MOON CONQUERS WIND, TAKES MEDALIST HONORS AT POLO GOLF JUNIOR CLASSIC
Kim tops Girls Division by one shot at Sea Island Golf Club
SEA ISLAND, Ga. — After enduring a blustery Tuesday, Ji Moon of Lake Mary, Fla., captured the lead on the Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club and was crowned the stroke play medalist in the Boys Division of the Polo Golf Junior Classic. Moon's 1-under-par 69 gave him a two-stroke lead over the field. In the Girls Division, U.S. Girls' Junior Champion In-Kyung Kim of Hilton Head Island, S.C., took home medalist honors with a two-day total of 143.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Polo Golf Junior Classic, which has been held annually since 1978, marks the first tournament of the AJGA's 2006 season. The 159-player invitation-only field is made up of 87 boys and 72 girls, ages 12-18, from 28 states and six foreign countries (Canada, China, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Sweden).
The event consists of 36 holes of stroke play, after which the field is cut to the top 32 boys and 32 girls. Match play then decides the champion in each division. Sea Island's Seaside (par 70) and Plantation (par 72) courses will be used during the stroke play rounds and the first round of match play. The Seaside will be the lone course utilized during the final four rounds of match play competition.
The list of former champions at the Polo Golf Junior Classic is one of the most impressive on the AJGA's schedule of 74 events. Morgan Pressel (2004), Brian Harman (2003), Paula Creamer (2002), Nick Dougherty (1999), Hunter Mahan (1998), Beth Bauer (1995, 1997), Trevor Immelman (1995), Grace Park (1994, 1996), Tiger Woods (1991) and Stewart Cink (1989) all won the prestigious title during their careers with the AJGA.
With the wind blowing strong on the Seaside Course, Moon was able to play a consistent round Tuesday, as scores around him soared. Moon was the only person in the 159-players field to break par Tuesday with a 1-under-par 69. Moon knew that it was up to his putting in order to take hold of the lead.
“I always made sure to leave myself with a good up and down,” said the 17-year-old. “My putting is really what saved me today.”
Moon will have some tough competition in the next few days of match play. Finishing second with a 143 was Rickie Fowler of Murrieta, Calif. In a four-way tie for third is first-round leader Peter Uihlein of Bradenton, Fla., Kevin Tway of Edmond, Okla., Philip Francis of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Chesson Hadley of Raleigh, N.C., all with a 146.
In the Girls Division, Kim shot a 75, which was good enough to earn the No. 1 seed in the Girls Division. With three birdies on the day, Kim was able to give herself the lead she needed in order to make it to the match play competition, which begins on Wednesday. Kim was able to continue her steady play from the first round and never relinquished her lead.
A one-stroke lead separated Kim from the rest of the field. Angela Park of Torrance, Calif., finished stroke play alone in second with a total of 144. In third, first round co-leader Kimberly Donovan of Hopkinton, Mass., is tied with Stephanie Kono of Honolulu, Hawaii, and Mina Harigae of Monterey, Calif., with matching 145s.
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 AJGA has a 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, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
First-round match play competition begins at 7:30 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at the Seaside and Plantation Courses. For more information about the Polo Golf Junior Classic, contact Steve Ethun at (678) 571-7994.