On June 30, 2014, Ana Paula Valdes, IJGA student from Morelia, Mexico, qualified for the U.S. Girls’ Junior at Columbia Country Club with a score of 2-over-par 74.
That solid performance earned her an invitation to the 66th U.S. Girls’ Junior conducted by the United States Golf Association (USGA). The tournament featured 156 of the top golfers from around the world including Valdes.
The first two rounds of the USGA Championship were stroke play where the top 64 players advanced to a single-elimination match-play bracket. Valdes, carded a 1-over-par 145 which put her in a tie for 17th place. In 36 holes, she made 27 pars and four birdies. After the bracket was seeded, Valdes was awarded the 18th seed and a match against Fuzzy Brooks of Kingwood, Texas.
In the Round of 64, Valdes was brilliant en route to her 4 & 2 victory. After winning the first hole with par, Valdes made three more birdies on the front nine to take a 3-up lead to the back nine. She clinched the match with a birdie on the 16th hole.
Valdes was matched up with Shannon Brooks of Vienna, Va., in the Round of 32. Valdes fought valiantly, but was unable to put together a round to match Brooks. Valdes lost the match 4 & 3.
Although this was not the finish Valdes was looking for, it was a significant improvement from last year where she did not advance to the match-play portion of the competition. This experience will prove valuable for the Clemson commit in the many USGA championships she has in her future.