Weant Beats the Heat to Take Second-Round Lead at PING Phoenix Junior
Kim Strings Together Birdies to Surge Ahead into Final Round
PHOENIX, Ariz. — Hallsville, Texas, native Nathan Weant proved heat is no problem. He sits atop the leaderboard at 7-under-par 137 after the second round of the PING Phoenix Junior at Moon Valley Country Club. Breaking a first-round four-way tie for first and taking the lead in the Girls Division is local favorite Kyung Kim of Chandler, Ariz. Kim carded a 6-under-par 66 on the day, bringing her to a tournament total of 2-under-par 142.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the PING Phoenix Junior is a 54-hole stroke play event held at Moon Valley Country Club. The 78-player field features players from 11 states, Canada, Columbia and Switzerland. The Boys Division is playing the par-72 course at 7,210 yards while the Girls Division is playing at 6,373 yards.
In his third AJGA tournament, Weant is proving he belongs on top of the leaderboard. Early saves on the front nine helped him gain momentum throughout his round.
“My short game really worked well for me today,” Weant said. “I hit it within four feet on No. 9 to go 2-under-par into the turn.”
Weant had four birdies on the day, and finished strong with a birdie on No. 17.
“I've been working on my impact position for the past 6-7 months and it's finally starting to come around,” Weant said.
Tied for second in the Boys Division are Jason Chen of Brea, Calif., and Trey Kaahanui of Tempe, Ariz., with 4-under-par 140. Tuscon, Ariz., natives Alex McMahon and Matt McClure currently sit at a tie for fourth with fellow competitor Kevin Lee of Cerritos, Calif at 2-under-par 142.
In the Girls Division, Kim is looking for her first AJGA win of the year, with a fourth place finish at both the Winn Grips Heather Farr Classic hosted by Longbow Golf Club and the Under Armour® / Vicky Hurst Championship. Kim showed consistent play throughout the round, tallying six birdies on the day, including back-to-back birdies on Nos. 3-4 and Nos. 7-8.
“I saved par on the first hole from the bunker and it really gave me confidence going into the round, especially with the short putts,” Kim, who is ranked No. 37 in the Polo Golf Rankings, said. “I was hitting the ball solid and making good putts. Everything just clicked.”
Jenny Hahn of Henderson, Nev., is in second place at 1-over-par 145 while Anna Kim of Chandler, Ariz., sits in third place at 2-over-par 146.
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 provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 30 countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.
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. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 400 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.
Final-round tee times will run from 6:30 — 8:18 a.m off Nos. 1 and 10 tees Thursday, June 10. For more information on the PING Phoenix Junior, contact tournament headquarters at 678-617-9917.