CHOE CARDS 2-UNDER-PAR 69 DURING WEATHER-DELAYED FIRST ROUND AT ROLEX GIRLS JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
Three-way tie rounds out second-place position
PARK CITY, Utah â€” Esther Choe of Scottsdale, Ariz., sits at the top of the leaderboard with a score of 2-under-par 69 at the Rolex Girls Junior Championship after windy conditions engulfed the competitive field during first-round play Wednesday. Three other players finished at even-par 71 to tie for second.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Rolex Girls Junior Championship is one of ten AJGA Invitationals being held in 2006. This year the prestigious event is being held at the Glenwild Golf Club & Spa in Park City, Utah. The field includes five first-team Rolex All-Americans and 77 girls from 20 states and seven countries, including Argentina, Mexico, Japan, Colombia, Spain, the United Kingdom and Canada. Past champions include Morgan Pressel, Julieta Granada and Paula Creamer.
Coming off her third-place victory at the Heather Farr Classic and qualifying for the U.S Women's Open this year, Choe finished up her day with four birdies and two bogeys while dealing with 30-mph winds and a two-hour weather delay.
â€śIt was kind of fun being out there,â€ť Choe said. â€śThe wind and rain made me actually play better today.â€ť
With five first-team Rolex Junior All-Americans in the playing field and eight junior girls qualifying for the U.S Women's Open, Choe finds the tournament more of a challenge than usual with 77 of the top girl juniors playing side-by-side.
â€śThe competition here tests your game, that's the fun part about it,â€ť Choe said.
Tied for second is Joanne Lee of San Carlos, Calif., also a U.S. Women's Open qualifier, with an even-par 71. Joining her is Isabelle Lendl of Bradenton, Fla., and Lizette Salas of Azusa, Calif.
Lee explained that the stormy weather was not a factor to her game during the first round.
â€śLiving by the (San Francisco) bay, I am use to this (weather). The weather reminds me of playing at my home course,â€ť Lee said.
Turning in a score of 39-33â€”72, Kimberly Kim of Pahoa, Hawaii, finished her day in fifth-place honors, three behind the leader.
Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. Along with sponsoring the Rolex Girls Junior Championship, Rolex is also the title partner of the Rolex Tournament of Champions and the proprietors of the Rolex Junior All-America Teams.
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 an annual 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.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 160 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiles more than 300 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr, Candie Kung and Paula Creamer.
The second round of the Rolex Girls Junior Championship will begin at 8 a.m. off the No. 1 tee. For more information, please contact tournament headquarters at (239) 482-7644, ext. 117.