TOM EMERGES WITH 4-UNDER-PAR 68; CLINGS TO 1-STROKE LEAD
Kim grabs lead in Girls Division with 3-under-par at Diablo Grande
DIABLO GRANDE, Calif. – Patrick Tom of Norwalk, Calif., fired a 4-under-par 68 on Tuesday, taking a 1-shot lead over a close Boys Division at the PING Junior at Diablo Grande. After the first round, thirteen players are within three strokes of the leader. Jenny Kim of Los Angeles, took an early 3-stroke lead in the Girls Division, with her round of 3-under-par 69.
The PING Junior at Diablo Grande, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, features 91 boys and 29 girls — ages 12-18 — from 11 states. The event is being staged on the 6,919-yard, par-72 Diablo Grande - Legends West Course (Girls Division played at 5,858).
17-year-old Tom used a balanced attack of long drives, close approaches, and solid putting to get to 4-under. After making a bogey to start his day on No. 1, he sank birdie putts on two of his next three holes. He then made par on four consecutive holes, before a long birdie putt on No. 9 moved him to 2-under on the front nine.
On the back nine, Tom moved to 5-under-par through No. 15. He couldn't find the green off the tee of the 175-yard, par-3 No. 16. Tom chipped on the green, and proceeded to make double-bogey. After falling to 3-under par, Tom stuck his approach on No. 18 to within four feet. He went on to birdie the hole, ending his rollercoaster round at 4-under-par.
Tom finds himself in an unfamiliar position atop the leader board.
“I usually play really bad my first day,” Tom laughed. “But I came in relaxed, and it paid off.”
Tom knows the competition will be tough. He is neither intimidated nor nervous heading into the rest of the tournament.
“Finishing top-5 would be cool,” thought Tom. “But really, I just want to have fun this week.”
Six players are locked in a tie for second at 69. Nipping at the heels of the leader are Peter Singh of Hollister, Calif., Bryce Holloway of Bakersfield, Calif., Aaron Smith of Westlake Village, Calif., Tim Cha of Chino Hills, Calif., Dustin Rhone of Culver City, Calif., and David Zeuske of Coto de Caza, Calif.,
Kim's putter paced her throughout the day, as she made long birdie putts on holes No. 2 and 7. Her round included four birdies and only one bogey.
Despite her first round success, she knows she can improve in the days to come.
“My putting was pretty good,” the 15-year-old said. “But I still missed five birdie chances.”
Kim finds herself leading an AJGA event for the first time. However she knows what it is like to be in contention, as she came in second at the PING Junior at the Woodlands earlier this season.
“I feel kind of nervous, but I also feel confident” said Kim. “This time I don't have to catch up to anyone.”
Trailing Kim in second is Mia Kabasakalis of Alameda, Calif., at 72. In third place, Ashley Johnson of Bellflower, Calif., rests five strokes off the lead at 74.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The largest Association of its kind, the AJGA has a junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch, USA, which enters its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 160 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 300 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
Second-round tee times will begin Wednesday at 7:09 a.m. off the No.1 tee at Diablo Grande - Legends West Course.
For more information about the PING Junior at Diablo Grande, contact tournament headquarters at (209) 892-3968 ext. 206.