Facing a similar shot, Brittany Shin made sure to not let history repeat itself.
So Shin delivered the knockout blow with a 52-degree gap wedge from 97 yards that gave her a 5-footer for birdie on the first sudden-death playoff hole at the United States Girls’ Junior Amateur qualifier at Palm-Aire Country Club’s Champions Course on Monday.
Shin buried the subsequent birdie putt during a nine-for-four playoff to book a berth into the U.S. Girls’ Junior, which is slated for The Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J., on July 18-23.
“This time I said, ‘I don’t care, I’m going to hit it firm,’” Shin said. “So I hit it a little bit firm and it turned in.”
Shin, of Cape Coral, didn’t alter her strategy or pay attention to anyone except herself during the playoff. A drive down the middle of the par-4 18th set up the short wedge shot into the green. In regulation, Shin airmailed her approach. So she came into the ball with a softer swing the second time around. And the pinpoint accuracy gave her the first qualifying spot from the playoff.
Also escaping the playoff were Boca Raton’s Andie Shukow, Orlando’s Navika Kuchakulla and Miami’s Phoebe Beber-Frankel.
Five other golfers qualified prior to the playoff for having the top scores. Those included Winter Garden’s Annie Kim and Sebring’s Kendall Griffin, who co-medaled after firing even-par 72s.
Naples’ Emma Bradley, Jacksonville’s Ramya Meenakshisundaram and Howey-in-the-Hills’ Tae Ji Lee each carded 73s to advance.
“USGA medals are awesome,” Griffin said. “I’ve never gotten one out of qualifying before, so it’s kind of cool. I’m pretty excited for it.”
Playing alongside Griffin was Manatee High’s Gabrielle Tomeo. She was one of nine golfers to post a 74, which put her in the sudden-death playoff, which was split into two groups. Playing in the lead group, Tomeo started out scrambling. An errant tee shot on the 18th — the first playoff hole — left Tomeo to chip back to the fairway. She stuck her third shot over the water guarding the front of the green to within a few feet and sunk the putt to advance to the next hole.
A bogey, though, left her fighting for an alternate spot into next month’s U.S. Girls Junior. After hitting her tee shot on the par-3 17th — the third playoff hole — the club’s lightning detection horn sounded. After a brief delay, England’s Georgia Oboh birdied to grab the first alternate position, while Tomeo and Siyan Chen parred. The two returned to the 18th for the last alternate berth. Tomeo had the first chance to close it out after sticking her approach shot to about 4- or 5-feet. However, she missed.
It was there during the round and then when I needed it, it wasn’t.
Bradenton’s Gabrielle Tomeo on playoff putting woes.
“I pulled it, but I knew it was going to break,” Tomeo said. “I didn’t play enough break.”
Chen parred the fifth playoff hole, a replay of No. 10, while Tomeo missed her par-saving effort.
“It was there during the round and then when I needed it, it wasn’t,” Tomeo said.