Amy Lee leads ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior by four-stroke margin
Castillo and Tuulik share a one-stroke advantage in Boys Division after first round
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Amy Lee of Brea, Calif., is in control of the Girls Division after recording a 5-under-par 67 in the first round of the ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior. In the Boys Division, Christopher Tuulik of San Diego, Calif., and Derek Castillo of Yorba Linda, Calif., share the lead after scoring 4-under-par 68.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior is a 54-hole stroke play competition played on the par-72, Mission Hills Country Club - Dinah Shore Tournament Course. The event features 48 boys and 24 girls, ages 12-18, from six states and four countries. The Boys Division is playing the course at 7,080 yards while the Girls Division is playing the course at 6,177 yards.
Playing in her third straight ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior, Amy Lee carded the lowest score of her Mission Hills career in Tuesday's first round. Lee racked up a total of seven birdies on the day and stands firmly in the lead with a four-stroke advantage. Lee credited many of her birdies to her quality putting from long range.
“I probably made five 20-foot putts today,” Lee said.
In reflection of her past results at the ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior, Lee looks at Tuesday's low round as something she has earned through past years' disappointments.
“I felt like I deserved this,” Lee said. She looks to continue her solid play throughout the rest of the week.
Tatiana Wijaya of Western Australia stands alone in second at 1-under-par 71, while Raychelle Santos of La Quinta, Calif., is five strokes back in third at even-par 72.
Playing in his second ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior, Tuulik looks to improve upon his 10th place finish in last year's event. Tuulik had five birdies in the first round to finish at 4-under-par 68, his lowest round in an AJGA event. Tuulik attributed one moment of his day to make his round of 68 possible.
"On No. 18 I almost had a catastrophe," Tuulik said. "I hit the cartpath on my drive, and it went into the No. 10 fairway, then I landed one just over the water and it came back off the rocks all the way back 60 yards in front of the water...I was able to get up and down for par, and after that I just felt that nothing was going to stop me."
Castillo also carded a first round of 4-under-par 68 with five birdies. The 14-year-old is playing in his first ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior. Early in his first round, Castillo found comfort and confidence on the greens.
“On No. 11, (No. 10 tee start) which is a par 5, I made about a 10-footer for birdie and that kind of propelled me into the next few holes which were pretty long for me,” Castillo said.
Li Wang of Sammamish, Wash. and Ki Taek Lee of La Quinta, Calif., are in third at 3-under-par 69.
In an eight-way tie for fifth are Will Strauss of San Diego, Calif., Kornelijus Baliukonis of Pacific Palisades, Calif., Michael Moorhead of Newport Beach, Calif., Ben Doyle of La Jolla, Calif., Andrew Levitt of Ladera Ranch, Calif., Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge, Calif., Nathan Wunderli of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Harold Calubid of Long Beach, Calif., at 2-under-par 70.
About the AJGA
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 AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,500 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 40 countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 500 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Stewart Cink, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Inbee Park and Morgan Pressel.
Second-round tee times will run from 6:30 — 8:20 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at Mission Hills Country Club - Dinah Shore Tournament Course. For more information about the ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (678) 617-2424.