Alice Chen of Neshanic Valley, who in June won her second straight NJSGA Junior Girls Championship – by 10 shots – fired a 2-over-par 74 and held a one-shot lead over Isabel Han of Montammy on Monday, July 29, after the first round of 36-hole qualifying for the NJAGA 88thWomen’s Amateur Championship at the 5,955-yard Brooklake Country Club in Florham Park.
Tara Fleming of New Jersey National, a former professional from Canada, was third at 76. Tied for fourth place at 78 are Claire Serruto of Montclair and Cindy Ha of Valley Brook. Scotland Preston of Echo Lake, a junior at Kansas State, is sixth at 80. Alexandra Hershberger of Neshanic Valley, the 2012 champion and a sophomore at the University of Virginia, is tied for 11that 82.
After Tuesday’s second round, the top eight in 36-hole qualifying advance to the Championship Flight of match play. The next eight will comprise the First Flight and a third eight will comprise the Second Flight. On Wednesday, quarterfinal and semifinal rounds of match play will be contested. The two finalists will play a 36-hole match-play final on Thursday.
Chen last week advanced to the match-play portion of the USGA Girls Junior at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Ind. She will compete in the Big "I" National Championship at Pinehurst, August 5 -8.
She won the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association girls championship this spring.
“I was two-under for my first nine, holes 10 through 18, so I was disappointed in shooting four over for my final nine holes,” said Chen, 17, who lives in Princeton and will be a senior this fall at Montgomery High School.
“I bogeyed my last three holes today. I got into the rough and made silly mistakes,” she said. “I’m striking the ball much better this summer. I came here with the hope of making the top eight and getting into match play.”
Chen was a semifinalist in the 86thWomen’s Amateur in 2011 at Hackensack but didn’t participate in the event last summer.