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Cimarron Golf Resort
Cathedral City, California
July 14-17, 2003

Mabanta tops Girls Division

CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. - Matthew Pierce, 14, of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., took the lead Wednesday, with a 3-under-par 68 to garner a 1-stroke advantage at 138. Melissa Mabanta, 14, of Phoenix, fired another 71 and leads the Girls Division at even-par 142.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the 54-hole event is being held at the par-71 Cimarron Golf Resort. The field features 74 players, ages 13-15, from 12 states, including 44 California residents, and Canada.

Starting the day on No. 10, Pierce was 4-under par through 11 holes and after making bogey on No. 3 and a double on No. 7, Pierce finished strong with a birdie on his final hole.

After carding six birdies on the day, Pierce credits his short game for his second-round success.

"My wedges were working well and getting me close," Pierce said. "And I was putting better today."

Going into the final round, Pierce looks to improve on his best AJGA finish, 10th place at the 2003 Chrysler AJGA Boys Junior Invitational.

"I just want to play my game tomorrow and focus on one shot at a time," Pierce said.

Tim McKenney of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Raj Nahal of Longwood, Fla., are currently tied for second. McKenney shot even-par 71 while Nahal carded a 2-under-par 69, bringing their two-round totals to 139. Daniel Miller of Santa Maria, Calif., stands in fourth at 140, after posting a second-round 71. Cerritos, Calif., natives Samuel Kim and Brian Kim are tied for fifth place with two-day totals of 141. Brian Kim shot a 73, while Samuel Kim posted the low-round of the day with a 5-under-par 66.

Consistency has been the key for Mabanta, as she carded another even-par round of 71. Like yesterday, Mabanta used her strong iron-game to match three bogeys with three birdies.

"I'm making great contact with the ball," Mabanta said. "I hit a lot of greens today, but I missed some putts."

Mabanta looks to finish strong tomorrow and earn her first AJGA victory.

"I've never led an AJGA event before," Mabanta added. "But it feels great to be in this position. Hopefully I can keep it up for tomorrow; I want to go lower."

Lila Barton of Dallas, carded a 1-under-par 70 and stands in second at 144 for the tournament, and Sara Hurwitch of Potomac Falls, Va., is in third at 147 after an even-par 71 Wednesday.

The final round of the Nike Golf Junior All-Star Classic at Cimarron begins Thursday with tee times starting at 6:30 a.m. off the first and 10th tees at the Cimarron Golf Resort.

For more information about the AJGA Nike Golf Junior All-Star Classic at Cimarron, please call tournament headquarters at (760) 770-6060.

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