SIHWAN KIM SHOOTS 66, TAKES FIVE-STROKE LEAD INTO FINAL ROUND
Mindy Kim keeps her spot atop the leaderboard in the Girls Division after the second round
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — When it came time to see
which leader in the Boys Division would sneak ahead in the second round
Wednesday, it was Sihwan Kim of Buena Park, Calif., who stepped up to
the challenge and broke away from the field, shooting a 6-under-par 66.
In the Girls Division, Mindy Kim of Diamond Bar, Calif., held on to her
first-round lead, shooting a 2-under-par 70 for a 141 tournament total
going into the final round.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Mission Hills
Desert Junior is being played on Mission Hills Country Club's par-72
Dinah Shore Tournament Course. The 54-hole event features 60 boys and
21 girls, ages 12-18, from six states, including 72 players from
The longest consecutive running AJGA event at the same venue, the
Mission Hills Desert Junior boasts past champions such as Phil
Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Bob May, Kevin Na, Danielle Ammaccapane, Brandi
Burton, Emilee Klein, Kellee Booth and Grace Park. These professionals
all played in — and won — the Mission Hills Desert Junior before making
household names for themselves at the amateur, collegiate and
Kim not only bested the field for the second day in a row, but he
also went from 4-under-par to 10-under-par for the tournament. He was
aware of his five-stroke lead but did not rule out his competition.
“It gets the pressure off, but it's golf,” Kim said. “Anything could happen, it's an unpredictable game.”
Starting on No. 10, he lit up the back nine with four birdies. Kim
went on to sink two more birdies on Nos. 2 and 8. The defending
champion spoke of his mindset during his bogey-free round.
“I'm just trying to get the momentum going,” Kim said. “(A win) two years in a row, that's hard to do.”
Currently in second place is Tom Lo of Los Angeles, at 70-69—139.
Jeffery Kang, also of Los Angeles, stands in third with a 140
tournament total. Tied for fourth are John Yeun of Brea, Calif., and
Michael Jae Woo Im of Fullerton, Calif., with matching 142s.
Four strokes ahead and leading for the second consecutive day, Kim
resigned herself to staying calm and keeping focused. The 16-year-old
said she felt confident after making birdie on the par 3, No. 17. She
went on to make birdie three more times during the round.
“I didn't really think about (the lead) today, I just tried to keep
focused,” she said. “I don't think about anyone else. I just play my
best, my game.”
Two years ago, Kim took a season off and went back to her native
country of South Korea. The rising junior was unsure if she would
continue playing. However, Kim said she decided to pick up the game
again last August and has been competing since.
“I hit it solid and made those putts,” she said. “It feels great. I think it's a great course.”
In the Girls Division, Kristen Park of Buena Park, Calif., sits tied
in second at 72-73—145 with Lizette Salas of Azusa, Calif., at
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 counties.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and
driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch
USA, which is in 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, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr, Candie Kung
and Paula Creamer.
The final round of the Mission Hills Desert Junior will begin
Thursday, June 29 with tee times running from 6:30-8:27 a.m. off the
Nos. 1 and 10 tees. For more information on the Mission Hills Desert
Junior, contact tournament headquarters at (760) 324-9400.