CHIEN, SUAREZ EARN MEDALIST HONORS AT SRIXON QUALIFIER
Seventeen boys and girls earn entry into PING Phoenix Junior
TEMPE, Ariz. â€” Sam Chien of San Diego, Calif., fired a 3-under-par 68 en route to taking home Boys Division medalist honors during Thursday's Srixon Qualifier for the PING Phoenix Junior. In the Girls Division, Katherine Suarez of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., carded a 1-over-par 72 to earn medalist honors.
The 18-hole event, part of the Srixon Qualifier Series, was conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at ASU Karsten Golf Club and featured 95 players from 15 states and Canada.
Starting the day on No. 8, 15-year-old Chien birdied his first two holes, carding five total in the round to finish at 3-under-par 68.
â€śI hit a lot of greens that gave me birdie opportunities,â€ť Chien said. â€śOverall, I had a pretty good day and made a lot of putts.â€ť
Also qualifying in the Boys Division are Bennett Klaus of Edmond, Okla.; Dylan Raines of Cave Creek, Ariz.; Andrew Cortez of Murrieta, Calif.; Nick Mehigan of Milwaukee, Wis.; Tyler Weworski of Carlsbad, Calif.; Ryan Hoskins of Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Ian Dahl of Longview, Wash. Dillon Brown of Norman, Okla., Sean Collopy of Lake Oswego, Ore., Chase Hite of Tucson, Ariz., Justin Yoder of Versailles, Mo., and Levi Garcia of Paso Robles, Calif., all qualified via a sudden death playoff.
Jacob Golembiewski of Chandler, Ariz., and Adam Rodriguez of Lake Forest, Calif., both opted to take tournament exemptions in lieu of playing in the PING Phoenix Junior.
In the Girls Division, Suarez, 17, used a simple golf equation en route to her first qualifier medalist honor.
â€śToday I went out and hit fairways, greens and two-putted,â€ť Suarez said. â€śI was very confident and made good shots to the green.â€ť
Suarez, who carded both her birdies on par-3s, had a couple of additional opportunities on the back nine.
â€śI had great shots onto the green on Nos. 13 and 15, but I missed two birdie opportunities within two feet,â€ť Suarez said.
Also qualifying in the Girls Division are Sarah Freeman of Goodyear, Ariz., Sun Gyoung Park of Cerritos, Calif., and Kimberly Punyasavatsut of Anaheim, Calif.
Reina Rogers of Oxnard, Calif., opted to take a tournament exemption in lieu of playing in the PING Phoenix Junior.
SRIXON Sports USA, Inc., based in Norcross, Ga., has been distributing premium golf balls and equipment in the U.S. since 1997 and is a subsidiary of SRI Sports. SRI Sports is one of the world's leading patent holders in golf ball technology and manufactures several golf balls played in the United States. SRI Sports-made balls have won 73 PGA TOUR events since 1989, including seven majors. For more information about SRIXON, please visit www.srixon.com.
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, the largest Association of its kind, has a junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 280 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Dottie Pepper, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
First-round tee times begin Friday at 6:30 off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at ASU Karsten Golf Course. For more information about the PING Phoenix Junior, contact tournament headquarters at 480-921-8070.