CHOE AND LIM CLAIM FIRST
Cochran shoots course record 62
TUCSON, Ariz. - Thirteen-year-old Esther
Choe of La Quinta, Calif., carded a 72 Thursday en route to
claiming her first AJGA win at the I.R.I Golf Group Arizona
National. Amie Cochran of Torrance, Calif., shot a course
record 9-under-par 62 as she tied for second. The 9-under-par
62 also ties an AJGA tournament record for lowest round set
by Leigh Anne Hardin in 1997. In the Boys Division, Daniel
Lim of Gilroy, Calif., also claimed his first AJGA win with
an impressive 11-under-par 202 for the tournament.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the 54-hole event was held at the par-71 Arizona National. The field features 84 players, ages 13-18, from seven states and Mexico, and includes 10 Tucson residents.
Cochran did all she could to catch up to Choe, but Choe's consistency paid off. Choe tallied a tournament total 2-under-par 211 with rounds of 69-70-72. Thursday's round of 72 included three birdies and four bogeys.
"I hit the ball pretty well today, but my putts weren't falling," remarked Choe.
Despite her putting troubles, which caused all four bogies, Choe kept her cool and claimed victory.
"It's very exciting to win an AJGA event because I've always wanted to win one. I just didn't know that it would come so quickly."
Choe's best finish prior to Tucson came at the 2003 Sprint Junior Championship hosted by the Las Vegas Founders where she took third.
Cochran's course record 62 broke Susie Redman's women's course record of 65 at Arizona National. Cochran carded an eagle on the 518-yard par-5 fifth hole and totaled seven birdies with zero bogeys for the round. She also hit all 18 greens in regulation, missing only one fairway. Cochran's 62 brought her tournament total to 215.
"My goal today was to make birdies," Cochran said. "I was just putting lights out; it was crazy. Everything really came together today."
Cochran claimed her first AJGA victory on June 26th in at the 2003 Lennar Junior at Mission Hills.
First round leader Nicole Smith of Riverside, Calif., carded a 68 on her way to a tournament total of 215, tying Cochran for second.
In the Boys Division, Thursday's theme of firsts continued as Daniel Lim carded a 6-under-par 65 on his way to his first AJGA win. Lim's previous best finish came at the 2001 Marsico Funds Colorado Junior Roundup where he placed seventh.
Lim birdied four out of the last six holes coming down the stretch, including a birdie on No. 18 to claim victory.
"I was really nervous coming down the stretch today," commented Lim. "It's just great to win an AJGA event. I've been working really hard on my game and it feels good to see it pay off."
Lim was tied for fifth place coming in to today's round after carding a 69 on Tuesday and a 68 on Wednesday.
"I started out decent today by trying to par every hole," Lim said. "I knew the birdies would come."
The birdies did come as the 16-year-old carded six birdies compared to zero bogeys for the round.
"I worked hard on my putting last night because my goal was to make all of my birdie opportunities today," remarked Lim. "I kept the ball in play all day and never saw the desert."
Second round leader Kyle Dowden of Somis, Calif., and Danny Buell of San Carlos, Calif., tied for second place with a tournament total of 204. Laguna Niguel, Calif., native, Cameron Tringale and first round leader Max Schechter of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., finished with tournament totals of 205, good for fourth.
For more information on the AJGA I.R.I Golf Group Arizona National or any AJGA event, please contact the association's national headquarters at (770) 868-4200.
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