HARTFORD, Conn – Mika (Mwiji) Jin of the Republic of China won four of the first eight holes on the back nine to rally to a 2-and-1 victory over Bloomfield native Maisie Filler in the second round of match play in the U.S. Girls Junior Championship at SentryWorld in Stevens Point, Wis.
No. 12 seed Filler won the eighth and ninth holes with a par and birdie to take a 1-up lead, her first of the match. Jin birdied Nos. 10 and 11 to regain the lead, but Filler made a winning par on the 12th hole to get even. No. 44 Jin regained the lead for good with a birdie at No. 13, and after she and Filler halved the next three holes, Jin closed out the match with a par at the 17th hole, avenging her sister Jiarui (Joyce) Jin’s 1-up loss to Filler in the first round.
Mika Jin then trailed throughout a 2-up loss to fifth-seeded Jillian Bourdage of Tamarac, Fla. Bourdage will now play No. 29 Lauren Beaudreau of Lemont, Ill.
Filler, 17, the medalist in a local qualifying in Florida, went to the Renbrook School in West Hartford through eighth grade and will be senior at the Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, Fla. She celebrated her 18th birthday on July 12 by shooting a 2-under-par 68 for a 72-hole total of 275 to tie for 16th and finish as the leading player with a Connecticut connection in the PGA of America’s Girls Junior Championship at Keney Park Golf Course in Hartford.
Filler, who often played at Keney Park while growing up in Bloomfield, will try to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Amateur on Aug. 5-11 at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss. She has committed to the University of Florida on a golf scholarship, following in the college-golf footsteps of older sister Nathalie, who played at the University of Delaware and is a teaching pro at the Philadelphia Cricket Club.
No. 1-seeded Yuka Sosa of the Philippines, who won the PGA Girls Junior Championship, continued her march toward another national title with wins over No. 33 Phoebe Brinker (3 and 2) and No. 49 Anne Chen (5 and 4). Sosa, 18, rallied from an early one-hole deficit against Brinker, winning the 13th, 14th and 15th holes with birdies to take a 3-up lead and then ended the match with a par at No. 16. Brinker, of Wilmington, Del., is the niece of Suzy Whaley, a longtime Connecticut resident and the first female president of the PGA of America and cousin of three-time Hartford Women’s Open champion Kelly Whaley.
In the third round, Sosa shot 3 under for 14 holes and never lost a hole in her lopsided win over Chen, of Sugar Land, Texas. Sosa will now face No. 40 Rose Zhang of Irvine, Calif., who led through three rounds of the PGA Junior Girls Championship before being overtaken by Sosa. Zhang won four of five holes on the back nine to break a tie and roll past No. 56 Kelly Xu of Claremont, Calif.
PGA BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP STARTS JULY 30
The PGA of America’s Boys Junior Championship is Tuesday through next Friday at Keney Park GC. The Girls and Boys Championships are the first national events hosted by the Connecticut Section PGA. Suzy Whaley will again be on hand for the final two rounds and present the Jack Nicklaus Trophy to the winner.
Connecticut got two more players into the tournament as alternates because the Connecticut Section PGA is hosting the event. The original state players in the tournament were Alexander Gu, 17, who will be a senior at Darien High and won the Section PGA Boys Junior Championship and CIAC State Open and tied for second in the Division I Championship this year and was Coaches All-State selection; Alex Aurora, 18, of Hamden, who tied for second in the Section PGA Boys Championship and the CIAC Division I Championship and State Open and was Coaches All-State selection while at Hamden High and will play at Lehigh in the fall; Ben James, 16, of Milford, the 2018 New England Junior Amateur champion who captured the American Junior Golf Association event in Killington, Vt, three weeks ago and then the CSGA Junior Championship and finished third overall and low amateur in the Connecticut Open on Sunday; Chris Fosdick, 18, of Middlefield, won the 2018 Junior Hub Championship and inaugural CIAC State Open and finished second in the CIAC Division I Championship in 2019, when he was medalist in nine of 13 regular-season matches and an All-State selection for the third time while at Xavier High School in Middletown before heading to Florida Southern; Jeremy Yun, 16, of Old Saybrook, who finished second in the CIAC Division I Championship, won the AJGA Kansas Junior Championship on June 19 and then tied for fourth and parred the first playoff hole in the Section PGA Boys Championship to earn the final berth in the national championship; and Tyler Woodward, 18, Durham, who tied for second in the Section PGA Boys Championship with Aurora. The alternates who gained entry were Jonathan Elkins, 18, of South Deerfield, Mass., who lost a playoff to Yun and won the Challenge Cup’s Computer Merchant Cup, and Will Lodge, 15, of Darien, who finished sixth in the Section PGA Boys Championship and won the Kerry Cup.
There will be a new champion as Askshay Bhatis, winner the last two years and the only two-time titlist in a tournament that has included Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas and Travelers Championship titlists Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth, will be pursuing his dream to play on the PGA Tour. Bhatia, 17, will attempt to qualify for Wyndham Championship, next week’s PGA Tour event in North Carolina. He expects to turn pro in September, four months before he’s old enough to vote.