BAN SHOOTS AHEAD AT JUNIOR ALL-STAR AT LAKE HAVASU
Kaui cards 3-under-par 69 at The Refuge Golf Club
LAKE HAVASU, Ariz. — Shotaro Ban of San Jose, Calif., jumped ahead in the Boys Division on Thursday after shooting a 7-under-par 65 in the second round for a 10-under-par 134 two day total. Alexandra Kaui of Henderson, Nev., took the lead in the Girls Division after shooting a 3-under par 69 for a 3-under-par 141 total.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Junior All-Star at Lake Havasu is a 54-hole stroke play event being held at The Refuge Golf Club. The tournament field features 44 boys and 22 girls, ages 12-15, from ten states, Canada and Mexico. The Boys Division is playing the par-72 course at 6,835 yards, while the Girls Division is playing at 5,822 yards.
The Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series is a collection of 11 events specifically designed for boys and girls ages 12-15 and presents opportunities for younger members to develop their skills and earn entry into Open tournaments. The series concludes with the Junior All-Star Invitational over Columbus Day weekend for winners and top finishers in the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series events.
After tying for fourth in the first round on Wednesday, Ban came back to take the lead, finishing four strokes ahead of his competition. The rising junior has only been playing competitive golf for a year and a half and the Junior All-Star at Lake Havasu marks his first AJGA event since he became a member two and a half weeks ago. The AJGA newcomer attributes his low score to his ball striking and short game.
“I was able to keep the ball in play today,” Ban said. “I made three or four 12 to 15 foot puts, which really helped my game.”
Four shots behind Ban and tied for second are Robert Palacios of Chino Hills, Calif., and Zachary Wright of Phoenix, Ariz., who both sit at 6-under-par 138. Ki Taek Lee of Redlands, Calif., is in fourth after shooting a 5-under-par 139. Rounding out the Boys Division is Walker Huddy of Studio City, Calif., whose two day total is 4-under-par 140.
In the Girls Division, Kaui jumped from third to first finishing two strokes ahead of the competition. Kaui is no stranger to pressure in AJGA events, after winning the qualifier to play in the Laredo Energy Junior at Traditions earlier in the season. She kept a cool head throughout her round, recording birdies on Nos. 1, 4, 13, 15 and 16.
“My putting was really strong today,” Kaui said. “I was able to hit a lot of my shots really close to the pin and make a lot of long putts for birdies.”
Following closely behind Kaui is Brittany Mai of Poway, Calif., who shot a 1-under-par 143. Taylor Kim of Surrey, Canada is in third for the Girls Division, sitting at even-par 144.
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 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 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 350 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.
Final-round tee times of the Junior All-Star at Lake Havasu will run from 6:30 — 8:09 a.m. on the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at The Refuge Golf Club Friday. For more information please contact Tournament Headquarters at (678) 485-1135.
GARY GILCHRIST GOLF ACADEMY, a full-time junior golf training and development program, enters its first year as an Official Partner of the AJGA. The partnership features an endowment of an AJGA Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant and the naming rights to the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series, which provides juniors access to national competitive golf opportunities.