KIM BECOMES FIRST EVER THREE-TIME CHAMPION AT MISSION HILLS DESERT JUNIOR
Johnson shoots tournament record on Mission Hills Country Club's Dinah Shore Tournament Course
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Two-time defending champion of the Mission Hills Desert Junior Sihwan Kim of Buena Park, Calif., carded a 6-under-par 66 during the final round Thursday, giving him the victory and making him the first ever three-time champion of the tournament. In the Girls Division, Jennifer Johnson of La Quinta, Calif., turned in 6-under-par 66 — an AJGA tournament low on Mission Hills Country Club's Dinah Shore Tournament Course — to be named champion of this year's event.
Conducted by the AJGA, the Mission Hills Desert Junior was a 54-hole stroke play event featuring 60 boys and 22 girls, ages 12-18, from seven states and one foreign country, with 70 players from California. The event was staged on Mission Hills Country Club's par-72 Dinah Shore Tournament Course with the boys tees set at 7,006 yards and the girls tees set at 6,077 yards. Now in its 26th year, the event boasts Bob May, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Kevin Na, Danielle Ammaccapane, Brandi Burton, Emilee Klein, Kellee Booth and Grace Park as some of its past champions.
Now an eight-time AJGA champion, Kim went down in history by becoming the first ever three-time champion of the Mission Hills Desert Junior. By improving upon a lackluster putting day during Wednesday's second round, Kim carded seven birdies en route to a final round 6-under-par 66 and a 10-under-par 206 tournament total.
“This tournament is very special to me,” Kim said. “This is my last AJGA Open Tournament and no one has won this event three times in a row. It feels really great to know my name is above some of the great players in golf like Tiger Woods.”
Tied for second place were Alex Kang of Oak Park, Calif., and Alex Shi Yup Kim of Fullerton, Calif., at 8-under-par 208. Tom Lo of Los Angeles finished in third place with a three-day total of 6-under-par 210. Rounding out the top five was Andrew Perez of Oxnard, Calif., carding 5-under-par 211.
In the Girls Division, Johnson set a tournament low on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course by carding a final-round score of 6-under-par 66. With no bogeys and six birdies in Thursday's round, Johnson's aggressive play helped her turn in a three-day total of 5-under-par 211. Although Johnson has won three other AJGA titles, this win has a special place in her heart, she said.
“This is the third time I have played in this tournament,” Johnson said. “It's my home course and I really wanted to take the title of champion this year.”
Rounding out the top three spots were Jenny Shin of Torrance, Calif., finishing second with 2-under-par 214 and Lizette Salas of Azusa, Calif., finishing third at 1-over-par 217.
The AJGA 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 an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 25 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 AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
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 Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
For more information on the Mission Hills Desert Junior or the AJGA, contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.