FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - Gabriella Then won the U.S. Girls' Junior on Saturday, spoiling Lakareber Abe's bid to become the first black female individual champion in U.S. Golf Association history.
Then, the 17-year-old Upland, Calif., player who will be a freshman at Southern California, beat Abe 2 and 1 in the 36-hole final at Sycamore Hills.
The 17-year-old Abe, from Angleton, Texas, missed a chance to join Tiger Woods, Bill Wright and Alton Duhon as the only black individual winners in USGA play.
Then had a five-hole lead through 22 holes, but Abe rallied to tie it with four holes to play. Then finished off the match with a birdie on the 35th hole.
``I finally did it, a USGA championship,'' said Then, competing in her 11th USGA championship. ``To be able to have my game where it is right now and be able to make it this far is great.''
Abe will be a senior in high school and plans to attend Alabama in 2014.
``I just kept telling myself to keep fighting,'' said Abe, who will attend the University of Alabama in the fall of 2014. ``Gabby could hit a good shot at any time, so I just told myself to keep on playing, try to keep making birdies and see what happens.''
Both players earned spots in the U.S. Women's Amateur next month in South Carolina.