Choi Outlasts Pineda in Playoff to Win Montverde Academy Junior All-Star Invitational
Shieh claims Boys Division honors at Mission Inn Resort & Club
Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. — San Diego native Hee Wook Choi just got better as the Montverde Academy Junior All-Star Invitational progressed. Besting her score by two strokes each day, she came from behind to force a playoff with Tatiana Pineda of Bogota, Colombia, claiming the title on the third hole. Hayden Shieh of Fremont, Calif., topped off a successful week with a 2-under-par 69 and his first AJGA win, defeating his competitors in the Boys Division by three strokes.
The Montverde Academy Junior All-Star Invitational was a 54-hole stroke play event held on the Las Colinas Course at Mission Inn Resort & Club. The 78-player field was made up of junior boys and girls, ages 12-15, who have had success in this season's Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series. In all, 20 states were represented along with players from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. The Boys Division played the par-71 course at 6,582 yards while the Girls Division played at 5,663.
Choi surged ahead after a 4-under-par performance on the front nine that included back-to-back birdies on Nos. 2 and 3.
“I made a couple great long putts early on, including a 15-footer on the par-4 No. 3,” Choi said. “The front nine really gave me confidence because I knew I could perform on the back.”
Paired together in the final round, Choi had the lead over Pineda until a bogey on No. 17 had left tied going into the par-5 18th. Both stuck their approach shots to within eight feet and made par to force a sudden-death playoff.
It took three holes and a birdie putt by the 15-year-old to crown her champion for the second time in 2010.
“This win will really help me move on to the next level,” Choi said. “I know I can play with these juniors and to fly home to California with a win feels really good.”
Pineda goes home with second-place honors after shooting a 1-under-par 70.
“I've been working very hard so I'm happy with the way I played this week,” Pineda said.
Both Pineda and Choi shot tournament totals of even-par 213. Rounding out the top three in the Girls Division is Rachel Dai of Suwanee, Ga., with a tournament total of 3-over-par 216.
In the Boys Division, Shieh continued steady play to take home his first AJGA win with a tournament total of 5-under-par 208, tallying five birdies on the day.
“This is a huge win for me,” said Shieh. “I'm hoping to start getting college coaches interested in my game and good scores and an AJGA Invitational win will help.”
Alone in second place was Davis Riley of Hattiesburg, Miss., who fired a 4-under-par 67 to move up the leaderboard with a tournament total of 2-under-par 211. Tom Nettles of McMurray, Pa., and Colin Proctor of Anderson, Ind., shared third place with even-par 213 performances. Forrest Gamble of Birmingham, Ala., and Joshua Martin of Pinehurst, N.C., both went home with fifth-place honors at 1-over-par 214.
Founded in 1912, Montverde Academy is an independent college preparatory school located in Montverde, Florida. The Academy prepares junior golfers, student athletes and students from across the world with world-class academics and nationally-recognized athletic programs.
Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, a full-time signature golf instruction program located in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., began as an Official Partner of the AJGA in 2009. The partnership features an endowment of an Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant and the naming rights to the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series.
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 Montverde Academy Junior All-Star Invitational, please contact AJGA Headquarters at 770-868-4200.