HAN WINS FIFTH AJGA TITLE OF THE SEASON,
BESTS LARSEN IN PLAYOFF Martin holds on to win Girls Division by three
TEMPE, Ariz. - Seung Su Han of Chino Hills, Calif.,
drilled a seven-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to force a sudden-death
playoff with good friend and Canon Cup teammate Kevin Larsen
of Santa Barbara, Calif., at the AJGA PING Phoenix Junior
Championship. The two headed back to the 471-yard, par-4 18th-the
hole that has played the most difficult all week-to decide
a winner. Han's par was good enough to secure his fifth AJGA
title of the season. In the Girls Division, Allison Martin
of Bakersfield, Calif., built a four-shot cushion after the
first two rounds and then cruised to a three-stroke victory
with a final-round, 3-over-par 75.
The 54-hole tournament, conducted by the American Junior Golf
Association, featured 84 players representing 12 states and
Canada. Fifteen participants call Arizona home. It was held
at the par-72 Arizona State University Karsten Golf Course.
Past champions include PGA TOUR player Tiger Woods (1991)
and LPGA tour players Heather Bowie (1991), Emilee Klein (1992)
and Grace Park (1994, '96).
With the win Han added another impressive line to his resume
for AJGA Player of the Year honors. The 15-year-old began
his torrid run last November when he won the Callaway Golf
Junior All-Star Championship. Han then swept the boys majors
this year by winning the Chrysler Boys Invitational in Greensboro,
N.C in June and the EDS Boys Junior Championship last month
in Dallas. Wedged in between was a four-stroke victory at
the ClubCorp Junior at Mission Hills and he recently helped
the West team retain the coveted Canon Cup.
All of this success has come somewhat as a surprise to Han.
"At the beginning of the year my goal was just to play
in the major tournaments," he said.
Five national titles later, Han (69-69-67-205) can play in
any AJGA tournament he chooses, but winning is not always
at the forefront of his mind.
"At the beginning of the tournament my dad told I had
done a great job this year and to just have fun," Han
said. "I don't think about winning."
That nonchalant approach to the game may tell the whole story
about his success. Han entered the final hole trailing Larsen
by a stroke. He calmly stuck his second shot-a 190-yard 5-iron-to
seven feet. Han drained the putt to force the playoff and
eventually won, but after he hit his approach shot he never
thought he was going to have a chance to pick up his fifth
"I thought I duck-hooked it onto No. 9," Han said.
"I lost the ball, but when people started clapping I
knew it had to be good."
Likewise the composed Han remained collected while standing
over the significant birdie putt.
"I didn't really think about having to make it,"
Han said. "I just hit and it went in."
Larsen garnered second place and Peter Campbell of Encinitas,
Calif., finished in third at 207. Zack Miller of San Rafael,
Calif., earned fourth place at 210 and Jay Choe of Yorba Linda,
Calif., and Casey Clendenon of Katy, Texas tied for fifth
with a three-day total of 215.
In the Girls Division, Martin (70-69-75-214) picked up her
first AJGA win of the season and fourth overall and did so
on a day when she was not playing her best golf.
"I was struggling with my swing today," Martin said.
"I was not real consistent with my driver and irons today,
but I didn't make any real big mistakes today. I was not that
hard on myself today."
Martin, who was a semifinalist in the U.S. Girls Junior Amateur
this year, gained her first AJGA win away from her home state
by scoring well on the par 5s. For the tournament she played
them at 7-under-par, including 2-under for the final round.
The 16-year-old took a little pride back from last year when
she lost her final-round lead to finish second by a stroke.
Martin did not allow that to happen this year as she played
a cautious final round that was good enough to earn her the
"I feel pretty good," Martin said. "I would
feel better if I played better, but I just kept playing and
knew more birdie opportunities would come. My score was not
the best, but it got the job done."
Amie Cochran of Torrance, Calif., finished in second at 217
and Phoenix native Lauren Todd and Angela Park of Torrance,
Calif., tied for third at 218.
For more information on the PING Phoenix Junior Championship
please contact national headquarters at 877-373-2542.
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