Country Club of New Seabury, Dunes Course
Mashpee, Massachusetts
August 26-29, 2002

Yi picks up first national victory in her second event

MASHPEE, Mass. - David Merkow has been on a roll all summer and he did not let up at the AJGA SLI Junior Classic at New Seabury Thursday, capturing his second win of the season. In the Girls Division, Songyi Yi was able to hold on for her first career title.

The 54-hole event, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, was held on the par-70 layout of the Dunes Course at the Country Club of New Seabury. The national event featured 84 players, ages 13-18, representing 21 states.

Merkow, of Hartland, Wis., was able to maintain his second-round lead by firing a 2-over-par 72 in the windy conditions for a three-round total of 2-over-par 212.

"Of the three (tournament) days, I hit the ball best today," the 17-year-old said. "Putting and chipping can cause you to lose strokes and I did not make the putts today. I had a lot of tap-in pars and my longest putt was from about five feet on No. 18."

He played the front nine well, making the turn at 1-under-par, but struggled down the stretch, carding three bogeys in the final eight holes.

"I was just trying to keep my head in because I knew with conditions like this, one errant shot could be a two-stroke penalty," he said. "I didn't let my guard down. I didn't feel that I was firing on all cylinders with every shot and I was constantly having to look out."

Merkow was very pleased with the win after making a triple-bogey on the first hole of the tournament Tuesday. He is getting used to the winner's circle, though, after taking top honors at the only other non-invitational AJGA event he has played, the AJGA Marsh Kansas City Junior.

Two strokes back at 214 in second place was Shawn Warren of Windham, Mass. David May of Auburn, N.Y., finished third at 219, while David Dragoo of Scottsdale, Ariz., and John Sawin of Haverford, Pa., tied for fourth at 220.

In the Girls Division, Yi, of San Diego, Calif., was able to hold off a late charge from Anna Grzebien of Narragansett, R.I., by carding a 5-over-par 75 for a three-round total of 224 in just her second AJGA tournament.

"The key to my game today was my chipping," Yi, 15, said. "I hit it close to the hole and I made several key saves. If I missed the green, I made the save.

"My driver on the back nine was great," she continued. "I never missed a fairway."

Grzebien finished one stroke back at 225, carding the low final round of 73. Marina Choi of Los Angeles finished third at 227.

For more information on the SLI Junior Classic at New Seabury or the AJGA, please contact the Association's national headquarters at (770) 868-4200.

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