SMITH LEADS PING PHOENIX JUNIOR AT 8-UNDER-PAR
Frasier leads Girls Division by five strokes at Moon Valley Country Club
PHOENIX — Sam Smith of Turlock, Calif., shot an 8-under-par 64 Wednesday at Moon Valley Country Club to lead the Boys Division of the PING Phoenix Junior by one stroke after the first round of play. Danielle Frasier of Encinitas, Calif., leads the Girls Division after firing an 8-under-par 64 as well to tie the third lowest 18-hole score by a girl in AJGA history.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the PING Phoenix Junior features 57 boys and 27 girls, ages 12-18. Fifteen states and three foreign countries are represented, with 36 players out of California. The event is being staged on the par-72 Moon Valley Country Club course with boys tees set at 7,139 yards and girls tees set at 6,230 yards.
Smith carded nine birdies on the day, hitting 10 fairways and 14 greens on his way to 64. He tallied only 25 putts during the round and did not hesitate to say that his short game was his strength on Wednesday.
“I've been working hard on my putting and it paid off,” Smith said. “I've focused on that more than on ball striking in practice, and I am glad I did.”
Andrew Sajevic of Fremont, Neb., and Michael Weaver of Fresno, Calif., are tied for second place at 7-under-par 65, and Aaron Sherry of Fort Myers, Fla., is in fourth place at 6-under-par 66. Tied for fifth are Karsten Majors of Bixby, Okla., and Alex Kang of Oak Park, Calif., at 5-under-par 67.
In the Girls Division, Frasier said her previous low round was 69, but seven birdies and an eagle Wednesday dropped her new low round to 64. She has won the last two AJGA events in which she has participated and has a five-stroke advantage over the competition after the first round.
“I made eagle on No. 17 from 130 yards out, and my putting was good today,” she said. “I started the day with three birdies on the first four holes, and the rest of the day went from there.”
Cheyenne Woods of Phoenix is in second place at 3-under-par 69, and tied for third at 2-under-par 70 are Diane Kwon of Fremont, Calif., Andrea Messer of Largo, Fla., Jennifer Johnson of La Quinta, Calif., Kylie Fuller of Temecula, Calif., and Sarah Salvo of Glendale, Calif.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth an 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 foreign countries.
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.
The second round of the PING Phoenix Junior will begin Thursday with 6:30 a.m. starting times off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at Moon Valley Country Club.
For more information about the PING Phoenix Junior, please contact Tournament Director Jeremy Freyman at (678) 617-9917.