The Revere at Anthem, Lexington Course
Henderson, Nevada
July 15-18, 2002

Fernandez closes AJGA career with victory on home turf

HENDERSON, Nev. - James Lee of Fullerton, Calif., won the first national title of his career at the AJGA Las Vegas Founders Junior with rounds of 72-68-75-215. In the Girls Division, Christine Fernandez of Henderson, Nev., playing in her final AJGA event, carded rounds of 79-73-71-223 to take home the title.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the 54-hole event was held on the par-72 Lexington Course at The Revere at Anthem in Henderson, Nev. The 83-player field featured players, ages 13-18, from 11 states, including 20 Las Vegas-area residents.

Second-round action was suspended Wednesday afternoon due to inclement weather. Play resumed Thursday morning at 7:30 with some groups playing as many as nine holes before starting the final round.

Lee, who had six holes from the second round remaining, fought exhaustion most of the afternoon and finished the front nine at 3-over-par. He started the back nine with a bogey on No. 10, but completed his last eight holes with all pars and a birdie on the 534-yard, par-5 16th hole.

"I really hit my irons well today," Lee said. "I was sticking it close and I hit 15 greens in regulation. The only major problem was that I couldn't finish the job. A lot of my putts came up short and it was a little frustrating."

The 15-year-old Lee becomes the sixth 2005 graduate to claim an AJGA title this year. Recently Seung Su Han of Chino Hills, Calif., won the AJGA ClubCorp Junior at Mission Hills, while Randy Lowry of Spring, Texas, won the AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions last week.

"Seung Su Han is one of my good friends and I was jealous after he won his second event a few weeks ago," Lee said. "Then when Randy Lowry won the AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions last week I knew I could win one. Those two just proved to me that being young doesn't mean that you can't win an AJGA event."

C.J. Gatto of Columbus, Ohio, Christopher Heintz of Brea, Calif., and Denny Bae of Los Angeles finished tied for second with a three-day total of 220. Soo Kyo Ahn of Tacoma, Wash., finished fifth with rounds of 76-74-71-221 to round out the Boys Division top five.

In the Girls Division, Fernandez finished the front nine at 3-over-par, but a solid back nine allowed her to take home the Las Vegas trophy. She birdied holes No. 12, 13, 15 and 16 to finish the back nine at 4-under-par and turn in a final round score of 71.

"I was really making a lot of putts on the back nine," Fernandez said. "I think I only had 11 putts on the back nine so that really pleased me. The first two days I was always hitting the ball over the hole, but today I was able to relax and stick my shots."

Fernandez, who has signed to play golf at the University of Tulsa in the fall, was the local favorite heading into the week. She placed sixth in the event last year and third at this year's AJGA Arizona Junior Classic over in April.

"It's really nice to win at home," Fernandez said. "The best part about it is getting to sleep in your own bed and be comfortable; I've never had that before. I'm glad that my family could be here to watch me play in my last AJGA event, and it's great that I could win one for them."

Jane Lee of Rancho Palos Verde, Calif., finished one stroke behind Fernandez with rounds of 81-69-73-224. Lauren Todd of Phoenix placed third at 75-78-73-226.

For more information about the AJGA Las Vegas Founders Junior, please call AJGA national headquarters at (770) 868-4200.

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