It was a tough day for the three local girls competing in the 51st U.S. Girls' Junior Championship at Green Spring Valley Hunt Club.
Jenny Suh, a 13-year-old from Fairfax, finished with an 8-over-par 80. Christy Larrimore, a 14-year-old from Glen Burnie, shot an 83. Sarah O'Neill, a 14-year-old from Potomac, turned in a 90.
Aree Wongluekiet, a 13-year-old from Bradenton, Fla., is the first-round leader after shooting a 1-under-par 71 on the 6,180-yard course. The field of 156 golfers will be reduced to the 64 lowest scorers after Tuesday's final round of stroke play. Match play begins Wednesday.
The local trio's rocky start can be attributed mostly to jitters from playing in one of the biggest tournaments of their short careers.
Suh, a recent Bobby Bowers and Virginia Junior stroke play champion, had an uneven round, but nearly finished in the 70s. She was on track to shoot a 78 until she bogeyed her final two holes.
"I played some good holes," Suh said. "I played some bad holes. And when I played a bad hole, I really played a bad hole. . . . I was sitting on some holes just shaking my head. I couldn't believe what I just did." She followed a triple bogey on No. 3 -- she hit her tee shot into the ravine -- with a nice 50-foot chip shot for her second birdie of the day on No. 4.
"That was my shot of the day," Suh said. "I was just trying to get it close, and I said to myself, `Wouldn't it be nice if this went in.' "
Larrimore, who tied her personal best last week with a 72 in the final round of the Betsy Rawls Invitational, started off the day well. A birdie and three bogeys put her at 2 over at the turn. But then the late afternoon shadows -- Larrimore had the latest tee time of the day at 2 p.m. -- and exhaustion took their toll. She three-putted Nos. 16 and 17.
"The greens were fast," said Larrimore, who had one of the largest galleries of the tournament. "I'm surprised I didn't have more three-putts than I did. . . . Other than that, I thought I played well. I feel a lot of confidence going into tomorrow."
O'Neill, the reigning Maryland State Golf Association junior girls champion, had an especially tough day. With her nerves getting the best of her, she was able to make par on just five holes.
"I didn't start out well," O'Neill said. "I was nervous all day. I never really calmed down. . . . I never expected to shoot what I did today. I haven't played so bad in a long time."