Medalist leads US Girls Junior Amateur

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USGAWEST HARTFORD, Conn. ' Stroke-play medalist Lisa McCloskey, 16, won two matches Friday to advance to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Girls Junior Championship.
 
After two days of heavy rain and thunderstorms that led to a complete washout of Thursdays play, the players finally got back on the course for the second and third rounds Friday on a warm and sunny day at Hartford Golf Club.
 
In her third-round match against 17-year-old Marina Alex, McCloskey fell behind early, dropping the third and fifth holes to birdies by Alex. She came back to square the match with pars at the seventh and eight holes and briefly took a lead when Alex bogeyed No. 10.
 
Alex, who earlier in the day ousted 2006 U.S. Womens Amateur champion Kimberly Kim, squared the match with a par on the 11th and made a 4-foot birdie putt at the par-5 16th hole to again take a 1-up lead. But McCloskey again squared the match when Alex couldnt get up and down from a greenside bunker on the 17th. Both bogeyed the par-4 18th ' McCloskey hit the lip of a fairway bunker and Alex three-putted ' so the match went to extra holes.
 
After trading bogeys on the first extra hole and pars on the next two, McCloskey, playing in her fourth Girls Junior, finally made a 6-footer for birdie on the 22nd hole to earn the victory.
 
To finally have a putt drop felt so good, I cant even tell you, said McCloskey, who had gone to the movies with Alex during Thursdays washout.
 
McCloskey, who shot a second-round 8-under 63 in stroke-play qualifying, said she felt good about her game.
 
Before the tournament in the practice rounds I was playing well and then in the two tournaments before this I had played well also, McCloskey said. And then after the 63, it was like, Whoa, I can actually do this.
 
McCloskeys quarterfinal opponent will be Kristina Wong, who advanced with a 1-up win over Mary Michael Maggio.
 
Kristen Parks hopes for a second consecutive Girls Junior title were dashed when she fell to 16-year-old Stephanie Kim 2 and 1, in the third round.
 
I thought I played pretty good, said Park. My putts werent just dropping and she played better.
 
Kims quarterfinal opponent will be Alexis Thompson, a 13-year-old, who advanced with a 4-and-3 win over 14-year-old Victoria Tanco of Argentina.
 
Its pretty awesome when you think about it, said Thompson. Im just going to go out there and play like I did today and hopefully a lot more putts will go in.
 
One past Girls Junior champion did advance, as 2006 winner Jenny Shin earned a 3-and-1 victory over 2007 Girls Junior quarterfinalist Sarah Brown.
 
Shins quarterfinal opponent will be Lindy Duncan, who earned a 3-and-1 win over Madison Pressel. Shin, who earned a third-round 1-up victory over Duncan on her way to the title in 2006, said she was starting to feel a familiar vibe.
 
Im with Lindy Duncan again, just like two years ago, said Shin, who missed the cut at the U.S. Womens Open by one stroke last month. Im really excited to be playing with her tomorrow and really looking forward to it.
 
Saturdays other quarterfinal match will feature 13-year-old Karen Chung against Courtney Gunter. Chung, the youngest of the quarterfinalists, advanced with a 19-hole victory over 17-year-old Stacey Kim who was playing in her fourth Girls Junior.
 
Gunter, playing in her first Girls Junior, earned a 3-and-2 win over 14-year-old Mariah Stackhouse for her spot in the quarterfinals. .
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Girls' Junior Amateur