First LPGA major of the year includes current, former AJGA members
When the LPGA kicks off its first major of the season this weekend, two current AJGA members and three alumni will compete as amateurs in the 99-player field at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
2003 Rolex Junior Player of the Year Paula Creamer and first-team Rolex Junior All-American Jane Park will compete in the 72-hole championship event at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Current college stars and former AJGA standouts Erica Blasberg, Elizabeth Janangelo and Virada Nirapathpongporn will also join the field for the first LPGA major of 2004.
Creamer, a 17-year-old from Pleasanton, Calif., has won 11 AJGA events in her career, including two AJGA Majors. 2003 saw her notch five wins in her first five national tournaments of the season. Creamer never finished worse than eighth in 2003 en route to being named Rolex Junior Player of the Year.
From Beaumont, Calif., Park was named a first-team Rolex Junior All-American after a season in which she won the McDonald's Betsy Rawls Girls National Championship. The 17-year-old was runner-up at the 2003 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship and also finished second at the Rolex Girls Junior Championship and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Junior Classic.
A sophomore at the University of Arizona, Blasberg is currently ranked No. 2 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index and has five top-five finishes in just six events this season. The native of Corona, Calif., has won five times in her two seasons as a collegian. While playing in the AJGA, Blasberg was named a Rolex Junior All-American on four occasions including twice as a first-teamer. Blasberg won the 2002 Rolex Tournament of Champions.
Janangelo, a sophomore at Duke University, is the top-rated collegiate golfer in the country according to the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index. From West Hartford, Conn., Janangelo has also won five times in her two years as a college golfer. As a junior golfer, Janangelo won nine AJGA events and was named the 2001 Rolex Junior Player of the Year.
Also a member of Duke’s women’s golf team, Nirapathpongporn is currently rated fourth in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index. She won the 2003 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship and the 2002 NCAA individual championship. As an AJGA member, Nirapathpongporn won six times including the inaugural Thunderbird International Junior in 2000. Nirapathpongporn was named a first-team Rolex Junior All-American in 1998, 1999 and 2000.