I.R.I. GOLF GROUP ARIZONA
NATIONAL JUNIOR QUALIFIER Arizona National
July 6, 2003
16 BOYS AND FOUR GIRLS QUALIFY
AT ARIZONA NATIONAL John Wisner and Esther Choe top Boys and Girls Divisions
TUCSON, Ariz. - Amid
windy conditions and hot temperatures at Arizona National,
John Wisner of Tucson and Esther Choe of La Quinta, Calif.,
lead a field of 16 boy and four girl qualifiers into this
week's I.R.I. Golf Group Arizona National Junior.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, Sunday's
shotgun qualifier featured a field of 85 boys and 12 girls
from eight states.
Wisner, 16, topped the Boys Division, carding a 2-under-par
69. Wisner was 3-over-par after his first five holes of play,
but came back with five birdies on his way to qualifying for
his first AJGA event.
"I didn't think I had a chance after my first nine,"
commented Wisner. "But after I birdied 10, 12, 15, and
18, I knew I was back in the game."
Wisner credits his short-iron play and putting for his back-nine
"I was sticking it close on every hole; I mean every
single hole," Wisner said. "I was also making every
putt within 10 feet; they were all dropping."
Joseph Lopez of Chino Hills, Calif., took second in the qualifier
shooting an even-par 71. The highlight of Lopez's day came
at a good time. After carding a double bogey on No. 10, Lopez
answered with an eagle on the 608-yard, par-5 eleventh hole
where he sunk an eight-foot putt after knocking a 7-iron from
217 yards onto the green.
"That was a good hole," Lopez said. "But my
round wasn't too solid, I just tried to keep the ball in play.
I just wanted to make the cut today, I wasn't trying to go
Third place went to Andrew Ok of Granada Hills, Calif., and
Mike Hedstrom of Chandler, Ariz., who tied with matching 2-over-par
Joining Wisner, Lopez, Ok, and Hedstrom will be twelve other
boys. In a three-way tie for fifth, Ryan Ritzau of Goleta,
Calif., Adam Marcellus of Phoenix, and Jimmy Bicking of Scottsdale,
Ariz., all posted rounds of 3-over-par 74s. John Chin of Temecula,
Calif., Andrew Schafer of Huntington Beach, Calif., and Mitch
Jolley of Las Vegas, all carded 75s to tie for eighth place.
Also qualifying with scores of 5-over-par 76 was Sasan Shahi
of Laguna Niguel, Calif., Steven Chung of Los Angeles, Ryan
Farb of Tucson, Ryan Dunham of West Covina, Calif., Paul Hanzal
of Jamul, Calif., and Tyler Smith of San Juan Capistrano,
In the Girls Division, 13-year-old Esther Choe carded a 70,
to qualify for her fifth AJGA event.
Choe got off to a phenomenal start, carding three birdies
on her first three holes. She continued to play well, going
on a 10-hole par-streak before carding back-to-back birdies,
and finishing strong with three pars.
Choe says it was her putting that kept her going today.
"I made all my short putts today," Choe said. "I
started losing it on the back (with two bogeys) but I told
myself I wouldn't give up."
Choe looks for another solid performance in this week's tournament.
"I played good today," Choe said. "But I need
to play well in the real thing. I just need to play my own
Taylore Karle of Plano, Texas, shot a 6-over-par 77 for second
place, while Christina Schams of Chandler, Ariz., and Sara
Ovadia of Santa Barbara, Calif., tied for third place with
The first round of the I.R.I. Golf Group Arizona National
Junior begins Tuesday with tee times starting at 7 a.m. off
Nos. 1 and 10 tees.
For more information on the I.R.I. Golf Group Arizona National
Junior, please contact tournament headquarters at (520) 749-3636
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