CHIEN SHOOTS 65 IN COME-FROM-BEHIND VICTORY AT PING PHOENIX JUNIOR
Johnson wins sixth career AJGA Open at Moon Valley Country Club
PHOENIX — Sam Chien of San Diego, Calif., shot a low round 65 Friday in the PING Phoenix Junior at Moon Valley Country Club to win by two strokes with a three-day total of 15-under-par 201. Jennifer Johnson of La Quinta, Calif., was tied for the lead in the Girls Division entering the final round and won by three strokes at 12-under-par 204 for her second AJGA Open victory in a row, and the sixth in her career.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the PING Phoenix Junior featured 57 boys and 27 girls, ages 12-18. Fifteen states and three foreign countries were represented, with 36 players out of California. The event was staged on the par-72 Moon Valley Country Club course with boys tees set at 7,210 yards and girls tees set at 6,325 yards.
Chien, currently No. 66 in the Polo Golf Rankings, was four strokes behind after the second round. He made three birdies on the front nine to close the gap, but drained five birdies on the back to seal his second victory of his career.
“I played solid and made a couple of good shots,” Chien said. “With this course set-up, you have to make a lot of birdies to win. Luckily I was able to do that.”
Sam Smith of Turlock, Calif., finished in second place at 13-under-par 203, and Tom Lo of Los Angeles finished in third place at 12-under-par 204. Troy Anderson of Paradise Valley, Ariz., took fourth placed at 10-under-par 206, and tied for fifth were Nicholas Losole III of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Aaron Sherry of Fort Myers, Fla., at 9-under-par 207.
In the Girls Division, Johnson said there was not much that could shake her confidence during the PING Phoenix Junior. She birdied three holes in a row before recording a bogey on No. 6 on Friday, and continued to record two more birdies on the back nine to card a 4-under-par 68.
“I made up six strokes on the final day in another tournament this summer, so I knew I had a chance the whole time,” Johnson said. “I just stuck to my own game plan and tried not to let my group influence my shot-making decisions.”
In second place was Danielle Frasier of Encinitas, Calif., at 9-under-par 207, and Cheyenne Woods of Phoenix finished in third place at 8-under-par 208.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth an 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 an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 25 foreign countries.
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.
For more information about the PING Phoenix Junior, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200, or visit ajga.org.