Top junior girl golfers tee it up today at Lake Merced 

click to enlarge Lydia Ko of New Zealand is the headliner of the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship. - GETTY IMAGE FILE PHOTO
  • Getty Image File Photo
  • Lydia Ko of New Zealand is the headliner of the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship.

While The City hosted the U.S. Open just last month, another national-level golf event comes to the area this week.
Lake Merced Golf Club will host the aspiring stars of tomorrow with the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, which tees off today and wraps up Saturday.

The headliner at the tournament will be world No. 1-ranked Lydia Ko, who was born in South Korea but grew up in New Zealand.

Ko, 15, was one of three amateurs to make the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open in Kohler, Wis.

Ranked No. 1 for more than a year now, she has held on to her spot by winning the Australian Amateur and Women’s New South Wales Open, and becoming the youngest winner of a professional event at 14 years and 9 months old.

She said she has since felt the weight of increased expectations.

“People back at home think I should shoot under par and play good all the time,” she said. “I think because of that reason, there’s been more pressure since I’ve been world No. 1.”

Ko said she’s played Lake Merced a couple of times already, and that there was one challenge that stood out already.

“The length out here is 6,300 yards,” she said. “[If it were] a junior event in New Zealand, it wouldn’t be playing that long.

“Like all courses, there is trouble somewhere and I can definitely see it here. A bit of undulation, so I just need to control and get my distance and cope with the greens.”

She said playing a 7,000-yard course in the Women’s U.S. Open prior to making the trip west helped her gain confidence in playing such a long course, however.

Last year’s champion, Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand, will work to defend her title.

The first two rounds of the tournament will be stroke play, after which the field will be trimmed to 64 and the format will switch to match play for the final six rounds.

U.S. Girls’ Junior

  • WHEN: Today-Saturday
  • WHERE: Lake Merced Golf Club, Daly City
  • COURSE: 6,291 yards, par 72
  • WHO: Open to the female amateur golfers under the age of 18
  • INFO:
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