Sophia Li Wins Second NYS Girls’ Junior Championship

July 03, 2024

APALACHIN, N.Y. — Sophia Li of MGA eClub - NYC captured the 61st NYS 18U Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship at the Links at Hiawatha Landing. 

Related: Championship Central / Final Results / Photos / Day 1 Recap

The 2022 champion and 2023 runner-up went 71-72-71 (-1) to secure her second Betty Deeley Cup. 

Li rallied from a significant deficit to snatch the victory from reigning champion Jordan Levitt of MGA eClub - NYC. At one point in the final round, after Levitt birdied her first three holes, Li was five strokes back of the lead. 

“I kept [Levitt’s] score every single round, so I was intimately familiar with how far back I was,” said Li in a post-round interview. 

Li played the first five holes of the back nine at three under par and managed to hold on to the victory as Levitt struggled with five bogeys on the back. 

“There were a lot of ups and downs,” Li said after her round. “But I think that one stretch of holes where I made a couple birdies and an eagle allowed me to gain momentum.” 

The victory punched Li’s ticket to the U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship to be played at El Caballero Country Club July 15-20. 

Levitt, whom Li was runner-up to in last year’s tournament, concluded play at even par, good for solo second. 

“Playing with Jordan is always amazing because she is such a competitive player,” said Li. “It makes for intense matchups and, as a good friend, it’s always a great opportunity to play in a group with her.” 

Nina Choe of Pelham Country Club, who led after the opening round, ended up in third place. She went 68-78-74 to finish at four over par. Aliya Liberatore of Yahnundasis Golf Club posted a total of 221 (+5) to secure solo fourth. 

Four juniors finished tied in fifth at six over par. They included Delaney Abel of Corning Country Club, Amelie Phung of Youth on Course - MGA, Alexandra Phung of MET PGA Junior Golf Club and Madison Chen of North Shore Country Club. 

The top five finishers (and ties) earned an exemption into the NYS Women’s Amateur Championship at Skaneateles Country Club.

Age group winners were also identified during this year's championship: Amanda Phillips of MGA eClub - NYC (Girls 18 Flight), Aliya Liberatore of Yahnundasis Golf Club (Girls 17 Flight), Amelie Phung of Youth on Course - MGA (Girls 16 Flight), and Nina Choe of Pelham Country Club (Girls 15 Flight).