Arizona Natives Take Their Second Co-Championship at PING Phoenix Junior
Kaahanui Grabs Boys Division while Kim sits atop of Girls Division
PHOENIX, Ariz. â€” After taking an early lead in the first round at the PING Phoenix Junior, Trey Kaahanui of Tempe, Ariz., pulled away with a tournament total of 6-under-par 210 to grab the No. 1 spot in the Boys Division. With a strong lead from yesterday's second round, Kyung Kim of Chandler, Ariz., secured the win in the Girls Division with a tournament total of 2-under-par 214. The pair is sharing their second co-championship together. Both Kaahanui and Kim took first place at the Winn Grips Heather Farr Classic hosted by Longbow Golf Club in 2008.
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, Columbia and Switzerland. The Boys Division played the par-72 course at 7,210 yards while the Girls Division played at 6,373 yards.
After putting well in the first round to lead the event, Kaahanui focused on improving his long game and making things work off the tee. His strategy helped him come out with his second AJGA win.
â€śThis week, the biggest thing was keeping my tee shots in play; it helped me to not make big scores,â€ť Kaahanui said. â€śEverything I hit was off the ground and my three birdies on Nos. 4, 8 and 9 really helped me keep my numbers low.â€ť
Finishing one stroke behind Kaahanui was Alex McMahon of Tucson, Ariz., who placed second with a 5-under-par 211. Tied for third are Kevin Lee of Cerritos, Calif., and Nathan Weant of Hallsville, Texas, with tournament totals of 4-under-par 212. Kyle Jones of Taylor, Ariz., rounded out the top five of the Boys Division with a 3-under-par 213.
After occupying the ninth position following the first round, Kim quickly climbed her way up the leaderboard to the No. 1 spot in the second round. As a second-team Rolex Junior All-American, this win gives Kim her third AJGA title. She attributes her success today to the several birdie opportunities she set up for herself.
â€śI birdied Nos. 7 and 10, which put me at 2-under-par and really got my momentum going,â€ť Kim said. â€śI was hitting greens and making it easy for me to par. Then No. 16 was really crazy, I thought I was way off, but my ball just kept rolling and stopped 3 feet from the hole and I was able to make par.â€ť
Jenny Hahn of Henderson, Nev., finished two shots back with an even-par 216. Lilia Vu of Fountain Valley, Calif., took third place with a 2-over-par 218.
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.
For more information on the PING Phoenix Junior, contact AJGA National Headquarters at 770 868-4200.