Hye-Jin Choi, of the Republic of Korea, and Sadie Englemann, of Austin, Texas, shared medalist honors on Tuesday with 36-hole scores of 5-under-par 141 after two rounds of stroke play at the 68th U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship on The Ridgewood Country Club’s 6,406-yard, par-73 composite course.
The 2016 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship consists of 36 holes of stroke play, followed by six rounds of match play, which begin Wednesday and conclude with Saturday’s 36-hole championship. The Girls’ Junior is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Both players pushed past defending champion Eun Jeong Seong, 16, of the Republic of Korea, who held the first-day lead with a 6-under 67, but posted a 3-over 76 Tuesday to trail the medalists by two strokes. Jayna Choi, 15, of Collierville, Tenn., who was a semifinalist in the 2015 championship, joined Seong at 3-under 143.
The 16-year-old Choi, low amateur in the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open, posted a 2-under 71, and Englemann, a ninth-grader at Austin’s West Lake High School, shot a 1-under 72 to lead the stroke-play scoring. Both played in the morning wave and saw their position improve as Seong, playing in the afternoon, posted four bogeys on her inward nine.
“I had a lot of birdie chances but it was so windy today that I felt I had to play safe,” said Choi, who is No. 15 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™ (WAGR) through an interpreter. “When I was playing safer, I wasn’t as close. Match play is ahead of us but I played great overall. I can’t pinpoint what I did best.”