VALDER TAKES WIRE-TO-WIRE VICTORY AT PING PHOENIX JUNIOR
Sanchez wins close to home in Girls Division at Moon Valley Country Club
PHOENIX — Preston Valder of Yorba Linda, Calif., fired a final-round, 4-under-par 68 to take home his first AJGA victory at the PING Phoenix Junior Thursday. In the Girls Division, Daffodil Sanchez of Mesa, Ariz., carded a final-round, 1-under-par 71 to break away from two others and claim a two-stroke win.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the PING Phoenix Junior was a 54-hole stroke play event held at Moon Valley Country Club. The 78 player field featured players from 11 states, Canada, Mexico and Thailand. The Boys Division played the par-72 course at 7,160 yards, while the Girls Division played it at 6,341 yards.
Valder, playing in his third AJGA event of the summer, tasted victory after finishing in the top five in each of the last two AJGA events he has played in. He had his second bogey-free round of the tournament, carding four birdies along the way to a five-stroke victory.
“I feel very accomplished,” Valder said. “Getting a win was my big goal coming into this summer and it feels really good to get it done.”
Jeff Wibawa of Encino, Calif., finished in second place at 8-under-par 208. Tanner Kesterson of Plano, Texas, was third at 6-under-par 210. Paul Otte III of Austin, Texas, and Michael Kim of Del Mar, Calif., tied for fourth place at 5-under-par 211.
Sanchez held off second-round co-leaders Cheynne Hickle of Gilbert, Ariz., and Kaitlin Park of Tustin Ranch, Calif., to earn the second victory of her AJGA career. Her up-and-down day included five birdies and four bogeys, including a birdie on No. 18 that sealed the win.
“It's great to get another win finally, especially so close to home,” Sanchez said. “Today was really bumpy for me, but I got it done and this win is good momentum for the rest of my summer.”
Park and Bonnie Hu of Fremont, Calif., tied for second place at 3-over-par 219.
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 AJGA, the largest Association of its kind, has an annual 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 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 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 350 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.