HU, EDELMAN, MORRIS IN THREE-WAY TIE FOR LEAD AT PING JUNIOR AT THE WOODLANDS
14-Year-Old Lua Sits Atop Girls Division
THE WOODLANDS, Texas — Mu Hu of Shen Zhen, China, Jeffrey Edelman of Southlake, Texas, and Dustin Morris of Crosby, Texas, share the Boys Division lead at 3-under-par 69 after the first round of the PING Junior at The Woodlands. Tiffany Lua of Rowland Heights, Calif., has a one-stroke lead in the Girls Division.
The 36-hole stroke play event, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center - Panther Trail Course, features 93 boys and 42 girls, ages 12-18, and includes players from 19 states, China, Canada and Mexico.
With his 69, Hu shaved 10 strokes off his score of a year ago at The Woodlands, which is one indicator of how far he has come in a year's time. Hu just returned Thursday night from China, where he competed in the European Tour's TCL Classic. He has previously played three Asian Tour events, making the cut twice and finishing as high as 11th place.
In shooting his 69 Saturday, the 15-year-old Hu hit 15 greens and was never outside 15 feet.
“My score should have been five shots better,” he said. “I was playing great today. I had a lot of chances, but I just didn't make those putts.”
Last year, Hu won two Nike Golf Junior All-Star Series events, including the Nike Golf Junior Championship.
Edelman, a 2004 Rolex Junior All-American as well as an HP Scholastic Junior All-American, shot out of the gate with birdies on three of his first four holes. From there he played even par golf the rest of the way.
“I just hit the ball really well,” the 16-year-old Edelman said. “I didn't hit into any hazards; I kept the ball in play. That's what you have to do out here. If you keep it in the fairway, you can score.”
Edelman won the AJGA Southwestern Junior in 2004.
In his first AJGA tournament, Morris, 17, reeled off five birdies on his front nine to make the turn at 5-under-par 31.
“I was hitting everything close,” Morris said. “Everything was really working today. I just made a few bad decisions.”
Morris gave back several shots on the back side with three bogeys and one double-bogey, but also made a birdie and an eagle to keep his share of the lead.
Last year, in his biggest victory to date, Morris won the 2004 Texas State Junior.
Tied for fourth place, one shot back of the leaders, are Kevin Tway of Edmond, Okla., and Bronson Burgoon of The Woodlands, Texas. Although Burgoon started his round with three straight bogeys, he rallied on the back nine with three birdies and an eagle.
In the Girls Division, 14-year-old Tiffany Lua claimed a one-shot lead by firing an even-par 72.
“I started well with a birdie, but I bogeyed the two par-3s on the front,” Lua said. “Then I had two birdies on the back, but made bogey on the last hole. I was able to save a lot of holes by getting up and down for par.”
Tied for second at 1-over-par 73, Christine Kim of Pahoa, Hawaii, and Diana Cantu of Monterrey, Mexico, trail Lua by one shot. Stefanie Page of The Woodlands, Texas, and Jenny Kim of Los Angeles are tied for fourth at 2-over-par 74.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The largest association of its kind, the AJGA has a junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which enters its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
The PING Junior at The Woodlands concludes Sunday at The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center - Panther Trail Course, with tee times running from 7 a.m. to 12:51 p.m.
For more information about the PING Junior at The Woodlands, please contact AJGA Tournament Headquarters at (281) 364-6755.