JAMES LEE TO SHOOT FOR FIFTH CAREER AJGA VICTORY TO CLOSE OUT CAREER
Rah holds three-shot advantage with one round to go at Coto de Caza
COTO DE CAZA, Calif. — With 18 holes left to play in his AJGA career, UCLA signee James Lee of La Habra, Calif., holds a three-shot lead heading into the final round of the Family Toyota/Family Honda Junior presented by The First American Corporation. Lee fired his second consecutive 67, bringing his tournament total to 10-under-par. In the Girls Division, Jane Rah of Torrance, Calif., took control of the tournament, carding a 4-under-par 68, enough to take a three-shot lead into Friday's final round.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the second annual Family Toyota/Family Honda Junior presented by The First American Corporation is being held at Coto de Caza Golf and Racquet Club — South Course. Ninety-nine junior golfers, ages 12-18, are participating in the 54-hole stroke play event. Five states are represented in the tournament field, with 95 junior golfers from California competing.
A three-time Rolex Junior All-American, Lee will be seeking his fifth career AJGA victory and his second straight win at the Family Toyota/Family Honda Junior presented by The First American Corporation Friday. Lee struggled on the front nine during the second round, but exploded on the back side, making birdies on hole Nos. 10 through 13.
“I struck the ball well on the front but kept flying the greens,” Lee said. “I think I was hitting it too good.”
Lee would go on to make a short putt on No. 18, his sixth birdie on the back side, to end the day at 10-under-par for the tournament. He hopes to make his final junior golf round a special one Friday.
“I've had a lot of fun with the AJGA and (Friday) will be kind of sad,” Lee said.
Looking to spoil Lee's swan song will be Canon Cup teammate Sihwan Kim of Fullerton, Calif. Kim shot a second-round 5-under-par 67, a round that included seven birdies, and is within three shots of the lead with one round to play.
Alone in third place is John Lim of Torrance, Calif., with a 6-under-par 138 tournament total. Dustin Rhone of Culver City, Calif., is fourth at 5-under-par 139, while Jason Kang of Valencia, Calif., is in fifth place with a 4-under-par 140.
In the Girls Division, Rah continued her stellar and consistent play at the South Course, besting her first-round 69 with a 4-under-par 68. Rah tallied three birdies and an eagle on the par-5 sixth hole while opening up a three-shot lead going into Friday's final round at 7-under-par.
“My putting is solid,” Rah said. “I just need to keep improving my ball striking.”
For the second consecutive day, Rah started strong by firing a 33 on the front nine and hopes to do the same to close out the week.
“I've been going low on the front nine and the back seems to kill me,” Rah explained. “My goal for (Friday) is to just play the front nine like I have and hang in there on the back.”
Mindy Kim of Diamond Bar, Calif., recorded three birdies on the back nine en route to a 3-under-par 69. She trails Rah by three shots with 18 holes to play.
Diana Hong of Gold River, Calif., made the biggest move of the day, firing a tournament-low 7-under-par 65 to put herself within striking distance. Hong, first round co-leader Tiffany Lua of Rowland Heights, Calif., and Grace Chung of Fullerton, Calif., all sit four shots back of Rah at 3-under-par 141.
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.
Final-round tee times begin Friday at 7:30 a.m. off the No. 1 tee at Coto de Caza Golf and Racquet Club — South Course. For more information about the Family Toyota/Family Honda Junior presented by The First American Corporation, contact tournament headquarters at (949) 858-3016.