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June 20, 2013

Min knocks off top seed; 10-year-old Li ousted at WAPL

NORMAN — The first round of match play at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links produced a stunning upset Wednesday at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club.

Ciera Min topped the No. 1 seed, Annie Park, 6-and-4 in the day’s first match. The stir Min’s victory created reverberated throughout the day.

Min, though, took it in stride.

“I knew she was a great player,” said Min. “It’s humbling.”

Min, a 17-year-old from Hawaii, now sits atop the bracket.

Park, who won the NCAA individual title last month for Southern Cal and has already qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open, was considered the favorite coming into the tournament. She was coming off back-to-back rounds of 68 shot Monday and Tuesday. Now she’s heading home early.

“It was a bad day for me,” Park said. “I couldn’t hit it yesterday and I today I finally got my swing back. I just putted like a … tornado.”

Park wasn’t the only big-name player to make an early exit. Lucy Li, 10, entered Wednesday the youngest WAPL match-play qualifier in event history, but she ran into Ember Schuldt Wednesday morning, and Schuldt came away with a 3-and-2 victory.

It took a strong round for Schuldt, who will be a senior at Illinois, to advance. She eagled the par-5 eighth hole to take a 4-hole lead early in the match before withstanding a barrage of three birdies in a four-hole stretch from Li, to close the match out on the 16th hole.

Schuldt knew she had a tough draw when the pairings were announced Tuesday evening.

“I knew she was a great player. Then again, you don’t want to lose because everyone knows that she’s 10.”,” Schuldt said. “She was a great player and I’m happy to have won.”

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