[ GOLF ]
Park faces Hilo’s Kim
after ousting Kono
EAGLE, Idaho » In-Bee Park, one of the nation's top amateur players, will try to oust her second Hawaii player in as many days today at the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship at BanBury Golf Club.
Park knocked out Stephanie Kono of Honolulu in the second round of match play yesterday afternoon.
Today, she faces Kimberly Kim of Hilo.
Kim reached match play for the first time this year. Park is the 2002 champ and a three-time medalist.
"If Kimberly plays well, she can do it, she can beat In-Bee," Kono said. "But it's going to be a tough match."
The Park-Kono match looked like one of the best matches of the second round, and it played out that way for nine holes. Both players were 2-under-par through eight holes, and the match was all square.
"We played really great on the front nine," Park said.
The match turned on the difficult par-4 ninth, where Kono knocked her second shot into the water to fall 1-down.
She dug an even deeper hole on No. 10. Her tee shot led to an unplayable lie, and her third shot found the water.
Kono could have rallied, but she missed makable putts that would have won holes on Nos. 11, 13 and 14.
Her par putt on No. 14 from about 2 1/2 feet missed the hole entirely.
Park put away the match with a gimme birdie on No. 15 and a nice chip to set up par on No. 16.
Kono, who won the Westfield Junior PGA on Saturday, missed an 8-foot birdie putt on 16 to extend the match.
"I just couldn't make the putts at the end," Kono said.
Kono earlier had beaten Henna Cho of Cerritos, Calif., 6 and 5 in the first round.
Kim advanced to the second round by knocking off a fellow Hawaii player in dominant fashion. She posted a 7-and-6 victory over Mari Chun of Pearl City.
Kim was credited with six birdies in 12 holes, and she said only one was a concession.
"My putting was pretty good," she said.
It was a quiet match for the two friendly foes, she said.
"It was kind of weird," Kim said. "We didn't talk much because it was match play."
Kim caught a break in round two. Annie Brophy, who survived a 14-girls-for-three-spots playoff Tuesday evening to reach match play, upset third-seeded Esther Choe 4 and 2 in the morning.
Kim built a 3-up lead on Brophy through nine holes mostly by making pars. They even halved the ninth with a pair of double bogeys.
The lead dipped to 2-up with four to play, but Brophy hit her drive into the water on No. 15 and her tee shot into the water on the par-3 16th to give Kim a 4-and-2 win.
It was just the third match-play match of Kim's career, and her second win.
"We both didn't play well," she said. "... We were winning with mostly pars."
Overall, the top three seeded players lost in the first two rounds, but the top name moved on.
Morgan Pressel, the U.S. Women's Open runner-up, won a pair of matches easily. The dream matchup for many is her against Park in the final.
"Yeah, I did pay attention," Pressel said of the falling top seeds. "I guess that happens in match play. I could get beat, too."
BACK TO TOP
Hilo's Low loses in Jr. Amateur match play
LONGMEADOW, Mass. » Jacob Low of Hilo lost to defending champion Sihwan Kim yesterday during the first round of match play at the U.S. Junior Amateur.
The fourth-seeded Kim needed 19 holes to beat Low, who survived a 15-golfer playoff to earn one of the final nine spots in the match-play field.
Kim, of Fullerton, Calif., made par on the first playoff hole to beat Low. The match ended when Low missed a 3-foot par putt on the first extra hole.
Arnold Palmer's 17-year-old grandson, Sam Saunders, also won his opening match, beating Benjamin Blundell 6 and 5. Saunders will face Kevin Tway, the son of PGA Tour player Bob Tway, in today's second round at Longmeadow Country Club.
The top nine seeded players advanced. Maki Kobayashi, of Newington, Conn., beat No. 10 Kyle Stough of Laurel, Md., 1-up.
The second and third rounds will be played today. The quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled for tomorrow, with the 36-hole final Saturday.