Surprising Thurman upsets pair

Six of top 10 advance

Baltimore's Suh ousted

U.S. Girls' Junior

August 05, 1999|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Annie Thurman of Highland, Utah, is what the U.S. Girls' Junior is all about.

The high school junior carries no national ranking, has played in only a couple of American Junior Golf Association events with little success, and is a good student who plays basketball in the winter.

Despite their heavy national tournament backgrounds, Thurman knocked out a pair of favored opponents yesterday to reach the third round of the 51st annual championship at the Green Spring Valley Hunt Club.

Into the morning discard at Thurman's hands went Candus Herrera via a par at the first extra hole after she drew even with a birdie at the 18th. In the afternoon, Thurman put out Aimee Cho, a highly regarded New Zealander in school in Florida, 3 and 1.

This morning's round of 16 includes some well-known names, among them six of the nation's top 10: Medalist Candie Kung, the Wongluekiet twins, and Angela Rho, Nancy Abiecunas, and Yunny Cho.

Top-ranked Kung, who turns 18 Sunday, had the easiest path. She beat Miranda Smith, who claimed the final place in the draw at 8: 30 p.m. Tuesday, and was back on the first tee at 7: 30 a.m. yesterday, 4 and 3. Then she whipped Kelly Robb, 7 and 5. Robb had rallied from two down after 15 to get past University of Florida-bound Jeanne Cho with an 8-foot par putt at the 18th, 1 up.

Shannon Johnson had the toughest road. She went 22 holes in the morning to upset Kim Kouwabunpat, then went 20 more in the second round before losing to Mary Jan Fernandez. Fernandez had gone overtime earlier, too, edging Tai Perry, a round-of-16 player a year ago, in 19 holes.

One of this morning's round of 16 pairings will match Mexico residents Violeta Retamoza and Lorena Ochoa.

"I missed the cut last year at Merion when I shot 77-92," Thurman said, "but I learned a lot. My mental game is better, and I'm more consistent."

She got a boost from her caddie, Katie Fields, 14, a rising junior golfer at Rolling Road Golf Club who helped keep her going through a final nine that saw none of the eight holes halved -- Thurman winning five of them.

Thurman, daughter of the Utah Junior Golf Association's executive director, came here off a tie for sixth in the junior worlds and a tie for 28th in last week's Betsy Rawls tournament, each marked by a poor final round.

"I thought if I could make the cut, I could beat anybody. The next one will be one of the tougher ones, though," she said of a pending match with Aree Wongluekiet.

Jenny Suh, 13, the only one of the four Baltimore-area qualifiers to make the cut, went out in the first round, losing to Tiffany Catafygiotu, 2 down.

Suh, 4 down after 13 holes, rallied to win three of the next four to force the match to the 18th.

Pub Date: 8/05/99

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