Young Talent Kelly Xu Clinches Runaway Title
Kelly Xu is a familiar name among the SCGA, so it was no surprise to see the 2020 SoCal Junior Girls’ Golf Champion take home the seventh SCGA Women’s Amateur Championship title, with a five-stroke lead.
The conditions were difficult at Mesa Verde CC, with ridiculously fast greens and both afternoons adding a sneaky breeze into the mix. This didn’t bother the Claremont High School incoming senior, as the young talent found herself in the red for all three rounds – the only competitor to do so.
Kelly, a Stanford commit, fired a first-round score of 69, followed by an insane 68 to round out the 36-hole day. Being the only player to achieve two under-par rounds, she had a strong 4-shot cushion heading into the final round.
It was on Tuesday where rising Stanford junior, and future Cardinal teammate, Brooke Seay snuck into the mix. The leader dropped a few strokes on the front nine, and that’s where Seay jumped in and found three birdies on the front-9, putting the pressure on Kelly. The flame started to fade, though, as she dropped three strokes on the back-9 and finishing tied for third alongside USC Trojan Katherine Muzi, and University of Texas Longhorn Sophie Guo.
Kelly’s comeback on the back-9 was an exciting feat, and the final group found themselves with a group of spectators consisting of impressed Mesa Verde CC members and curious neighbors (featuring four kids who stopped jumping on a trampoline to watch the ladies compete.)
On the 12th hole, the SCGA Junior Golf Pass member hit her approach shot to 20 feet, where she promptly sank the putt for birdie. That was the confidence boost she really needed, and it was all smooth sailing from there. After a string of pars that looked way too easy, she found another birdie on the short par-4 17, where she pulled her 3-wood giving herself a wildly difficult wedge shot from the thick kikiyu rough, about 60 yards out. But, she stuck it to six feet and it was on that green where Kelly and her caddie (and high school teammate) smiled from ear to ear as they knew that made putt sealed the deal, heading into the scenic par-3 18.
“I’m so humbled, every SCGA event has been so amazing,” Kelly said, “and to have my name up there alongside so many other great names is just incomprehensible for me right now.”
Los Angeles native Angelina Kim finished 1-under to claim second place, and the incoming Stanford Cardinal joins the likes of former Stanford Cardinal, Andrea Lee (winner in 2015, 2017), Lilia Vu (2016), Alexa Melton (2018), Alyaa Abdulghany (2019) and Jaime Jacobs (2020) on the Fischer trophy.