Wuesthoff Knocks Off Park

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FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Sukjin-Lee Wuesthoff used a birdie at the 17th on Saturday to take the lead late in the final of the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship and held on for the 1-up victory over last year's champion In-Bee Park.
 
'There were more people watching and more cameras than before,' said the 16- year-old Wuesthoff, who earned a golf medal for the win and possession of the Glenna Collett Vare Trophy until the 2004 championship. 'My hands shake when I get nervous and the front nine I was all nervous. But I said, 'keep staying the course.''
 
Park was in control early at Brooklawn Country Club and took a 5-up lead with a birdie at the par-5 eighth. Park held the comfortable advantage until Wuesthoff started to battled back on the inward half.
 
Wuesthoff was 4-down after a birdie at the ninth and picked up a birdie at the 11th for another win.
 
Both players parred the next two holes before Park bogeyed the par-4 13th. Wuesthoff was now 2-down and further problems for Park would eventually square the match.
 
Park bogeyed the 14th and the 16th to fall back to even with Wuesthoff. Wuesthoff then ran home a crucial eight-foot birdie putt at the 17th to take her first lead of the match and parred the 18th for a halve to complete the greatest comeback in the history of the Girls' Junior Championship.
 
'I don't think I would have made it without him,' Wuesthoff, who was born in Korea and hails from Toms River New Jersey, said of caddie Gregor Steger, who helped her read the putt on 17.
 
Wuesthoff earned an exemption from qualifying for next year's event and the next two U.S. Women's Amateurs. Wuesthoff is also exempt from local qualifying for the next five U.S. Women's Opens, so long as she remains an amateur.
 
Park was trying to become only the third girl junior to defend her title.
 
'I think In-Bee lost it,' said Park's coach and interpreter Charlie Yoo. 'I've never seen her play that way. She was never down all week except on the 17th hole. She played great. I don't know what happened.'
 
The U.S. Girls' Junior Championship is one of 13 championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs. The U.S. Girls' Junior is open to female amateur golfers who have not reached their 18th birthday prior to the end of the championship and have a USGA Handicap Index of 18.4 or better.