DUPONT, Wash. (AP) — Fumie (Alice) Jo never trailed in her 3-and-2 victory over Eun Jeong Seong to win the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship on Saturday.
The 15-year-old Jo is the first USGA champion from China.
She is the second-youngest champion in WAPL history, following 13-year-old Michelle Wie in 2003. She is also the final winner in the 38-year history of the Women’s Amateur Public Links.
“In China, I think everyone will be talking about (my victory),” said Jo, a ninth-grader in Shanghai who was playing in her first USGA championship. “I’m just really happy.”
Seong, 14, of Korea, also set a couple of records. She set 18- and 36-hole scoring records during Monday and Tuesday’s stroke-play rounds on her way to earning medalist honors.
“My stroke-play (performance) was exceptional and I played really well,” Seong said. “I could not play that well all the time. There were some ups and downs.”
The Jo-Seong match was also the first all-international final in championship history.
Jo clinched the victory on the 16th green, the 34th hole of the final match. Seong’s second shot flew over the back of the green, while Jo’s ball sat in the front fringe. Seong’s chip flew high and rolled 30 feet past the hole.
Jo sent her putt to 6 feet, and when Seong’s par attempt slid over the right edge of the hole, she conceded the hole and the match.
Despite taking the loss after dominating stroke play, Seong was able to take some lessons from the week.
“I learned from watching other players play, especially putting and short game,” Seong said. “That will help a lot for next week (at the U.S. Girls’ Junior).”
With the win, Jo receives a gold medal and custody of the Robert F. Dwyer Trophy for one year. She also receives exemptions into the next two U.S. Women’s Amateur Championships and the next two U.S. Girls’ Junior Championships.
Since the U.S. Girls’ Junior begins in two days, Jo has declined that exemption due to the quick turnaround.
However, she is expected to be in the field at the U.S. Women’s Amateur, to be held August 4-10 at Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove, N.Y.
Seong receives also an exemption into the U.S. Women’s Amateur and the U.S. Girls’ Junior. She had already qualified for both championships.
This was the final competition of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship. Beginning in 2015, the USGA will conduct the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship, with the first being held May 9-13 at Bandon Dunes in Oregon.
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