VALDER LEADS PING PHOENIX JUNIOR AFTER 6-UNDER-PAR DAY
Sanchez takes lead in Girls Division at Moon Valley Country Club
PHOENIX — Preston Valder of Yorba Linda, Calif., fired a 6-under-par 66 to take a one-stroke lead in the Boys Division at the PING Phoenix Junior Tuesday. In the Girls Division, Daffodil Sanchez of Mesa, Ariz., carded a 1-under-par 71 to put herself atop the leaderboard.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the PING Phoenix Junior is a 54-hole stroke play event held at Moon Valley Country Club. The 78 player field features players from 11 states, Canada, Mexico and Thailand. The Boys Division is playing the par-72 course at 7,160 yards, while the Girls Division is playing it at 6,341 yards.
Valder, a rising junior, started off steady and finished hot in his third AJGA event of 2009. His back nine included five birdies, helping him to a 5-under-par 31 on that side. Valder had no blemishes on his scorecard and at the end of the day he had his best round of the year.
“I hit the ball well and birdied when I needed and was able to,” Valder said. “The heat is probably the hardest thing to deal with out here.”
Tanner Kesterson of Plano, Texas, is in second place at 5-under-par 67. Chris Capo of Woodland Hills, Calif., sits alone in third place at 3-under-par 69. Thomas Birdsey of Trophy Club, Texas, Jeff Wibawa of Encino, Calif., Johannes Veerman of Sugar Land, Texas, Tyler Dunlap of Westlake, Texas, Michael Schoolcraft of Englewood, Colo., Tad Murray of La Quinta, Calif., Michael Lai of Redlands, Calif., Jerry Ruiz of Puebla, Mexico, and Neil Evans of Phoenix are all tied for fourth place at 2-under-par 70.
In the Girls Division, Sanchez credited her under-par score to steady play. She finished her first round with three birdies and two bogeys. The Arizona native leads the rest of the field by three strokes.
“My day was pretty boring really,” Sanchez said. “I just stayed consistent, but my score could have been much lower. I left some shots out there.”
Bonnie Hu of Fremont, Calif., is in second at 2-over-par 74. Cheyenne Hickle of Gilbert, Ariz., Katia Joo of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., Alexandra Kaui of Henderson, Nev., and Kortnie Maxoutopoulis of Pleasnton, Calif., are all tied for third place at 3-over-par 75.
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.
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.
Second-round tee times will run from 6:30 — 8:18 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at Moon Valley Country Club. For more information, please contact Tournament Director Jonah Beck at (678) 617-2425.