PARK EARNS MEDALIST HONORS IN TEE UP JUNIOR CHALLENGE SRIXON QUALIFIER
Na medals to earn exemption into first AJGA Open Tournament.
SAN RAMON, Calif. — Ji Park of Fullerton, Calif., fired a 2-under-par 70 to earn Medalist Honors in the Boys Division at the TEE UP Junior Challenge Srixon Qualifier. Grace Na of Oakland, Calif., was the Girls Division Medalist after she finished with a 5-over-par 77.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the TEE UP Junior Challenge Srixon Qualifier was held at The Bridges Golf Club. Seventy-eight boys and 19 girls ages 12-18 each competed for a chance to play in the TEE UP Junior Challenge, which will take place from September 1-4 at The Bridges Golf Club.
Park used pinpoint accuracy and a hot putter to card five birdies on his round. The 17-year-old had only 25 putts after finding 12 greens.
“My short game was good today,” Park said. “I had to care about green speed a lot.”
Park, who moved to the U.S. from South Korea just nine months ago, has enjoyed the competition he faces through AJGA tournaments. Playing in this week's TEE UP Junior Challenge, Park brings a lot of confidence heading into this week's TEE UP Junior Challenge.
“There are so many tournaments in one year [for the AJGA], and there are so many good players,” Park said. “I feel good.”
In the Boys Division, 13 more juniors qualified and will be playing in this week's event. Joseph Harrison of Boulder City, Nev., shot a 1-under-par 71. Brendan Jin of Castro Valley, Calif., Quinn Gruber of Aptos, Calif., and Kyle Morrison of Redondo Beach, Calif., all shot 3-over-par 75s. Eduardo Chavez of Hillsborough, Calif., Bryan Sheridan of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., Alexander Choi of Beverly Hills, Calif., John Kim of Cypress, Calif., Michael Kraft of Pacific Grove, Calif., and Andrew DeGuzman of Oakland, Calif., all shot 76. Patrick Bauer of Colfax, Calif., Brian O'Regan of Walnut Creek, Calif., and David Caplinger of Indio, Calif., all qualified via a sudden-death playoff after having shot 77.
Benjamin Bauch of Trabuco Canyon, Calif., opted to take one AJGA Tournament Exemption in lieu of playing in this week's event.
In the Girls Division, Na attributed her round to a relaxed mindset on the course. After an indifferent front nine, Na was displeased with her play but made an effort not to force things.
“I started to relax and I played better,” Na said. “I just tried to stay positive about my round because I had a lot of holes to go.”
Thirteen-year-old Na drew inspiration from a simple message scrawled on her arm: “I can do it.” Na said she will use more of the same inspiration when she plays in the tournament this week.
“My friend had something like that written on her arm so I thought I'd use it for good luck,” Na said. “I'll go out there and not try to beat anybody, just play my own game and try to shoot in the low 70s.”
Five more players qualified and are playing in this week's event. Stephanie Arcala of Oceanside, Calif., shot a 78. Janelle Song of Oxnard, Calif., Joy Kim of Pinole, Calif., and Nicole Zhang of Calgary, Alberta, all shot 84. Alexandra Groetsema of Los Altos, Calif., shot 85 and Lauren Oh of Pleasanton, Calif., finished with an 86.
Five players opted to take one AJGA Tournament Exemption in lieu of playing in this week's event. Alexandra Stewart of Elk Grove, Calif., and Stacy Kim of Yorba Linda, Calif., both shot 79. Chelsea Stelzmiller of Placerville, Calif., shot 81. Erynne Lee of Silverdale, Calif., and Dorothy Schwartz of San Jose, Calif., both shot 83.
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 largest Association of its kind, the AJGA has a junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign counties.
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 compiled 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 first round of the TEE UP Junior Challenge will begin Saturday, September 2 with tee times beginning at 7 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees. For more information on the TEE UP Junior Challenge, contact tournament headquarters at (925) 735-4253 ext. 116, or visit the AJGA Web site at ajga.org.