LEE SETS BOYS DIVISION TOURNAMENT RECORDS AT THUNDERBIRD INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR
Yueer Cindy Feng leads Girls Division at 6-under-par
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Daniel Lee of Valencia, Cailf., broke two tournament records Sunday and has a six-shot lead in the Boys Division heading into the final round at the Thunderbird International Junior. Lee fired a bogey-free 9-under-par 63, an 18-hole tournament record, and his 16-under-par total of 128 is a 36-hole tournament record. Yueer Cindy Feng of Orlando, Fla., carded a 5-under-par 67 and has a two-shot lead in the Girls Division.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Thunderbird International Junior features 78 players from 13 states and 14 foreign countries. The field consists of 48 boys and 30 girls, ages 12-18, and includes 44 Rolex Junior All-Americans. Played on Grayhawk Golf Club's Raptor Course, home of the PGA TOUR's Fry's.com Open, the par-72 course measures 7,112 yards for the boys and 6,275 yards for the girls.
Several past participants of the Thunderbird International Junior have gone to play in the FBR Open, the PGA TOUR event sponsored by The Thunderbirds each year. Ryan Moore, Anthony Kim, Hunter Mahan and Kevin Na all competed in the FBR Open, which is currently in its 74th year. In its history, the FBR/Phoenix Open has raised more than $53 million for charities in Arizona.
Lee's opening 36 holes include 14 birdies, one eagle and zero bogeys. He's 11-under-par on the front nine and has hit 25 out of 28 fairways.
“It's pretty much the same feeling as yesterday,” Lee said. “I played really great and didn't waste any shots out there. It's the lowest score I've ever shot — competitive or just with friends — so it's been a lot of fun.”
Lee's round of 63 is the third-lowest in AJGA history and is tied for the lowest 18-hole score in AJGA Invitational history (James Vargas, 2001 Polo Golf Junior Classic).
Chasing Lee is Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos, Calif., whose second-round 68 put him at 10-under-par 134. Anthony Paolucci of Dallas, and Michael Hebert of Orlando, Fla., each shot 8-under-par 64 in the second round and are in third at 9-under-par. Paolucci recorded eight birdies and an eagle, while Hebert carded a bogey-free round with eight birdies. Tied for fifth at 7-under-par are Niclas Carlsson of Enebyberg, Sweden, and Cory Whitsett of Houston.
In the Girls Division, Feng sits at 6-under-par 138 and finds herself in a familiar position. In January, Feng held a one-shot lead after the second round at the ANNIKA Invitational. She shot a final-round 76 and finished tied for fourth at that event, but Feng said that she learned a lot from that experience.
“I learned that I need to stay focused on the last day,” Feng said. “I was thinking too much about my score and my mental game was a little down. Tomorrow I'll just play my game and see what happens.”
Karen Chung of Livingston, N.J., recorded a bogey-free 69 and is second at 4-under-par, while Sarah Brown of Phillipsburg, N.J., is third at 3-under-par.
Final-round tee times will run off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees from 7:15 — 9:03 a.m. The Boys Division leaders will tee off No. 1 at 9:03 a.m., while Girls Division leaders begin at 8:18 a.m. off No. 1.
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 an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and more than 25 foreign countries.
As in the past, Callaway Golf will lend its support to the event. Other major sponsors are the Thunderbirds, the Phil and Amy Mickelson Charitable Fund, Grayhawk Golf Club and the FBR Open.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 350 wins. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
For more information about the Thunderbird International Junior, please contact tournament headquarters at (480) 502-3181.