AJGA PING JUNIOR AT SUNRIVER
Sunriver Resort, Meadows Course
August 26-29, 2003
LEE, JOHNS CLINCH FIRST CAREER AJGA TITLES IN SUNRIVER
AJGA PING Junior at Sunriver Resort crowns champions at inaugural event
SUNRIVER, Ore. - Not even cool breezy conditions could stop Lucas Lee of Torrance, Calif., (65-69-68-202) and Oregon native Stephanie Johns of Ashland (69-73-74-216) in achieving their ultimate goal Friday; winning their first national title at the AJGA PING Junior at Sunriver Resort in their respective divisions.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the PING Junior at Sunriver Resort featured players from eight states, including 16 from the home state of Oregon. The 54-hole tournament was held on the par-71 layout of the Meadows Course at Sunriver Resort.
This week the 16-year-old Lee was originally scheduled to participate in the AJGA's event in British Columbia until its sudden cancellation due to uncontrollable forest fires. Eager to play in an AJGA event before the AJGA Nike Golf Junior All-Star Series Championship over Labor Day weekend, Lee decided to participate in the AJGA PING Junior at Sunriver Resort's qualifier, in hopes of gaining entry into the tournament.
"I really wanted to play this week to get me ready for the Nike Golf Junior All-Star event," Lee said. "When the event in Canada was cancelled, I heard that there were openings in this qualifier and I immediately signed up."
In the qualifier, the 2005 high school graduate tied for third with a 1-under-par 70 to earn him a spot in the tournament field, and eventually his first-ever AJGA win.
"I am happy right now," he said. "My first tournament this season was in Phoenix at the Heather Farr Classic. When I was there, I was determined to win an AJGA event so that I could play in the AJGA Thunderbird International Junior. I can't believe that I actually won. I am speechless."
In order to achieve his initial goal from the beginning of the season, he came into Friday's final round with one strategy in mind; just to remain calm.
"When I am on the course, I try to act like Ben Curtis because when he plays, he never panics, even after making a mistake," Lee said. "I like to play simple."
Lee did just that. He carded birdies on Nos. 2, 5, 8 and 17 to give him a seven-stroke win over his closest competitor, fellow California native Nick Geyer of Agoura Hills, who finished the tournament at 209.
Standing alone in third place with solid rounds of 70-71-70-211 was another California native, Sasan Shahi of Laguna Niguel. Rounding out the Boys Division with a three-day total of 212 were Washington native Brady Sharp of Port Orchard and Matt Marshall of Los Gatos, Calif.
In the Girls Division, Johns led wire-to-wire. Her plan of attack for the final day was to be consistent and maintain her lead.
The 2005 high school graduate's position narrowed as Washington native Kim Shin of Shoreline eagled the 499-yard, par-5 No. 10, giving Johns only a one-stroke advantage.
"Her eagle was huge. I just knew that we were going to have a playoff," the 16-year-old said. "I told myself that I needed par or better on the back nine."
Shin pulled even with Johns after 12 holes, but with a bogey on No. 13, Johns reclaimed the lead. Putting on the pressure, a birdie on No. 17 by Shin sent the pair to the final hole tied. With a par on No. 18, Johns's claimed the championship in her first AJGA event.
"I am so excited right now," she said. "This really feels good and is a great way to end the season."
California natives Allison Goodman of San Diego and Jennifer Yoo of Cerritos tied for third at 219.
For more information on the AJGA PING Junior at Sunriver Resort or any other AJGA event, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.