Twelve of the opening-round matchups at the Polo Golf Junior Classic pitted Rolex Junior All-Americans against each other. In two of the matches, a pair of First-Teamers squared off.
The significance of these first-round matches, Emma Talley vs. Jaye Marie Green and Matthew NeSmith vs. Motin Yeung, weighed heavy on the outcome of the tournament, but also on the friendships between the players.
NeSmith and Yeung were Wyndham Cup teammates, while Talley and Green represented Team USA at this year’s PING Junior Solheim Cup. For the girls, the gravity of the pairing led the two to agree on silence during the round.
“We text each other every morning, so on the first tee I just acted like I didn’t know her because you don’t want to beat someone that you love,” said Green, who was the defending champion.
Predictably, the match went 19 holes, finally ending with a birdie by Talley. And almost as predictably, Talley said the win was bittersweet.
“It was weird, but I was really happy to pull out the win but it was also bittersweet because I didn’t want to play her, especially in the first round,” said Talley, who advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to Nicole Morales, the eventual champion. “We’ve been friends and teammates and it was really difficult.”
Above: Talley holed her bunker shot for birdie on No. 15 to bring her first-round match to all square versus Green.
-- Written by Chris Richards, AJGA Communications