RHONE ALONE ATOP THE LEADERBOARD AT THE NIKE GOLF JUNIOR AT MARSHALLIA
Park's 70 keeps her in the lead for the second straight day
LOMPOC, Calif. — Dustin Rhone of Culver City, Calif., sits comfortably in the lead after the second day of play at the Nike Golf Junior at Marshallia. With a 5-under-par 67, he has a 4-stroke lead in the Boys Division going into the final round. In the Girls Division, Kristen Park of Buena Park, Calif., continues to lead the field with her dominant play. Her two-day tournament total of 143 leads the pack by nine-strokes.
The Nike Golf Junior at Marshallia, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, features 80 boys and 15 girls — ages 12-15 — from nine states and three foreign countries. The event is being staged on the 6,561-yard, par-72 Marshallia Ranch Golf Course (Girls Division played at 5,518).
After beginning the day by going 3-under-par on the front nine, it was Rhone's final four holes that gave him the momentum he was looking for going into the final day of play. Rhone made a 16-foot uphill putt on No. 15, giving him a birdie and putting him at 5-under. After making a bogey on No. 17, Rhone finished the day strong with a birdie on No. 18.
Following up his 68 from Tuesday with a 67, Rhone has control of the lead going into the final round for the first time in his AJGA career.
“I hope to continue playing like I've been playing,” said the 15-year-old. “I have a lot of confidence after my [third place] finish last week in Diablo Grande and will hopefully build on that.”
In second place is Andrew Perez of Oxnard, Calif., with a 139. Ronnald Monaco of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., is alone in third with a 140. Rounding out the top five in the Boys Division with two-day totals of 144 are Evan Emerick of Oceanside, Calif., and Byeong-hun An of Seongnam, South Korea.
On Wednesday, 12-year-old Park knew that she was putting well and put it to good use. After coming within a few feet of a hole-in-one on the 169-yard, par-3 No. 7, she made the birdie-putt and finished the front nine at 2-under-par. She went on to play an even back nine, leaving the competition with a lot of ground to cover on Thursday.
Playing in the first AJGA event of her career, Park feels good about the position she has put herself in for Thursday.
“It feels good to be leading right now,” she said. “I feel much more confident than I did yesterday and look forward to playing tomorrow.”
In second place is Ashley Johnson of Bellflower, Calif., with a two-day total of 152. Tied for third with two-day totals of 154 are Rebecca Song of Fullerton, Calif., and Rachel Morris of Carlsbad, Calif.
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.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 160 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 300 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
Final-round tee times for the Nike Golf Junior at Marshallia will begin at 7:00 a.m. off the No. 1 tee.
For more information about the Nike Golf Junior at Marshallia, contact tournament headquarters at (805) 606-6262.