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HomeFEATURED WEBSITE17-year-old Kiara Romero wins 74th U.S. Girls' Junior at Eisenhower Golf Club

17-year-old Kiara Romero wins 74th U.S. Girls’ Junior at Eisenhower Golf Club

Kiara Romero was shaking.

She was lining up a putt on the 18th hole of Eisenhower Golf Club in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A make, she would win the U.S. Girls’ Junior. A miss, her opponent, Rianne Malixi, could force extra holes.

Romero didn’t give Malixi the chance.

She drained the putt, halving the hole and winning the match 1 up to capture the 74th U.S. Girls’ Junior title. The 17-year-old incoming freshman at Oregon made only one birdie in the afternoon session of the 36-hole final, but she also had only one bogey, shooting even-par to outlast Malixi, 16, to win the title and raise the Glenna Collett Vare Trophy.

With the victory, Romero also gets exemptions into the 2023 and 2024 U.S. Women’s Amateurs, the 2024 U.S. Women’s Open and 2024 Augusta National Women’s Amateur.

Rianne Mikhaela Malixi, left, and Kiara Romero pose with the Glenna Collett Vare Trophy before the final match of the 2023 U.S. Girls’ Junior at United States Air Force Academy Eisenhower Golf Club (Blue Course) in Colorado Springs, Colo. on Saturday, July 22, 2023. (Kathryn Riley/USGA)

Romero finished third in the stroke-play portion and knocked out 2022 runner-up Gianna Clemente in the semifinals. Last year, Clemente topped Romero in the Round of 16.

Malixi, from the Philippines, won the first hole and maintained her lead until the 22nd when she made a bogey. She was stellar on par 3s all week, but a bogey on the par-3 13th, the 31st hole, gave Romero a 1 up lead with five to play, and the duo halved the remaining holes.

The championship was the first in USGA history to be contested on a military base.

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