USA takes opening-round lead at World Junior Girls Championship

MARKHAM, Ont. (Golf Canada) – Megan Khang (5-under 67) and Mika Liu (2-under 70) shot an opening-round team-total 7-under 137 to give Team USA a 7-shot, opening-round lead at the inaugural  World Junior Girls Golf Championship at Angus Glen Golf Club (South Course) in Markham, Ont.

Khang, 16, carded six birdies and a single bogey going off the back nine of the South Course at Angus Glen on Sunday. Currently the no. 40 ranked player on the World Amateur Golf Ranking, Khang finished her opening-round in impressive fashion with birdies on her final four holes.

“I was hitting a lot of great approach shots coming in and my short game was working really well for me,” said Khang following her round. “That’s what I’ve been working on the most and it’s great to see it coming all together. The course was in great shape; I blew some putts by but made some comebackers and that gave me a great confidence boost in the putter.”

Megan Khang (Golf Canada/ Terry Lenyk)

Liu, 15, had five birdies and three bogies in her opening round as the second US score to count while teammate Angel Yin shot a (non-counting) 1-over 73 in her opening round.

For Team USA non-playing captain Courtney Myhrum, the team executed their game plan and left their captain brimming with pride following their round.

“I’m so proud, the team did a wonderful job; the course was playing great and I’m in awe of how they hit the ball,” said Myhrum. “What impresses me so much is that these kids hit greens in regulation and give themselves birdie opportunities one after another. They’re very consistent off the tee and they didn’t get into any trouble.”

Team Canada, led by the world’s no. 1 ranked amateur Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont. sits alone in second at even-par 144 through 18 holes. Henderson (2-under 70) and teammates Grace St. Germain of Ottawa (2-over 74) and Naomi Ko of Victoria (5-over 77) were grouped with Team USA in Sunday’s opening round at Angus Glen.

Henderson, 17, finished with four birdies including her final two holes while St-Germain, 16, was 1-under through 16 holes before a bogey on her 17th hole and a double-bogey finish for Canada’s two counting scores.

“It was little bit slow to start, I wasn’t hitting the ball quite as good as I would have liked to,” said Henderson, who earlier this year finished runner-up at the US Women’s Amateur and was the low individual at the recent World Amateur Team Championship. “Throughout the round I started to get a bit more comfortable. The last couple of holes I was playing my best golf; three birdies in the last four or five holes so I’m happy with that.”

Brooke Henderson (Golf Canada/ Terry Lenyk)

Team Finland’s Anna Backman (1-under 71), Sandra Salonen (2-over 74) and Ellinoora Moisio (10-over 82) are alone in third at 145. Rounding out the top-five tied at 3-over 147 are the Italian trio of Lucrezia Colombotto Rosso (1-over 73), Calotta Ricolfi (2-over 74) and Martina Flori (4-over 76) as well as Spain’s Ana Pelaez Trivino (1-over 73), Alejandra Pasarin Olalla (2-over 74) and Nuria Iturrios (9-over 81).

Canada’s second team in the competition comprised of Jaclyn Lee of Calgary (even-par 72), Selena Costabile of Thornhill, Ont. (6-over 78) and Alisha Lau of Richmond, B.C. (11-over 83) shot a team-total, 6-over 150 sit tied for 8th with Belgium and Sweden.

With her opening round 67, Khang sits alone atop the individual leader board with a three-shot lead over Liu (70) and Henderson (70) heading into Monday’s second round.  Finland’s Anna Backman is fourth at 1-under 70 while Canadian Jaclyn Lee and England’s India Clyburn are tied for fifth at even-par 72 through 18 holes.

Visit www.worldjuniorgirls.com for additional information about the World Junior Girls Championship.

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