Both medalists from Monday’s stroke-play qualifying round advanced to the Quarterfinals as the Round of 16 matches began at the 59th Pacific Northwest Junior Girls’ Amateur Championship held at Olympia Country & Golf Club in Olympia, Washington. It was a day that saw only one upset, as 7 of 8 lower seeded players advanced to the next round.
Stroke-play qualifying co-medalist and number 1 seed Naomi Ko of Victoria, B.C. jumped out to a 3-up lead after making birdie on two of her first four holes. She wouldn’t make another birdie on the day, but would make par on seven of her next ten holes; good enough for a 5 and 4 victory over Tessa George of Fircrest, Washington. Alisha Lau of Richmond, B.C., co-medalist and number 2 seed, had a back and forth match with Abby Pfiefer of Puyallup, Washington. Both players traded holes throughout the round, and although Lau never trailed, she was also unable to build more than a 1 up lead until after finishing the 15th hole. After squaring holes 16 and 17, Lau earned a hard fought 2 and 1 victory and a spot in the Quarterfinals.
Tomorrow’s upper bracket Quarterfinal matches will feature Ko against Michelle Kim of Surrey, B.C. and Brittany Kwon of Bremerton, Wash., against Maddie Nelson of Sammamish, Wash.
The bottom half of the bracket will see Lau facing off against Kenedee Peters of Olympia, Wash. and Ashley Fitzgibbons of Sammamish, Wash. against Marianne Li of Bellevue, Wash. Championship flight matches will begin at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, with the remaining flights to follow.
The championship is conducted by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA).
The rich history of the PNGA Junior Girls’ Amateur Championship has included 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 after storied amateur and professional careers. Other past champions include current LPGA Tour players Paige Mackenzie and Jimin Kang.
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. This is one of 16 regional championships conducted annually by the PNGA.