MCKENNEY SHOOTS 6-UNDER 65 FOR BOYS DIVISION LEAD
Park takes control of Girls Division with a 67
TEMPE, Ariz. - Tim McKenney of Scottsdale, Ariz., fired a bogey-free 6-under-par 65 to lead the Boys Division of the PING Phoenix Junior on Friday. In the Girls Division, Angela Park of Torrance, Calif., sits atop the leaderboard after carding a 4-under-par 67.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the PING Phoenix Junior is a 54-hole stroke play event being held at the ASU Karsten Golf Course. The tournament features 63 boys and 21 girls, ages 12-18, from 18 states, Canada and Mexico.
McKenney's 65 featured a 32 on the front nine and a 33 on the back side with six birdies and no bogeys. The Arizona native is familiar with the ASU Karsten Golf Course, having played it a number of times, and felt at ease during his round.
“Everything was clicking out there today,” McKenney said. “I felt really comfortable and hit a lot of good shots.”
McKenney, 17, contributed his solid round to his putter and iron play. He needed only 25 putts and hit 13 greens on the day. On hole No. 13, McKenney hit his tee shot in the fairway bunker, leaving him 80 yards from the green. He was able to hit his difficult approach shot onto the green and drain the putt for birdie.
Ryan Thomas of Alameda, Calif., fired a 5-under-par 66 for sole possession of second place. James Dalthorp III of Los Angeles, Calif., and Austin Ehlenfeldt of Beaver Dam, Wis., shot 4-under-par 67s to tie for third place. Levi Garcia of Paso Robles, Calif., Drew Kittleson of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Thomas Robertson of Makawao, Hawaii, are tied for fifth place with 3-under-par 68s.
In the Girls Division, Park was pleased with her steady round, which consisted of a 32 on the front nine and a 35 on the back side with six birdies. The 16-year-old kept her focus on course management and felt extremely confident with her putter.
“I just concentrated on hitting fairways and greens,” Park said. “That's key on this course.”
Park's strategy paid off as she hit 11 fairways and 14 greens and needed 29 putts on the day. She found her stroke early on, carding birdies on three of her first four holes. The run included draining a 15-footer on No. 2, a putt Park said gave her momentum for the rest of the round.
Kimberly Kim of Pahoa, Hawaii, carded a 3-under-par 68 to stand alone in second place. Tied for third place are Patty Chawalitmetha of Bellflower, Calif., Taylore Karle of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Jennifer Johnson of Carlsbad, Calif., after shooting 2-under-par 69s.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501c(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 AJGA, the largest Association of its kind, 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, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 280 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Dottie Pepper, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
Second-round tee times will begin at 6:30 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees on Saturday. For more information about the PING Phoenix Junior, contact tournament headquarters at 480-921-8070.