KHARA COMES FROM BEHIND TO TAKE LEAD AT MAYAKOBA JUNIOR GOLF CLASSIC
Lopez commandeers five-stroke lead after second round in Girls Division at El Camaleón Golf Club
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Quintana Roo, Mexico — Rocky Khara of Sebring, Fla., fired a 4-under-par 66 Wednesday to lead after the second round of the Mayakoba Junior Golf Classic. In the Girls Division, Gabriela Lopez of Mexico City, Mexico posted a 3-under-par 68 to take the second-round lead over Alicia Malagon of Tampico, Mexico.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Mayakoba Junior Golf Classic is a 54-hole, stroke play event being held at El Camaleón Golf Club and is the AJGA's only event held in Mexico. The field consists of 84 players, of which 42 are from Mexico. The rest come from 13 U.S. states and Guatemala. El Camaleón Golf Club, home to the PGA TOUR's Mayakoba Golf Classic, is being played at the PGA TOUR tournament yardage of 6,923 yards (par-70) in the Boys Division and at 5,822 yards (par-71) in the Girls Division.
Khara, 17, started out his back nine firing six birdies, two pars and one bogie, making the turn at 5-under-par. His game was consistent on his front nine, but his round lost some steam after a triple bogey on No. 8. Khara said that he hit most of his fairways but the key was sinking his 10-foot putts.
“After yesterday's round, I knew that today was going to need to be a moving-up day for me,” Khara said. “I wanted to try to take the lead and my putts help me do just that.”
When asked about his strategy going into the final round he said it is mind over matter.
“I will pretend I am five strokes back,” Khara said. “I attack more pins and play better when I think that way.”
Trailing Khara in second at 2-over-par 142 is Patrick Grimes of Palo Alto, Calif. In third place is Kevin Jorden of Juno Beach, Fla., at 3-over-par 143. John Boehme of Jacksonvile Beach, Fla., sits in fourth at 5-over-par 145. Rounding out the Boys Division tied for fifth are Juan Benitez of Puebla, Mexico, and Brandon Pederson of Austin, Texas at 6-over-par 146.
In the Girls Division, Lopez, 15, broke her two-way tie with Malagon after firing five birdies, 11 pars and two bogeys. Standing on No. 10 tee today, she said she was overwhelmed with nerves but reminded herself that the challenge did not rest in her competitors, but rather her own performance.
“Today I had to think about my job here and the course,” Lopez said. “It feels great to be leading by five strokes but I have to remember the same mindset for tomorrow.”
Behind Lopez in second is Alicia Malagon of Tampico, Mexico, at 2-over-par 144. Rounding out the top three is Giovana Maymon of Huixquilucan, Mexico and Portland Rosen of Sugar Land, Texas at 9-over-par 151.
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 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 is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
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.
Final-round tee times run from 7 — 8:57 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees Thursday, August 20 at El Camaleón Golf Club. For more information about the Mayakoba Junior Golf Classic please contact Tournament Headquarters at 678-425-1774 or visit the AJGA Web site at ajga.org.