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Ferreira Victorious at 57th PNGA Junior Girls’ Amateur Championship

Sequim, Wash. (August 16, 2012) – Jordan Ferreira of University Place, Wash. defeated Marianne Li of Bellevue, Wash. 2 and 1 in the final match to take home the trophy as Champion of the 57th Pacific Northwest Junior Girls’ Amateur Championship, held this week at Sunland Golf and Country Club.

Ferreira, the championship’s Co-Medalist and No. 1 seed, fell behind early in the match. On the first hole, a par-5, the two long hitters were both on in two. Ferreira, putting first, cozied her 60-foot eagle try to tap-in range for her birdie, but Li then dropped her 55-foot putt for an eagle three to win the hole. “That kind of stunned me a little,” said Ferreira afterward. “I didn’t expect it, but that’s match play. I guess you have to expect everything. It upset me and really made me focus.”

Ferreira had a 1-up lead standing on the ninth tee, when she hit a 3-metal off the tee into the pond on the right side of the fairway. “I wouldn’t play the hole any differently,” she said afterward. “I hit 3-metal all week on that hole. I just pushed it.” Li would win the hole with a par, and the two made the turn all square.

But Ferreira would win holes 10 and 11 with pars, and this led to the turning point of the match. On the par-5 12th hole, Ferreira, having built a 2-up lead, hit 3-metal off the tee and an iron for her second shot, while Li bombed her driver dead center and followed it up with a 3-metal second shot that left her hole-high in the rough next to the green. Ferreira hit her 110-yard third shot to the front of the green. Li, having played the hole aggressively, had her chance to seize the hole and the momentum, but her delicate chip trickled past the hole on the sloping green and she could only manage par. When the hole was halved, it would prove to be Li’s last real opportunity, as the two halved the remainder of holes until Ferreira closed out the match on the 17th green with a par.

The rich history of the PNGA Junior Girls’ Amateur Championship includes past champions Jo Ann Washam, Peggy Conley, Joan Edwards-Powell, Mary Budke and JoAnne Gunderson Carner, all of whom would later be inducted into the PNGA Hall of Fame for their storied amateur and professional careers. Other past champions include current LPGA Tour players Paige Mackenzie and Jimin Kang.

When asked how it feels to have her name on the trophy alongside all these great players, Ferreira said, “It feels pretty cool. I love this championship. I love match play. It’s such a fun event to play in. To have my name on the trophy means a lot. It’s my biggest win so far.” (Watch Ferreira’s interview here.)

Li, when asked if she played differently in today’s match than in her earlier matches, said, “Yes, I had to. She (Ferreira) was playing so aggressively on the dogleg par-4s that I needed to change my game plan. I had been just hitting irons off the tees on those holes earlier in the week, but I felt I needed to try to keep up with her.”

Yesterday, Ferreira had cruised through her Quarterfinal and Semifinal matches, defeating Lindsay Gullikson of Tacoma, Wash. 7&6 in the Quarters and Jamie Huo of Kent, Wash. 8&6 in the Semis.

Ferreira will be a senior at Bellarmine Prep, and has already verbally committed to attend University of Notre Dame after high school on a golf scholarship. Li, who will be a sophomore at Newport High School in Bellevue, Wash., had a college coach following her in the match today. “I’m just a sophomore,” she said, laughing. “I have a long way to go before I need to make a decision (on which college to attend).” The two players have played together before. Last week they were in Colorado for an AJGA event, where they were paired together in the final round. Ferreira has had five top-10 finishes in recent AJGA events, and was the 2011 Washington State Golf Association’s Junior Girls’ Player of the Year.

To be eligible for the Pacific Northwest Junior Girls’ Amateur Championship, contestants must not have reached their 18th birthday by the final day of the competition. The championship consists of 18 holes of stroke play qualifying to determine flights for the match play portion of the championship.