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Past champ Liu co-medals at U.S. Junior

Jim Liu
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VIRGINIA WATER, ENGLAND - MAY 20: Oliver Wilson of England receives his ball during the first round of the BMW PGA Championship on the West Course at Wentworth on May 20, 2010 in Virginia Water, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)  - 

Sixteen-year-old Jim Liu has moved another step closer to matching Tiger Woods -- again. 

The 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur champion has positioned himself to make a run at another title, finishing Tuesday as one of three stroke-play medalists in this year's championship at The Golf Club of New England in Stratham, N.H. 

The top-seeded Liu, who shot rounds of 70-71 to tie Nicolas Echavarria and Shintaro Ban for medalist honors, will face Nicholas Crozier in Wednesday’s Round of 64.

'All the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall together,' Liu told a USGA official. 

Beau Hossler, the 17-year-old who briefly held the lead at this year's U.S. Open, finished T-18 in stroke-play qualifying and drew Sam Smothers in the first round of match play. Fourteen-year-old Andy Zhang, the youngest player ever to qualify for the U.S. Open, is scheduled to play Sam Horsfield. Local product Chelso Barrett, last year’s U.S. Junior runner-up, missed the cut.

In 2010, Liu supplanted Woods as the youngest U.S. Junior champion in history when, as a 14-year-old, he defeated Justin Thomas at Egypt Valley. Unlike this year, however, Liu had begun the match-play portion as the 27th seed.

'I manage my game better (now),' Liu said. 'I went through a couple of swing changes this fall, trying to tighten my swing, and it's not as long and lazy as it was when I won.'  

A victory this week would put Liu in exclusive company. Only two players have won multiple U.S. Junior titles: Woods, in 1991-93, and Texas sophomore Jordan Spieth, who accomplished the feat in 2009 and 2011. 

Liu, of Smithtown, N.Y., gave a verbal commitment to Stanford earlier this year. He would begin school in fall 2013.