SAPP LEADS BOYS DIVISION
WITH FIRST-ROUND 68
Choi and Tangtiphaiboontana tie course record 71
VANDENBERG AFB, Calif. - Garrett Sapp,
17, of Cerritos, Calif., shot a 4-under-par 68 en route to
a 3-stroke lead in the Boys Division at the Marshallia Ranch
Junior Classic. Minnie Choi of Fountain Valley, Calif., and
Jennifer Tangtiphaiboontana of Long Beach, Calif., share the
lead in the Girls Division after posting matching scores of
1-under-par 71 to tie the course record.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the 54-hole event is being held at the par-72 Marshallia Ranch Golf Course. The field features 84 players, ages 13-18, representing nine states, Australia, and Canada.
Sapp took a commanding lead Tuesday after firing 68. Rebounding from a rough start, Sapp carded three birdies despite a bogey on the first hole, to bring him 2-under-par after five holes. Sapp continued his steady play until Nos. 15 and 16 where he carded back-to-back birdies, taking him 4-under-par for the day. Sapp credits his iron-play and a little luck for his opening-round success.
"I hit a lot of greens today, but I also
had a lot of lucky bounces." Sapp said.
Sapp is looking to improve on his AJGA career-best finish, a recent third place showing at the Lennar Junior at Mission Hills.
"I just want to stay around even-par; that should be enough to do it," Sapp said about possibly winning the event. "I'm not trying to go too low here, I just want to stay in the fairway and avoid trouble."
Eleven California natives with rounds of 71 follow Sapp in second. Colin Wilcox of Camarillo, Jeff Vetterick of Rancho Santa Fe, Christopher Gregoire and Cameron DeVries of Santa Barbara, Doug Fortner of Tustin, Billy Moon of Irvine, Lucas Lee of Torrance, Aaron Goldberg of Encinitas, Austin Wang of Rancho Palos Verdes, Brandon Christianson of Valencia, and defending champion, Louie Bishop of Murrieta all shot 1-under-par.
Leaders, Choi and Tangtiphaiboontana earned honorary recognition at the Marshallia Ranch Golf Course as they posted scores of 1-under-par 71 to tie the previous course record set by Grace Woo in the 2002 Marshallia Ranch Junior Classic.
Choi played well, carding one bogey compared to two birdies Tuesday. Hitting every fairway and 16 greens in regulation, Choi says her long-game was exceptional, although her putting was not in sync.
"This course is playing short for the girls, and even though the fairways are narrow, it's pretty forgiving from the girls tees," Choi said. "I'm hitting my irons really well right now, so putting will be the key for me on this course the rest of the week."
Tangtiphaiboontana, a Stanford University signee, also shot 1-under-par, making three birdies despite two bogeys on the back nine.
She looks to capitalize on her strong iron-play and hopes to convert more birdie-putts as the week progresses.
"Putting is going to be key on this course," remarked Tangtiphaiboontana. "If you can putt, you can score low here. I'm hitting the ball well, but I wanted more birdies today."
With four second-place finishes in her AJGA career, Tangtiphaiboontana leads the field for the first time and looks to take home her first AJGA victory this
"It's nice to be in the lead; hopefully I can hold on to it" Tangtiphaiboontana said. "I'd like to win, but I can't control everything."
One-stroke behind the leaders, Soo Cho of Glendale, Calif., and Allison Goodman of San Diego, are tied for third with matching rounds of even-par, 72.
Second-round action begins at 6:30 a.m. PDT Wednesday off Nos. 1 and 10 at Marshallia Ranch Golf Course. For more information about the AJGA Marshallia Ranch Junior Classic, please call tournament headquarters at (805) 606-6262.
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