied NCAA champion Stacy Lewis of Arkansas after two days of medal play earlier in the week cut the field to 64. No medalist has won the women's amateur since Meredith Duncan in 2001, and Lewis lost her first-round match to Margaret Shirley of Roswell, Ga., 2 and 1.
Among other matches, Andrea Messer of Largo, Fla., outlasted Lauren Hunt of Little River, S.C., in 27 holes, tying the longest match in tournament history.
Hurst beat Lisa McCloskey of Montgomery, Texas, 5 and 4; defending champion Kimberly Kim of Hilo, who became the tournament's youngest winner last year at 14, beat fellow Hawaiian Ayaka Kaneko of Honolulu 1-up; Mina Harigae of Monterey, Calif., beat Kristie Smith of Australia 3 and 2; and Rebecca Kim of Tigard, Ore., defeated Taylore Karle of Scottsdale, Ariz., 2 and 1.
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