KAAHANUI, KIM SHARE 6-UNDER-PAR LEAD AT REBATH HEATHER FARR CLASSIC
Frasier leads Girls Division at 2-under-par 69
MESA, Ariz. -- A pair of local players, Trey Kaahanui of Tempe and Chan Kim of Chandler, each fired 6-under-par 65 at Longbow Golf Club to capture the lead in Friday's opening round of the AJGA's 10th annual ReBath Heather Farr Classic. In the Girls Division, Danielle Frasier of Encinitas, Calif., shook off the winter rust to claim the lead at 2-under-par 69.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the ReBath Heather Farr Classic features 138 players from 20 states and Canada, the Cayman Islands and Scotland. The field consists of 90 boys and 48 girls, ages 12-18, and includes 15 Rolex Junior All-Americans. Played at Longbow Golf Club, the par-71 course measures 7,001 yards for the boys and 6,150 yards for the girls.
The 54-hole stroke play event's past champions list includes Hunter Mahan (1999), Philip Francis (2006), Amanda Blumenherst (2002) and Paula Creamer (2003, 2004).
The 14-year-old Kaahanui earned his way into the tournament through Wednesday's qualifier, where he needed a sudden-death playoff to claim the final spot in the field. His success comes on the heels of last weekend's Thunderbird Invitational, in which he tied for first place, but lost in the playoff.
Kaahanui's 6-under-par effort included six birdies against no bogeys, but his round wasn't without peril. On the 451-yard, par-4 first hole, he made birdie after a wayward tee shot left him 160 yards away in the middle of the desert.
"With my 8-iron, I hit a good shot to 3 or 4 feet and made the putt," he said.
After birdies on holes 3, 5 and 6, Kaahanui closed his front side with another birdie at the 538-yard, par-5 ninth. Finding himself behind a greenside bunker with little green between the bunker and the hole, the delicate chip required precision distance.
"I had a hard chip behind the bunker, but I chipped it pretty close and tapped it in," he said.
Tied for the lead is Kaahanui's good friend Chan Kim, who started the day on the 10th hole and reeled off three straight birdies to begin his round. After making the turn at 4-under, Kim made two more birdies to start his back nine.
"I made a 35-footer for birdie at one, and at two, I chipped in for birdie from 10 yards off the green," Kim said.
When Kim finished his round with a birdie on his closing hole, it was his ninth of the day, giving him sole possession of the lead until Kaahanui grabbed a share in the afternoon. Kim, an honorable mention Rolex Junior All-American, is looking for his second AJGA victory, having won the 2007 TomatoBank Southern California Classic.
Two strokes behind Kaahanui and Kim in third place are Jeffrey Kang of Fullerton, Calif., and Ben Itterman of Carlsbad, Calif., at 4-under-par 67, followed by Nicholas Losole III of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Ronnald Monaco of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., at 3-under-par 68.
In the Girls Division, Frasier wasted little time finding her rhythm after a long winter's break.
"I haven't played a tournament since November at the Polo Golf Junior Classic," she said. "I needed a break. It helped me because I was able to practice and take some time off. It took me only one hole to get back in tournament mode."
Starting her day with a bogey on the 522-yard, par-5 10th hole was not what she had in mind.
"I was really nervous and started with a bogey on the par 5, which I wasn't happy about," she said. "I had to calm myself down."
Frasier found her form three holes later when she made birdie on the strength of a 45-foot putt from off the back of the green. In all, she recorded four birdies and two bogeys on the day.
Trailing Frasier in second place are Kyung Kim of Chandler, Ariz., and Victoria Sungmin Park of Irvine, Calif., who carded a 1-under-par 70.
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 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.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
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 ReBath Heather Farr Classic, please contact Steve Ethun in the AJGA Communications Department at (678) 571-7994.
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