Georgians Thienna Huynh and Sara Im defeated fellow AJGA alumnae Kaitlyn Schroeder and Bailey Shoemaker in the championship match of the 2022 U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball in Puerto Rico.
One of 64 pairs to make the championship, Huynh and Im knew they had to get off to a strong start in the stroke-play portion of the competition to secure their spot moving forward. The duo did just that in round one, carding a 3-under-par 69. Firmly inside the cut line with a round to go, Huynh and Im went out and fired a 4-under-par 68 to grab a T6 finish at 7-under-par 137.
With stroke play in the rearview mirror, the pair entered match play as the seventh seed. Despite the wave of momentum from the first two rounds, Huynh and Im struggled out of the gate in their first match. The duo lost three of the first five holes and knew they had to turn things around quickly. That's exactly what they did, winning No. 6 with a birdie and No. 7 with a par to get back to 1-down. After both teams parred Nos. 8-11, Huynh and Im broke through with birdies on Nos. 12 and 13 to tie and then take the lead in the match. They ultimately parred out from there, finishing with the 1-up win.
The duo did a 180 in the round of 16, winning four of their first five holes with three birdies and an eagle. To their credit, the tenth seed fought their way back, cutting the 4-down deficit to 1-down with four holes to go. After both sides made par on the par-5 No. 15, Huynh and Im closed the door with birdies on Nos. 16 and 17 to take the match 3-and-1.
After jumping out to a 2-up lead through nine holes over the 15-seed, the quarterfinals provided some back nine drama for Huynh and Im. The 15-seed cut into the lead with a birdie on the par-3 No. 11. Huynh and Im responded with a win on No. 12, which the 15-seed then followed with a birdie of their own on the par-4 No. 13 to get back to 1-down. Huynh and Im then won No. 14 with a par. The 15-seed added another birdie on the par-3 No. 16, but it wasn't enough, as Huynh and Im held on for the 1-up win.
Not only were Huynh and Im onto the semifinals, but the duo were now the highest-ranked seed left in the championship. Their semifinal opponent was the 27-seed, which Huynh and Im made quick work of, winning the match 4-and-3. They only lost one hole in the match.
The championship match featured four of the best golfers in the AJGA. Im set the tone for the match on the very first hole, chipping in for birdie to grab the early 1-up lead. Huynh added a conceded birdie of her own on the par-4 No. 3 to extend the lead to 2-up. Schroeder and Shoemaker cut into the lead with a birdie on the par-5 No. 5, but Huynh and Im immediately got it back with a win on No. 6. That proved to be the story of the day, as Huynh and Im always had an answer.
After going 3-up through nine holes, Huynh and Im knew their was still a lot of golf left. Schroeder and Shoemaker entered the championship match with the most birdies made in the competition, and they added three more down the stretch. Schroeder and Shoemaker ended up winning four of the last nine holes, but Huynh and Im won two of their own to secure the 1-up win.
With the win, Huynh and Im each received gold medals, custody of the U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball Trophy for one year, and exemptions into several USA events.
Both players are standouts on the AJGA circuit. Huynh is No. 35 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings, while Im is No. 26. Huynh signed a National Letter of Intent with University of Nevada, Las Vegas, while Im is a verbal commit to Vanderbilt University. Huynh has won three AJGA tournaments, while Im owns a total of six victories. Both players were also 2021 Rolex Junior All-Americans.