hp JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP AT ABACOA
Abacoa Golf Club
Jupiter, Florida
July 15-18, 2002

WAIT IS OVER FOR HAGE AFTER WIN AT ABACOA
Jeon holds on to secure first AJGA victory in Boys Division

JUPITER, Fla. - Nicole Hage of Coral Springs, Fla., fired a final-round 2-under-par 70 Thursday to come from behind and capture the Girls Division crown at the AJGA hp Junior Championship at Abacoa with a 3-under-par 213 total. In the Boys Division, Song Jeon of Ocala, Fla., cruised to a five-shot victory after shooting a 3-under-par 69.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the hp Junior Championship at Abacoa was held at the par-72 Abacoa Golf Club and featured 84 of the top junior golfers in the country, representing 16 states, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru. The field also featured 59 Florida natives.

Hage, who entered the day two shots off the lead, narrowed the gap with a birdie on No. 1 to jump into a tie for the lead with Charmaine Erasmus of Bradenton, Fla., who opened with a bogey.

"After the first hole we were tied again," Hage said of her battle with Erasmus. "So I knew from there it was anyone's to win."

Hage birdied Nos. 9 and 10 to begin to pull away from the field and then finished strong by sticking her approach shot close on No. 18 to set up her dream finish.

"It was nice walking down No. 18 with a five shot lead," said Hage, who carded four birdies on the day. "That's how I've dreamed about winning a golf tournament. I didn't want to win by one or two, I wanted to win by a lot and end it by draining a putt for birdie."

Hage nailed a 12-footer on No. 18 for birdie to secure the low round of the day in the Girls Division and seal her first AJGA title since her 1999 Junior All-Star victory after recording seven second-place finishes since her last win.

"The last two days I'd missed my putts for birdie on No. 18," Hage said. "To finish with the low round of the day is just icing on the cake."

Erasmus finished second at 219 after closing with a 78. Defending champion Mallory Hetzel of Summerville, S.C., took third at 224.

Jeon, who opened the tournament with rounds of 66 and 74, tallied eight birdies for the round to help him sit at 6-under-par for the day heading into No. 18. Jeon's tee shot on the final hole found the hazard, forcing him to take a drop and punch out en route to a triple bogey.

"I just tried to hit fairways and greens down the stretch," Jeon said. "No. 18 was my first three-putt of the week, but I am very excited to win."

Jeon's three-day 209 put him five shots ahead of Dave Tiffenberg of Tampa, Fla., and Brad Doster of Winter Park, Fla., who tied for runner-up honors. Tiffernberg's 4-under-par 68 tied for the low-final round score Robin Yoo of Bradenton, Fla., who tied for fourth with Gin Woong Kim of Wesely Chapel, Fla.

For more information on the AJGA hp Junior Championship at Abacoa, please call tournament headquarters at (770) 868-4200.

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