AJGA NEEDHAM SAN JOSE JUNIOR CLASSIC
Almaden Country Club
San Jose, Calif.
Aug. 12-15, 2002

CHOE BUILDS TWO STROKE LEAD AS FINAL ROUND NEARS
Park and Liao lead Girls Division by two with one round to play

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Jay Choe of Yorba Linda, Calif., carded his second-consecutive round of 4-under-par 68 to grab a two-stroke lead at the AJGA Needham San Jose Junior Classic. In the Girls Division, Angela Park of Torrance, Calif., and Ki-Shui Liao of Alameda, Calif., both recorded rounds of 1-under-par 71 to take a two-stroke lead into the final round.

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.

Choe, who started his round on No. 10, hit 16 greens in regulation as he parred the first five holes. He then birdied six of his next 11 holes but it was on the 185-yard, par-3 15th where Choe got everything going his way. He rolled in a 13-foot birdie putt and then turned his attention to the par 5s.

"I was trying to birdie all of the par 5s," said Choe, who birdied three of the four. "I had two eagle putts from about 20 feet lip out, but I was still able to make birdies."

Choe (68-68-136), who has three AJGA top 10s this year, said he has his complete game working and is not even thinking about golf when he is on the course.

"I love this course," Choe said. "I wasn't even really trying to go after the flagsticks. When you are playing well you are not really thinking about how you should play or what you should go after. You just play."

The 18-year-old said he does not feel any added pressure from playing in the final group on the final day. He is relaxed and ready to go after the title.

"I am going to play my own game like always," Choe said. "I am going to take it shot-by-shot and not even worry about my score."

Anthony Kim of La Quinta, Calif., stands alone in second place with a two-day total of 138. Zack Miller of San Rafael, Calif., and Jonathan Taruc of Las Vegas are two strokes back at 139 and Daniel Im of La Mirada, Calif., and Tim Cha of Chino Hills, Calif., are tied for fifth place with 140s.

In the Girls Division, first-round leaders Park and Liao each shot 1-under par 71 after opening rounds of 69 to remain in a tie for the lead.

Park said she is going to switch up her daily tournament routine to prepare for the final round. After a day on the course she usually spends an ample amount of time working on her game trying to tweak her mechanics and perfect some part of her game, but she said she was not going to do that after the second round.

"I am going to try and rest tonight and not practice as much," the 13-year-old said. "Hopefully I can play well tomorrow."

Park finds herself in a familiar place as she won the Callaway Junior All-Star Classic at Midland earlier this summer. She does not expect many nerves on the first tee tomorrow.

"I don't think I am going to be too nervous," Park said. "I will turn my nerves into motivation."

Liao started the round on No. 10 and played her front nine at even par. She played the back side at 1-under and is anxious to get the final round started.

"I have never been in this position in an AJGA tournament before," Liao said.

Liao, 14, playing in her second career AJGA event, bogeyed two of her first three holes before turning things around. She played the par 5s at 2-under-par during the round and said she can play better in the final round.

"I had something like 12 birdie putts today, but it seemed like I only made one of them," Park said.

Final-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, ext. 22.



 
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