As formats switched from stroke play to match play Wednesday at both the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship and U.S. Girls' Junior Amateur Championship, medalists Jim Liu and Bailey Tardy survived upset bids despite stern challenges from their opening-round opponents.
Liu, who won the U.S. Junior Amateur in 2010 and was also medalist a year ago at age 16, squared off with fellow New Yorker Matthew Lowe in a competitive match where neither player held more than a 1-up lead at any point. Lowe won the 18th hole at Martis Camp Club in Truckee, Calif., to extend the match, but Liu prevailed with a birdie on the first extra hole to advance to the round of 32.
Tardy faced more of an uphill battle to claim her opening match at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Ind., as the 16-year-old from Norcross, Ga., found herself in a 2-down deficit against Abbey Carlson with just four holes to play Wednesday. Tardy, who earned medalist honors with a 6-under 138 stroke-play total, birdied the 15th hole to close the gap, then rallied to win the match, 1 up, winning both the 17th and 18th holes with pars.
Along with 31 other competitors at their respective sites, Liu and Tardy now face the prospect of a long day Thursday; with second-round matches scheduled for the morning and third-round matches slated in the afternoon, the field at each event will be pared from 32 to eight by Thursday evening.