ChampionsGate Golf Resort, The International
ChampionsGate, Florida
November 27-30, 2002

Florida native Hong heats up in the Girls Division at AJGA Junior All-Star Championship

CHAMPIONSGATE, Fla. - More than just turkey and dressing was cooked on Thursday at ChampionsGate Golf Resort at the AJGA Callaway Golf Junior All-Star Series Championship. Alex Zega of Louisville, Ky., Albert Lee of Los Angeles, and Jennifer Hong of Windermere, Fla., baked up a recipe of their own, elevating them to the top of their respective divisions after the first round of play at the third-annual Junior All-Star Series Championship.

The 54-hole tournament, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, features 78 boys and girls (13-15 years olds) representing 19 states and Canada. To qualify for this season-ending championship, the participants in the boys division needed to garner a top-10 finish in a 2002 Junior All-Star event and a top-five finish in the girls division.

The putter was the secret ingredient for both Zega (37-33-70) and Lee (35-35-70). Zega nailed a 60-foot putt on the 437-yard, par-4 15th, which maintained his confidence level heading down the home stretch.

"That putt on No. 15 was awesome," the 14-year-old Zega said. "I couldn't believe that I made that long of a putt and it definitely energized me for my last couple of holes."

Like Zegas, the California native Lee putted flawlessly.

"I had a 19-foot par putt on No. 12. I was pretty excited that I did not three putt one time today," Lee said.

Rounding out the top five in the Boys Division include Bronson Burgoon of The Woodlands, Texas, at even-par 72, while California natives Travis Esway of Granite Bay (36-37-73) and Erik Flores of Grass Valley (37-36-73) are tied for fourth.

In the Girls Division, 15-year-old Hong (37-33-70), who mistook Thursday's first round as the tournament practice round, got things started early as she almost carded a hole-in-one on No. 11, a 158-yard par-3, her second hole of the day.

"Almost acing No. 11 really got me fired up," Hong said. "I just played solid all day."

Solid is an understatement as Hong carded four birdies on Nos. 9, 11, 14 and 15.

"I made a lot of short putts for birdies, which really helped my score," she said. " I am very pleased with today's performance and I plan to play just as consistent tomorrow."

Trailing Hong by three strokes is fellow Florida native Lauren Mielbrecht of Gulfstream, while Stefanie Page of The Woodlands, Texas, and California natives Tiffany Joh of San Diego and Jennifer Osborn of Huntington Beach all sit tied for third with a 74.

The Callaway Golf Junior All-Star Series was created in 1998 to give younger AJGA members more opportunities to play competitive golf. This collection of events, designed for boys and girls 13-15, was a resounding success in its first year and it expanded to six events in 1999. In 2002, there were six tournaments that featured a Day of Education, conducted by the AJGA and David Leadbetter Golf Academy staff, and two days of stroke-play competition.

Second-round tee times will begin at 7:30 a.m. Friday, November 29 off the No. 1 and 10 tees at ChampionsGate Golf Resort.

For more information on the AJGA Callaway Golf Junior All-Star Series Championship, please contact tournament headquarters at (678) 617-2426.


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