I.R.I ARIZONA NATIONAL MIXED TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
HOSTED BY ANNIKA SORENSTAM AND JIM FURYK
May 7-9, 2004
COUSINS LEE AND PARK CLAIM LEAD AFTER TWO ROUNDS OF MIXED TEAM EVENT
Rolex All-Americans Puntawong and Creamer one stroke behind in second place
TUCSON, Ariz. â€“ Neighbors and cousins Lucas Lee and Angela Park of Torrance, Calif., are in the lead after 36 holes of play at the I.R.I. Arizona National Mixed Team Championship hosted by Annika Sorenstam and Jim Furyk. The duo finished the first day of the tournament with rounds of 61 and 70 for an 11-under-par total of 131. One stroke off the lead in second place is the combo of Rolex Junior Player of the Year Paula Creamer of Pleasanton, Calif., and second-team Rolex Junior All-American Chanin Puntawong of Bradenton, Fla. The team carded a first-round 61 followed by a second-round 71 for a two-round total of 132.
The I.R.I. Arizona National Mixed Team Championship hosted by Annika Sorenstam and Jim Furyk is a three-format 54-hole mixed team stroke play event conducted by the American Junior Golf Association. The tournament features 33 teams comprised of one boy and one girl, ages 12-18, from 16 states, Canada and Paraguay.
Lee and Park breezed through the modified Scotch round of the tournament, making eagle on the par-5 second hole and carding a front nine 6-under-par 29. The team did not let up after the first nine, making four birdies on the back for a first-round total of 61.
â€śWe made every putt that we needed to during the first round,â€ť Lee said. â€śI have caddied for Angela before in the U.S. Girls Junior Amateur and today she listened to my advice.â€ť
Lee and Park found the second roundâ€™s foursome format to be more â€śnerve-rackingâ€ť than the first-round. The team shot even par on the front nine and 1-under par on the back for a second-round 70. The two-round total was still enough to finish the day with a one-stroke lead.
â€śI think we have an advantage over other teams because we have a higher connection,â€ť Park said. â€śIt is easier to believe in your cousin than your teammate.â€ť
Following close behind in second place are Rolex Junior All-Americans Puntawong and Creamer. In the first round, the team finished the front nine at 5-under-par 30. On the back side, they used 3 birdies and an eagle on the par-5 18th to finish with a first-round total of 61. The second round proved to be troublesome for them with a triple bogey on No. 4 and a double bogey on No. 17, but the team came away from the round at even-par 71.
â€śI think the first format fit us better,â€ť Puntawong said. â€śI was hitting every drive into the fairway, Paula was hitting good irons and I was making the putts. We played well in the second round too. Two holes got away from us, but we were even par the rest of the way.â€ť
â€śI think tomorrowâ€™s foursome format will be good because we will both be playing our own game,â€ť Creamer said. â€śIt will be just me playing the golf course and him playing the golf course.â€ť
Two strokes off the lead in third place are the champions of the 2003 I.R.I. Golf Group Arizona National Junior, Daniel Lim of Gilroy, Calif., and Esther Choe of La Quinta, Calif. Californians Brian Kim of Cerritos and Grace Woo of Burbank are in fourth place with a two-round total 134. Tied for fifth place at 7-under-par 135 are Californians Kevin Chappell of Fresno and Sommer Scholl of Riverside and siblings Trent and Taylor Leon of Dallas.
Sundayâ€™s final round will be 18 holes in a four-ball format.
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 has a membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGAâ€™s National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Associationâ€™s success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
For more information on the I.R.I. Arizona National Mixed Team Championship hosted by Annika Sorenstam and Jim Furyk, contact the AJGA Tournament Headquarters at (520) 749-3519 or visit the Associationâ€™s Web site at ajga.org.