Rolex Girls Junior Championship
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Rolex Girls Junior Championship

Chien takes early lead at Rolex Girls

Stanford commit shoots 4-under-par in first round
Leigh Chen - 2023 Rolex Girls Junior Championship .JPG

First-Round Results

Johns Island, South Carolina - Leigh Chien of Irvine, California, leads the first round of the 2023 Rolex Girls Junior Championship with a score of 4-under-par 68.

Chien, No. 9 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings, started her second appearance at the all-girls Invitational with a bogey on the par-4, 370-yard first hole. Chien was able to bounce back recording three birdies on Nos. 3, 5 and 6.

She dropped another shot on hole No. 9, making the turn at 1-under-par. A member of the class of 2024, Chien had a bogey-free back nine with two consecutive birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 and the par-3, 17th hole.

Chien is a three-time Rolex Junior All-American and is also a three-time Invitational winner. She had back-to-back titles at the KPMG Stacy Lewis Junior All-Star Invitational in 2019 and 2020. She was also a member of the winning Wyndham Cup team in 2022.

I'm really excited for tomorrow. I'm feeling confident heading into Wednesday. I took the turn to the back nine sort of as a restart. I just wanted to play my game and follow my game plan and that's what I was able to do. I need to make fewer mistakes and play smart as we go through the next 54 holes.
Leigh Chien

Mia Hammond, of New Albany, Ohio, finished one shot back from Chien at 3-under-par 69. Hammond finished with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 17 and 18 to move up the leaderboard to solo-second place.

Hammond is making her AJGA Invitational debut at the Rolex Girls Junior Championship. At No. 57 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings, she finished T7 in her first event at the AJGA Junior at Canebrake presented by Piedmont Bank in April.

Behind Hammond, Megan Meng of Pennington, New Jersey, sits in third place at 2-under-par 70. Meng is verbally committed to Northwestern University and had four birdies in her Rolex Girls Junior Championship debut.

In a four-way tie for fourth place, Mi Li of (China) Kissimmee, Florida, Maria Garcia of Queretaro, Mexico, Sarah Shao of Green Brook, New Jersey, and Alexandra Gazzoli of Palm Coast, Florida, sit at 1-under-par 71.

About the Rolex Girls Junior Championship Field
Since 1992, the competition brings together one of the strongest fields in junior golf. The 2023 event will include eight of the top 20 girls in the Rolex AJGA Rankings.

Of the 72 player field, 54 girls have at least one career AJGA victory. Representatives from eight foreign countries and 20 U.S. states are set to compete in one of the AJGA’s most iconic all-girls events. There are also 22 players have committed verbally or with a National Letter of Intent to play college golf.

Rolex Girls Junior Championship History
The Rolex Girls Junior Championship has occurred annually since 1992, changing host venues each year. Noteworthy courses include: LPGA International – Champions and Legends Course (2002-2005), Long Cove Club (2010), The Country Club of North Carolina – Dogwood Course (2015), and Promontory Club – Dye Canyon Course (2018).

The event returns to The Club at Briar's Creek for the first time since 2019. LPGA Tour rookie Alexa Pano won the 2019 Rolex Girls Junior Championship by four strokes with scores of 70-67-67-70 finish at 14-under-par 274. Pano was the youngest player to ever win an AJGA title at 12 years and 11 days at the PDQ/Philadelphia Runner Junior. She is a five-time Rolex Junior All-American.

Past champions of the Rolex Girls Junior Championship include an AJGA all-star cast: Rose Zhang (2020), Rachel Heck (2017), Alison Lee (2013), Ariya Jutanugarn (2012, 2011), Morgan Pressel (2005), Paula Creamer (2003), and Inbee Park (2002).

The second round continues Wednesday, June 21 with tee times from 7:30-9:20 a.m. off of Nos. 1 and 10.

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Field features eight juniors in the top 20 of the Rolex AJGA Rankings
1 Min Read
Golf Club at Briar's Creek
Johns Island, SC
June 20 - 23, 2023