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Coto de Caza Golf & Racquet Club - North Course
Coto de Caza, Calif. • August 8 - 11

Choi jumps ahead of two-day leader to become Girls Division winner

COTO DE CAZA, Calif. — Sihwan Kim of Buena Park, Calif., shot 71-74-71—216 to win the Pinnacle Communities Junior Championship Friday. In the Girls Division, Won Joo Choi of Temecula, Calif., fired a 1-over-par 73 to come out on top, jumping ahead of the two-day leader and winning the Girls Division title with a 74-75-73—222 tournament total.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Pinnacle Communities Junior Championship was played on Coto de Caza Golf & Racquet Club's par-72 North Course. The 54-hole event featured 72 boys and 27 girls, ages 12-18, from 11 states and two countries, including 77 players from California.

After trailing by only one or two strokes for the past two rounds, the win was directly in reach for Kim, who said he played cautiously to eventually claim the victory.

“I didn't play too aggressive,” Kim said. “I just tried to keep the ball in play. I felt pretty comfortable.”

The rising senior has an impressive 14 top-10 AJGA career finishes. The win is Kim's seventh and his second for the 2006 summer. Kim said he welcomed the challenging North Course and left his mark, carding four birdies for the day for a 1-under-par 71.

“Since [the North Course] is tough, I like it,” he said. “It separates the bad players from the good players dramatically.”

T.J. Bordeaux of Tacoma, Wash., and Sam Chien of San Diego, tied for second, both with tournament totals of 220. In fourth place, with 78-73-70—221 was Andrew Hopkins V of Maumelle, Ark. In a three-way tie for fifth with matching 222 tournament totals were Christopher Plappert of Las Vegas, Colin Featherstone of Fallbrook, Calif., and Eric Mina of Fremont, Calif.

Suprisingly, Choi was not focused on winning the tournament throughout her final round. According to Choi, she simply waited for her chance to make a move. The 16-year-old found her opportunity on the back nine when she carded a string of pars and repeatedly hit greens.

“I made birdie on the first hole so I was pretty confident after that,” Choi said. “I just played my own game, and I think that helped me a lot.”

With her parents, coach and friends in tow, Choi stayed calm and relied on some recent lessons from her coach. Choi has hopes to one day play in the LPGA and she realized the importance of winning AJGA tournaments as a big step towards her dream.

“It helps me to get into college,” she said. “That's the best part for me.”

In the Girls Division, Lalita Patipaksiri of Cypress, Calif., fired four birdies for the day and shot 77-74-73—224 to come in second place. Jenny Lee of La Canada, Calif., placed third, carding a 77 for her final round and a 225 tournament total.

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.

For more information on the Pinnacle Communities Junior Championship or any other tournament, contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200, or visit the AJGA Web site at ajga.org.