CHOE CAPTURES ROLEX GIRLS JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
Barton's five final-round birdies help earn her second-place honors
PARK CITY, Utah — Leading after both rounds, Esther Choe, 16, of Scottsdale, Ariz., clinched her first-ever Rolex Girls Junior Championship by carding 69-67-72—208 at Glenwild Golf Club & Spa Friday. Lila Barton, 16, of Dallas, finished the event with a 73-68-73—211 tournament total to stand alone with second place honors after being in a two-way tie for second after the second round.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Rolex Girls Junior Championship is one of nine AJGA Invitationals being held in 2006. This year, the prestigious event was held at Glenwild Golf Club & Spa in Park City, Utah. The field included 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.
A three-time first-team Rolex Junior All-American, Choe's three-stroke victory included 10 birdies and 40 pars. Choe finished her day with a 1-over-par score of 35-37—72, consisting of two birdies and 13 pars.
“The key for me (this week) was hitting the ball better,” Choe said. “I was playing consistently throughout the week.”
Building a five-stroke lead after two rounds, Choe explained that the pressure to finish strong was not an issue.
“I didn't feel any pressure at all, I was playing with my friends,” said Choe. “Lila was playing her own game and I was playing mine, I just played to the best of my ability.”
Firing five birdies and carding a 1-under-par 34-36—70 in her final round, Barton earned second-place honors.
“It just came together — my putting was the best it ever had been during this week,” Barton said
Finishing up with an overall score of 74-71-70—215, Rikako Morita of Kyoto, Japan, earned third-place honors.
Rounding out the top-five positions, Lisa McCloskey of Montgomery, Texas, finished in fourth place with a score of 75-72-69—216. Earning fifth-place honors were both Maria Jose Uribe of Bucaramanga, Colombia, and Kimberly Kim of Pahoa, Hawaii, with 217 tournament totals.
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. Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
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.
For more information on the Rolex Girls Junior Championship, or any other AJGA event, please contact the AJGA National Headquarters at (877) 373-2542