Jenny Suh wished she could have saved Tuesday's tee shot on No. 18 for today. Had her ball landed inches from the pin like it did that day, she might have been able to take her match to extra holes. Instead, Suh's ball landed in a bunker and her impressive comeback fell short. The 13-year-old from Fairfax lost her first-round match, 2 up, to Tiffany Catafygiotu, a 16-year-old from Greer, S.C., in the 51st U.S. Girls' Junior Championship at Green Spring Valley Hunt Club.
Taking the match to 18 holes "made me happy, but the bunker shot didn't," Suh said.
Suh, who will be a freshman at Chantilly High School this fall, started the match strong, making a seven-foot birdie putt to go 1 up after the first hole. She fell behind on No. 7, however, and had to scramble to reach the 18th hole. Back-to-back bogeys put her down four holes with five remaining to play.
"I was surprised I didn't lose on number 15," Suh said.
Her rally began on No. 14 as Catafygiotu, who was playing in the first match-play tournament of her career, started to unravel.
Suh hit a terrific second shot on the par-4 No. 14. Her ball landed on the front of the green, leaving her with an eight-foot uphill putt for birdie. Catafygiotu scrambled to make par and lost the hole.
"That was a great [second] shot," Suh said. "I was just trying to get by the trees. I didn't do it on purpose. It just happened."
On 15, Suh was on the green again in two shots and two-putted for par. Catafygiotu was unable to recover from an errant tee shot and lost that hole, too. Suh missed a 10-foot putt for birdie on No. 16, which would have put her down one hole. However, she capitalized on Catafygiotu's miscues to win No. 17.
Down one hole, Suh needed to win the par-3 No. 18 to extend the match. However, her tee shot went wide left into the bunker. The ball burrowed into the sand at such an awkward angle that Suh was forced to get down on her knees to hit it. Although she got her club on the ball, it stayed in the bunker. Catafygiotu made par to win the match.
"I'm still happy I even qualified," Suh said. "I was happy I even came to this tournament from the qualifying site, but I was even happier when I got to match play."