MISSION HILLS DESERT JUNIOR
Srixon Qualifier Series
Mission Hills Country Club - Palmer Course
Rancho Mirage, Calif. • June 24, 2007
 

CHEN SHOOTS QUALIFIER-LOW 3-UNDER-PAR 67 AT WESTIN MISSION HILLS RESORT

Barajas and Nicanor take medalist honors in Boys Division of Srixon Qualifier

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Justine Chen of Lake Forest, Calif., shot a tournament-low 3-under-par 67 Sunday on the Pete Dye Course at the Westin Mission Hills Resort to earn medalist honors in the Srixon Qualifier for the Mission Hills Desert Junior. Bobby Barajas of Santa Maria, Calif., and Robert Nicanor of San Diego, Calif., each shot 2-under-par 68 in the Boys Division to earn medalist honors and qualify to play in the open championship that begins Tuesday at the Mission Hills Country Club – Dinah Shore Tournament Course.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Mission Hills Desert Junior Srixon Qualifier was an 18-hole stroke play event featuring 80 boys and 20 girls with a total of 96 players from California. The qualifier was held on the par-70 Pete Dye Course with the Boys tees set at 6,553 yards and the Girls tees set at 5,768.

Chen drained five birdies and make only two bogeys in Sunday’s qualifier to finish five strokes ahead of the next competitor. Chen said her 67 was not her lowest score ever, but she was more than happy to walk away with the top spot in the Qualifier.

“My putting was really good today,” Chen said. “I’m just going to try to stay in the fairways during the championship and hope to shoot another 67.”

Stephanie Kim of Phoenix, Ariz., Li-Ting Weng of Hacienda Heights, Calif., and Hsien-Wen Huang of Fengyuan City, Taiwan, all qualified to play in the Mission Hills Desert Junior with Chen.

Alison Lee of Valencia, Calif., and Beverly Vatananugulkit of Cerritos, Calif., also qualified for the championship, but chose to accept one Tournament Exemption instead of participating in the event.

In the Boys Division, Barajas made two birdies and did not bogey a single hole on his way to a spot in his first AJGA open event. He said he has won other junior events, but never against such competition.

"I used to play smaller events with some good players, but in AJGA events every player can shoot low scores,” Barajas said. “My game plan today was to score lower than five on every hole, and that is what I will need to do in the tournament as well.”

Nicanor also earned medalist honors, but chose to take one Tournament Exemption in lieu of playing in the Mission Hills Desert Junior. Although he will not be playing in the event later in the week, Nicanor said his performance Sunday will boost his confidence for future tournaments.

“I just felt relaxed and made putts today,” Nicanor said. “It gave me so much confidence for my next tournament knowing that I can shoot low.”

Other qualifiers in the Boys Division include Bradford Thomas of San Anselmo, Calif., Kyle Kumagai of Villa Park, Calif., Cole Eby of Dana Point, Calif., Graham Brockington of Laguna Niguel, Calif., Matthew Siporin of Tarzana, Calif., Jay Myers of San Jose, Calif., Jeff Galloway of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., John Huh of Montrose, Calif., and Alexander Choi of Beverly Hills, Calif.

Also choosing to take a Tournament Exemption rather than participate in the event are Jake Katz of Thousand Oaks, Calif., Eugene Lee of Temecula, Calif., Crescencio Ancheta III of Lancaster, Calif., Seiji Liu of Beverly Hills, Calif., Nick Thomas of Westlake Village, Calif., Taylor Keddington of Newport Beach, Calif., and Cameron Tennant of Woodland Hills, Calif.

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 49 states and 30 foreign countries.

SRIXON Sports USA, Inc., based in Lawrenceville, Ga., has been distributing premium golf balls and equipment in the U.S. since 1997 and is a subsidiary of SRI Sports Limited. SRI Sports Limited is the number one golf club manufacturer in the world's second largest market, Japan, and is one of the world's leading patent holders in golf ball technology. SRIXON golf balls earned 26 tournament victories on multiple professional tours around the world in 2006.

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 Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.

The first round of Mission Hills Desert Junior will begin Tuesday with 6:30 a.m. starting times off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees.For more information about the Mission Hills Desert Junior, contact tournament headquarters at (760) 324-9400.

 
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