On the third day of competition in the U.S. Junior Amateur and Girls’ Junior tournaments, running from July 22 to 27, six Northern California players – four boys and two girls – advanced to the next round of match play.
In the Junior Amateur Championship at Martis Camp, in Truckee, California, four NorCal junior boys won their first-round matches to advance to the round of 32.
Down by one or two holes for most of the back nine, Corey Eddings of Roseville eked out a win over Will Bernstein, of New York City. Eddings won the last hole of regulation play with a birdie to Bernstein’s par to force the match into extra holes, then, capitalizing on the momentum he built on the 18th hole, parred the first playoff hole, taking the win when Bernstein made double-bogey.
San Francisco’s Daniel Connolly got off to a 1-up lead on the first hole of his match against Jacob Joiner, of Albany, Georgia. Joiner then won the next hole to square the match, which is how it stayed for most of the front nine. Briefly one-up after a birdie on the par-5 seventh hole, Joiner dropped back with a bogey on the par-3 eight hole, but went up one hole again on the ninth hole and stayed one ahead of Connolly until the thirteenth hole. Connolly squared the match with a par to Joiner’s double-bogey, then held steady with pars while his opponent dropped shots at the fourteenth and sixteenth holes, closing out the match at the seventeenth hole at two and one.
Maverick McNealy, a Stanford-bound rising freshman from Portola Valley, led his match against Cole Berman, of Rosemont, Pennsylvania, for seventeen holes before taking the win two and one. Berman threatened to turn the tide more than once, winning three holes late in the match, but never gained enough traction to take the lead over the former Harker School (San Jose) golf standout.
Justin Suh, of San Jose, a rising junior at Evergreen Valley High School, took similar command of his match against Benjamin Griffin, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, winning the first five holes of the match. Griffin pushed back with wins at the seventh and eleventh holes, but couldn’t come back against Suh, who closed out the match six and five at the fourteenth hole.
Matches in the round of 32 begin Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m. Daniel Connolly will be the first of the NorCal players to see action, matching up against Trevor Phillips of Inman, South Carolina, at 8:33 a.m. Corey Eddings tees off against Canadian Jooho Lee at 9:00 a.m., and Maverick McNealy faces off against Scottie Scheffler, of Dallas, Texas, who finished in third place in the stroke play portion of the tournament, at 9:18 a.m.; Justin Suh tees off against Corey Shaun, of Encinitas, immediately following, at 9:27 a.m.
While the boys battled it out amidst the pine trees of the Tahoe Basin, the Under-18 girls were teeing off in their round-of-64 matches in the Midwestern heartland setting of the Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Indiana. While two Northern California girls, Kathleen Scavo, of Benicia, and Casie Cathrea, of Livermore, won through to the round of 32, the third, Kelsey Uep, of Rocklin, had a rough morning, falling six and five to Pauline Del Rosario of the Phillippines.
Benicia’s Kathleen Scavo, a rising junior at Justin Siena High School in Napa, went nineteen holes against Lauren Gros, of Windermere, Florida before taking the win. Scavo led through the fifteenth hole, when the Florida girl bore down and won the sixteenth and seventeenth holes with pars to square the match. Both girls bogeyed the eighteenth hole, then Scavo, who earned a second alternate spot to the 2013 U. S Women’s Open in the qualifying tournament at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City last May, won the first playoff hole with a par to take the match.
Casie Cathrea, who took Low Amateur honors at the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open last month, had a seesaw match against Lyberty Anderson, of Chesterfield, Virginia, in the first round of match play. The match was all square for the first two holes before Cathrea went one up with a birdie at the par-4 third hole, then 2-up with another birdie at the par-4 sixth. Anderson pulled back by a hole with a par to Cathrea’s double-bogey at the par-3 seventh, then squared the match with a par at the eighth hole – at 409 yards the longest par-4 on the course. Future OSU Cowgirl Cathrea regained the lead at the long par-3 eleventh hole with a bogey to Anderson’s double, only to relinquish the lead at the fourteenth hole with a bogey, then fall behind for the first time in the match on the fifteenth, a 470-yard par-5.
The turn in the momentum of the match fired up the Livermore teen’s strong competitive instincts. When her opponent missed a 2-foot par putt at the sixteenth hole to bring the match back to all square, that was just the opening Cathrea needed. Winning the seventeenth hole, a middling par-4, with a birdie, Cathrea hit an 8-iron stiff at the eighteenth, rolling in the eight-foot birdie putt to clinch the win.
Cathrea is familiar with the Sycamore Hills layout from the 2012 Junior PGA Championship, where she finished T-6, and she has been using her length through the green to good advantage, hitting all the par-5s in two except the 567-yard fifth – the longest hole on the course. A rare stumble to a 9-over 81 in the second round of stroke play caused some concern, but the late momentum she achieved in her first match play round may be just what she needs to carry her onward.
Matches in the round of 32 go off Thursday at 7:30 a.m. EDT. Kathleen Scavo faces Elizabeth Wang, of San Marino, California at 9:00 a.m., while Casie Cathrea tees off against Jennifer Kupcho, of Westminster, Colorado, at 9:27 a.m.
Thursday will be a long day for the players at both locations – 36 holes of golf await the players who advance to the round of 16.