AJGA NEEDHAM SAN JOSE JUNIOR CLASSIC
Almaden Country Club
San Jose, Calif.
Aug. 12-15, 2002
CHOE AND TARUC LEAD AFTER FIRST ROUND IN
INAUGURAL SAN JOSE CLASSIC
Park and Liao lead Girls Division by one after opening
rounds of 69
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Jonathan Taruc of Las Vegas and
Jay Choe of Yorba Linda, Calif., jumped to the early lead
at the AJGA Needham San Jose Junior Classic after opening
rounds of 4-under-par 68. In the Girls Division, Angela Park
of Torrance, Calif., and Ki-Shui Liao of Alameda, Calif.,
carded rounds of 3-under-par 69 to grab a one-stroke lead
over the field.
The 54-hole tournament, conducted by the American Junior Golf
Association, features 84 players representing 10 states and
includes 72 California natives. The inaugural event is being
held at the par-72 Almaden Country Club.
Taruc, who started the day on No. 10, parred his first seven
holes before he got things going his way. After a birdie on
seventeen, Taruc took advantage of the 500-yard, par-5 18th.
He landed his second shot, a 250-yard, 3-wood to about 10
feet from the hole and then drained the putt for an eagle.
He birdied his next hole to get to 4-under-par and then traded
a bogey with a birdie on the back nine to take a share of
the lead after the first round.
"That got me fired up," Taruc said. "After
that it was a steady day."
Taruc said he is pleased with his opening round but also knows
he left some shots out on the course.
"I hit 16 greens today and put myself in position to
make birdies," Taruc said. "I hit the ball well
but also left some shots out there. I missed a couple five-foot
Choe, 18, almost had to wait as long as Taruc to record his
first birdie, but that is only because his 25-yard pitch didn't
fall for eagle.
On the first hole, a 523-yard, par-5, Choe's approach shot
hit the flagstick and then came to a rest less than a foot
from the hole. He made the tap-in birdie putt and then carded
nine pars before his next birdie.
"It hit the middle of the flagstick and kicked away,"
Choe said. "It almost went in."
Choe, who has signed to play golf at the University of California-Irvine,
said his familiarity with California courses helped him ascend
to the top of the leaderboard.
"I am feeling pretty confident," Choe said. "I
am from California and really like the layout of this course.
It fits my game and I have played similar courses to this
Denny Bae of Burbank, Calif., Daniel Im of La Mirada, Calif.,
Jeff Vetterick of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., and Irvine, Calif.,
natives David Yoon and Neno Boonyaplanun are deadlocked in
third place after round of 69.
In the Girls Division, two of the youngest players in the
field lead after day one.
Park, who won the Callaway Junior All-Star Classic at Midland
earlier this summer, birdied her last two holes to get to
"Those last two holes gives me more confidence going
into the next two days," the 13-year-old said. "I
am striking the ball well and if I can get my putts to drop
then I will be fine."
Park said she doesn't feel any added pressure from being a
first-round co-leader, but said she was a bit surprised that
69 was the lowest score posted.
"I thought the course played a little bit easier than
I thought it would," Park said. "I thought somebody
would go lower than 69."
Liao, 14, playing in her second career AJGA event, canned
a 20-foot birdie putt on her last hole to join Park as the
"I hit the ball pretty steady," Liao said. "I
hit fairways and greens and had a lot of birdie putts."
Although Liao is in the lead she knows there are a lot of
talented players trying to catch her over the next two days.
"Today does not make a difference," Liao said. "I
still have to play well the next two days."
Jane Park of Beaumont, Calif., and Jane Lee of Rancho Palos
Verdes, Calif., are tied at third with 70s.
Second-round action begins at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow off No. 1
and 10. Tee times will run until 9:27 a.m.
For more information regarding the Needham San Jose Junior
Classic please contact AJGA headquarters at (408) 268-4653,