FORT WAYNE – Bailey Tardy was in the morning field – with most of the players toward the top of the leader board at the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship still to play – and she didn’t think there was any chance she would end the day with medalist honors and the top seed for match play.
The girls I’m up against and am playing against will post lower scores, she said. Maybe, maybe there’s a chance (I’ll get the top seed), but I don’t think so.
She was wrong.
Tardy, 16, who is from Norcross, Ga., finished the two days of stroke play at 6 under and got that top seed.
She fired a 3-under 69 Tuesday at Sycamore Hills Golf Club, which played at 6,305 yards, despite having three bogeys in the round.
I played pretty good and made a lot of putts today and that really helped me, said Tardy, who is in the Girls’ Junior for a third time. I almost chipped it in on 15. Everything was solid today and when I missed the green I was able to get up and down.
Tardy finished one stroke ahead of Lilia Khatu Vu of Fountain Valley, Calif., who had a second-round 71.
I felt like I could have done a lot better, Vu said. I started off missing a lot of greens. I would keep pushing it. The first hole, my drive went in the water and I was like, Oh, no. What am I going to do now?’ I bogeyed it and then I kept on parring. Then, I started parring and thought, OK, I’m still in this,’ and then I just tried to do my best.
Defending-champion Minjee Lee of Australia shot a 69 and took the third seed at 4 under.
First-round leader Andrea Lee of Hermosa Beach, Calif., shot a 77 and tied for ninth at even par.
Tardy, who has committed to play for Georgia, is a relative newcomer to the sport; she didn’t start until she was 12.
I picked it up really fast, and I think when I started winning small junior tournaments that’s when I knew I could have a future in this, she said.
I started meeting great girls out here and that sparked the energy to go forward, she added
Tardy has competed well nationally and at home, winning the Georgia state junior championship at her home course of the Atlanta Athletic Club, where she’s shot as low as 64.
It was awesome, she said. That’s my home course, so to be able to play that well at my home grounds was really fun. It definitely gave me more confidence. I know I have to trust my swing.
Still, she had modest goals coming to Sycamore Hills, which is playing host to the United States Golf Association event for the first time.
My goal (coming here) was to make it through the first (round of match play) and on to future matches. I want to win my first match and second, and after that it will be like, Wow,’ she said.