AJGA LENNAR JUNIOR AT MISSION
Mission Hills Country Club, Palmer Course
Rancho Mirage, California
June 23-26, 2003
IM CAPTURES TITLE WITH FINAL-ROUND
Cochran wins in sudden-death playoff
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif.- Daniel Im of
La Habra, Calif., rallied on the back nine of his final round
to win the title at the Lennar Junior at Mission Hills. Matching
the tournament record, Im shot an 8-under-par 64 to clinch
the tournament victory at a 54-hole total of 204. Amie Cochran
of Torrance, Calif., took top honors in the Girls Division
after defeating Ki-Shui Liao of Alameda, Calif., on the second
hole of a sudden-death playoff. Cochran and Liao finished
the tournament with matching totals of even-par 216.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Lennar Junior at Mission Hills marks the 22nd annual tournament at the Mission Hills Country Club and is the longest-running tournament on the AJGA schedule. The 54-hole event featured 84 boys and girls from 11 states and Canada.
Entering the final round four strokes behind the leader, Im shot his personal best score to tie the tournament record of 8-under-par 64; set in the first round by Jason Kang of Torrance, Calif., bringing him to 12-under-par for the tournament.
Im received an update on the leader group after putting out on No. 12, where he was only 3-under. He found out that the leaders were 9-under par for tournament and was determined to catch up.
"I went insane after twelve," Im said. "I knew I could go lower, so I just focused, relaxed and played my game."
Im went birdie, par, eagle, birdie, par and birdie to finish his final six holes and captured his second AJGA tournament title.
"I am proud today," Im said. "Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson won this tournament before me. To be on the same champion list is so cool. This is my best win yet."
Louie Bishop of Murrietta, Calif., took second place honors at 74-67-66-207, with a notable eagle on the par-4 fifth hole.
Wednesday's leader, Chad Moscovic of Stockton, Calif., and Elliott Wainwright of Hillsborough, Calif., finished the tournament at 208, in a four-way-tie for third place with Garrett Sapp of Cerritos, Calif., and Aaron Goldberg of Encinitas, Calif., who came from behind, as they were in 10th and 18th place, respectively after second round play. With nine birdies in the final round,
Goldberg added his name to the tournament record list as he posted a career low 8-under-par 64 in the final round.
After leading the tournament all week, Cochran came into the final round of play with a two-stroke lead over Liao, and her victory looked promising after carding a 1-under-par 35 on the front nine. But Cochran's lead tapered after a 4-hole bogey streak on Nos. 13, 14, 15 and 16. Liao responded with a 3-under-par 33 on the back nine to close the gap.
"The back nine was crazy," Cochran said. "I hit the 4-iron of my life on No. 15 and still managed to make bogey. I just couldn't shake it."
Cochran held it together and finished her final two holes with a par and birdie for a 2-over-par 74, placing her in a tie with Liao, who shot par 72 in her final round. With the victor still in question, the girls were sent back to the 1st tee to determine the champion. After each player made par on the first playoff hole, Cochran buckled down for a birdie on No. 16 to seize the title over Liao.
In her first career AJGA win, Cochran says it was her putting that made the difference in this tournament.
"I practice my putting so hard, and it really paid off this week," she said. "This win is so special for me. I have taken second in enough tournaments, I could probably write a book on how to lose in the final round, but I really came through today. I am so excited."
Ki-Shui Liao conceded on the second playoff hole, notching three rounds of 72. Sydnee Michaels of Temecula, Calif., finished the tournament 4-over-par at 220 for third place honors.
For more information on the Lennar Junior at Mission Hills or other AJGA events, please call AJGA headquarters at (760) 324-9400.