AJGA NIKE GOLF JUNIOR ALL-STAR SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP
Langdon Farms Golf Club
August 29 – September 1, 2003
KIM, SAKURAI CLAIM AJGA NIKE GOLF
JUNIOR ALL-STAR SERIES TOP HONORS
Sakurai wins first AJGA title in sudden-death playoff for Girls Division title
AURORA, Ore. — The ink is now dry as another line has been officially added to the American Junior Golf Association’s Nike Golf Junior All-Star Series history books. California native Sihwan Kim of La Mirada and Yuki Sakurai of Kyoto, Japan, were crowned the 2003 champions of the fourth annual AJGA Nike Golf Junior All-Star Series Championship on Labor Day.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the 54-hole national golf tournament featured 77 boys and girls (13-15 year olds) representing 26 states, Canada and Japan. The event was held at the par-71 layout of Langdon Farms Golf Club. To qualify for this season-ending championship, the participants needed to garner top finishes in 2003 Nike Golf Junior All-Star Series events.
Kim (69-75-70—214), who claimed his second consecutive victory after winning the AJGA PING Phoenix Junior Championship, started the final round with a bogey on the par-4, 405-yard first hole.
“My confidence was pretty low during the first few holes,” he said. “But, after leaving my second shot three feet from the hole on No.4 for birdie, I was feeling much better about my game.”
Due to the breezy conditions, Kim’s overall strategy was to play his game; which he did.
“It was really windy out there and it did not help that the greens were so hard,” the high school freshman said. “I concentrated on my short game because chipping is usually my strongest aspect.”
Kim’s performance peaked at the turn as he had carded eight pars in-a-row and then finished the round with a birdie on the par-5, 514-yard No. 18.
Kim, who was paired in the second-to-last group in the Boys Division, did not even know that he was in contention for the tournament honors.
“I didn’t think I had a chance of winning,” he said. “I am so excited right now. This feels great.”
One-stroke behind Kim at 215 were Case Cochran of Paducah, Ky., and Mu Hu of Bradenton, Fla., while California natives Alex Resurreccion of Long Beach and Daniel Miller of Santa Maria round out the Boys Division with three-day totals of 216.
In the Girls Division, Sakurai claimed her first AJGA title in dramatic fashion as she won on the first hole sudden-death playoff on the par-4, 371-yard 16th hole against fellow Japan native Ami Nakagawa of Osaka.
“I am very happy with my win,” Sakurai said. “I concentrated very hard on my driver yesterday at the driving range and it definitely helped.”
Nakagawa (74-75-77—226) finished in second place and Florida native So-Hyun Park carded rounds of 85-75-74—234 for third.
For more information on the AJGA Nike Golf Junior All-Star Series Championship, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200, or visit the American Junior Golf Association’s Web site at ajga.org.