Mission Hills Country Club, Arnold Palmer Course
Rancho Mirage, California
June 24-27, 2002

Lopez, Park earn medalist honors with Division leads

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - Thirteen boys and two girls qualified for the ClubCorp Junior at Mission Hills, taking place June 24-27 at Mission Hills Country Club.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the ClubCorp Junior at Mission Hills Qualifier was played on the Pete Dye Course at The Westin Mission Hills. It allowed 100 juniors, 86 boys and 14 girls, the opportunity to play their way into the 54-hole event.

Joe Lopez of Chino Hills, Calif., earned medalist honors in the Boys Division with the low round of the day, firing a 5-under-par 65. In the Girls Division, Angela Park of Torrance, Calif., took the top spot with a 2-over-par 72, seizing one of two spots open in the tournament.

Despite facing 85 other competitors for 13 available berths, Lopez said he was only concentrating on his own game during the round.

"I felt relaxed today," he said. "When I put myself in trouble, I didn't get down and kept my head up."

The 16-year-old dropped seven birdies and only two bogeys on the day to put him on top of the Boys Division. Lopez powered through the front nine, carding birdies on holes No. 2, 4, 5 and 9, and put away birdies on three of his last four holes to go 5-under.

Lopez attributed his low round score to solid putting.

"I could see lines really clearly today," he said. "I was able to hit where I was aiming."

Brian Abelson of Pasadena, Calif., is in second place, carding a 3-under-par 67. Abelson shot a bogey-free back nine, including five birdies to earn a spot in the tournament. Daniel Cho of Diamond Bar, Calif., scored a 1-under-par 69 to take third place in the Qualifier field.

Six California natives tied for fourth place at 1-over-par 71, including Kurt Taylor of Thousand Oaks, Todd Angel of Clovis, Ryan Citarella of Santa Ana, Ben Choe of La Quinta, Sean King of Ventura and Garrett Lipus of Trabuco Canyon.

A six-way tie at 72 was determined by a four-hole, sudden-death playoff for four remaining spots in the Boys Division.

Rounding out the Boys Division qualifiers are Christopher Heintz of Brea, Calif., Greg Moss of Sherman Oaks, Calif., Nicholas Janneck of Sherman Oaks, Calif., and Ryan Keeney of Redmond, Wash.

With a lone birdie on No. 13 and two bogeys headed into the final nine, Park closed the round in solid fashion. The 13-year-old nailed birdies on her last two holes, Nos. 7 and 8, to go 2-over on the day and take the Girls Division lead.

"Putting was key for me today," she said. "I just tried to get on the greens, but I barely hit them and had to two-putt a lot."

The Girls Division also saw heated competition at the end of the day. Three girls tied at 74 and battled in a sudden-death playoff for the single remaining spot in the Girls Division. CJ Kim of Diamond Bar, Calif., made par on the second playoff hole to secure second place in the Qualifier and a berth in the tournament.

The ClubCorp Junior at Mission Hills will feature 84 players, both boys and girls, from nine states, with the majority of the field from California. The field includes both of last year's defending champions, Keeney and Allison Martin of Bakersfield, Calif., as well as 15 Polo Golf Junior All-Americans.

First-round competition will begin at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday off the No. 1 and 10 tees of the Arnold Palmer Course at Mission Hills Country Club.

For more information on the ClubCorp Junior at Mission Hills or other AJGA events, please contact AJGA tournament headquarters at (760) 324-9400.

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