FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Californians Leigh Chien of Irvine, and Kush Arora of Pleasanton, lead after the second round of the KPMG Stacy Lewis Junior All-Star Invitational.
The 54-hole stroke play event was founded by Stacy Lewis and partner KPMG in 2015 as a unique addition to the AJGA’s schedule designed to promote equity, friendly competition, and reinforce the importance of ethics, integrity and leadership in junior golf. The 56-player field consists of an equal number of top boys and girls, ages 12-15, from the around the world who compete in mixed twosomes. Past champions have earned Rolex Junior Player of the Year honors, top 25 Rolex AJGA Rankings status, and 39 AJGA wins.
Blessings Golf Club has hosted the event since its inception, other than its redesign year in 2017, as well as the 2019 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Golf Individual and Team Championships.
Reigning KPMG Stacy Lewis Junior All-Star Invitational champion Chien was the only junior in the field to record two rounds under-par, securing a second round 3-under-par 69. After 36 holes, she extended her lead to six strokes at 6-under-par 138. Chien is chasing her third AJGA career victory which also includes the 2019 Lockton Kansas City Junior presented by UHY.
Mara Janess of Barrington, Illinois, carded a second round 1-over-par 73 and maintains an even-par 144. Kiara Romero of San Jose, California, and Caiyi (Flora) Zhang of (China) Bradenton, Florida, are tied for third at 2-over-par 146.
Arora was one of seven boys under par during the second round with a 2-under-par 70 to climb into the lead at 2-under 142, good for a two-stroke Boys Division lead. Arora is playing in his fifth AJGA event and second of 2020. He finished tied fifth at the AJGA Thunderbird Junior All-Star in mid-June.
Three boys are tied for second at even-par 144: Jaivir Pande of Houston; Nathan Wang of Fremont, California; and Byungho Lee of (South Korea) Houston. Five more boys are tied for fifth at 1-over-par: Sihao Cong of Irvine, California; Ben DeLaRosa of Dallas; Allan Kournikova of Palm Beach, Florida; Jack Usner of The Woodlands, Texas; and Anawin Pikulthong of Gilbert, Arizona.
In addition to individual stroke play champions, a boys versus girls team champion is crowned each year by combined the top four boys and girls scores to determine the team winner. Boys lead the series 3-2, but the Girls captured the title in 2018 and 2019. The Girls lead the 2020 contest by one stroke at 11-under-par 565. The Boys made a push on for the title on Wednesday going 8-under-par 280 as a team.
The final round of the Stacy Lewis Junior All-Star Invitational will begin on Thursday, July 2 at 7:00 a.m. off the No. 1 and No. 10 tees.
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