Kung's 69 for 142 earns medal in junior qualifying

Wongluekiet twins close

Hardin fails to advance

August 04, 1999|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Candie Kung, ranked No. 1 in the country among junior girls, lived up to her billing yesterday, firing a 3-under-par 69 that earned her the U.S. Girls' Junior qualifying medal with a 36-hole total of 142 at the Green Spring Valley Hunt Club.

With the low 64 advancing to match play in the championships, seven played off for two spots at 162. In what turned out to be the most exciting part of the program, the playoff went to the sixth extra hole before Miranda Smith parred the 18th to outlast Yvonne Choe. Angela Olivarri birdied the first playoff hole to get the other berth.

When defending champion Leigh Ann Hardin (80-82) went out at the third extra hole, it marked the first time in tournament history that a returning champion had failed to make match play.

Kung, from Fountain Valley, Calif., and one of three players in this 51st annual championship who will turn 18 on Sunday (to be eligible, a player could not be 18 by Saturday), rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt at the first hole and never looked back.

The 17-year-old, who is headed for the University of Southern California, birdied the fourth with a 25-foot curler, three-putted the par-3 fifth, then wrapped it up with birdies at the two par-5s, making a 15-foot putt at the 16th and a 10-footer at the 17th.

"I made a couple of mistakes, but otherwise it was better than yesterday [Monday]," she said. "In the first round, I was rushing things, but this time I slowed it down.

"I took off a couple of weeks ago, didn't touch golf, and it showed at the Betsy Rawls last week [in Wilmington, Del.]. I lost my confidence in the woods and irons, but I putted pretty well."

Her scores -- and confidence -- steadily improved in that tournament, as she shot 76-71-68 to tie for fifth.

First-round leader Aree Wongluekiet, 13, was three strokes back yesterday after 71-74, followed by her twin sister, Naree, 75-71.

Among the four girls who played Green Spring in the regional qualifier, Jenny Suh, a 5-foot-1 13-year-old from Fairfax, Va., made the cut at 80-80. Christy Larrimore had 166; Kansas Gooden of Staunton, Va., 169, and Sarah O'Neill of Potomac, 176.

Larrimore, from Glen Burnie, had problems over her last three holes for a second straight day, ending at 82-84. The Archbishop Spalding sophomore, 14, who has been playing golf for less than three years, started with a double-bogey on 10, was still just two over at the turn, and, as was the case Monday, was 5-over with three holes left.

But she finished double-bogey, double-bogey, bogey.

"I didn't hit the driver that well, missed a lot of fairways, and it was either par or double," she said.

O'Neill, the Maryland State champion from Potomac and Congressional CC, also 14, had an up-and-down tour, including following a quadruple-bogey 8 at the 12th with an eagle-2 at the 381-yard 13th.

"It was nerves, and I just played really badly," she said.

Scores, 8D

Pub Date: 8/04/99

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