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Chelso Barrett, from Keene, shown in the NHGA Junior Championship tournament in June, beat a former U.S. Junior Amateur Champion for the second time in the US Amateur Wednesday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

Barrett tops Liu, advances in US amateur golf

It's now safe to say Jim Liu has a nemesis.

For the second time in three years, Chelso Barrett of Surry sent the former U.S. Junior Amateur champion home with a 3-up victory Wednesday in the round of 64 during the 113th U.S. Amateur Championship in Brookline, Mass.

Two years ago in the United States Junior Amateur Championship in Bremerton, Wash., Barrett beat Liu of Smithtown N.Y. 1-up in 18 holes in the round of 32. At the time, Liu was the defending junior am champ. Barrett eventually reached the finals that year before losing to Jordan Spieth of Dallas, Texas.

Beating Liu is a big deal.

Liu eclipsed Tiger Woods as the youngest U.S. Junior champ in 2010 when he won the title as a 14-year-old. Liu joined Woods (1991-92) and Willie Wood (1977-78) as the only junior golfers ever to win two stroke play medalist honors in the U.S. Junior Am tournament.

Last year at the Golf Club of New England in Stratham, Liu's bid to join Woods as a two-time junior am champ was dashed in the finals to South Korean Andy Shim.

"Jim is a real good player, someone you can learn from by just watching him play," said Barrett yesterday. "Today (Tuesday) I just tried to shoot par and it worked for me."

Barrett was one-over-par in his 16-hole win against Liu, who faltered with consecutive double bogeys on holes 14 and 15 to fall three down to Barrett.

"On both holes he just hit some shots into the trees and I was able to capitalize," said Barrett, who parred his last 10 holes including the par 5, 12th hole to take the lead for good.

"I didn't want to give the lead back and making a long up and down par on hole 13 (par 4, 431 yards) was the turning point for me," said Barrett, who had taken 1-up leads on holes 5 and 10 only to lose the next hole.

"I needed to hold a lead longer than one hole," said Barrett. "The whole match went back and forth until we reached the 14th hole. I think the wind played a factor today, especially over the last three or four holes. My mindset was to try not to get ahead of myself."

The round of 32 begins today with Barrett teeing off against Justin Shin of Canada at 8:10 a.m. The British Columbia native just completed his collegiate career at New Mexico State. If Barrett wins, he'll move into the round of 16 this afternoon.

"I don't know anything about him," said Chelso. "I'm expecting another tough match and hopefully I can continue to play well enough to win."


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