Medalist Seong rallies for match play win

 

The Associated Press

Medalist Eun Jeong Seong rallied from four strokes down to beat Samantha Gotcher on the first extra hole in the first round of match play Wednesday at the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship.

The 14-year-old from South Korea, in match play for the first time, fell 2 down through the first three holes. Gotcher, of Clarksville, Tennessee, who qualified for this year's U.S. Women's Open, extended her advantage to four holes at the turn of the 6,169-yard, par-72 Home Course.

But Seong began to drop her putts. She cut the deficit by one with an eagle at the par-5 10th, and was within one hole heading to the 18th. After Gotcher's birdie attempt from off the back of the green trickled past the hole, Seong dropped a 30-foot putt to extend the match.

Another birdie from 15 feet at the par-4 first won it for Seong.

"That was so hard," Seong said.

"She wasn't making putts on the front at all," said Gotcher, a rising sophomore at Middle Tennessee State. "I was making putts, but she wasn't. But on the back nine, the tables turned."

Seong will next face Grace Na, 21, of Alameda, California. Na, who recently finished her college career at Pepperdine, advanced with a 19-hole win over Sydney Youngblood of Durant, Oklahoma.

Lucy Li, the 11-year-old from Redwood Shores, California who became the youngest qualifier in U.S. Women's Open history, lost in 19 holes to Alice Chen, 18, of Princeton, New Jersey.

"It was a battle back and forth all day," said Chen, who clinched her match with a 7-foot birdie from the back of the green. "She really kept me on my toes all round. Every shot, you could expect her to be really close. She was going right at pins."

Local favorite Katie Lee, 18, of Silverdale, Washington, rallied from 3 down to upset Curtis Cup Team member Annie Park of Levittown, New York, 1 up.

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