CHIEN SITS ATOP LEADERBOARD WITH TWO-DAY TOTAL OF 5-UNDER-PAR 139
Chung hangs onto lead for second straight day in Girls Division with a two-stroke cushion
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. — For the second day in a row, Sam Chien of San Diego, Calif., leads the Boys Division with a 68-71—139 tournament total going into the final round. In the Girls Division, Grace Chung of Fullerton, Calif., managed to break away from a tie for the lead and now sits in the leader's spot with a 3-over-par 147 tournament total.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Hanmi Bank Junior Open is being played on Robinson Ranch Golf Club's par-72 Valley Course. The 54-hole event features 73 boys and 24 girls, ages 12-18, from four states, with the majority of juniors from California.
Chien went out to the course Wednesday with the same mindset he maintained throughout the first round. He said he would take one hole at a time, which turned out to be a successful strategy. The 16-year-old hit 15 fairways and made four birdies to finish at 1-under-par 71 for the day.
“There's still one more day so I don't get ahead of myself,” Chien said.
Chien said he would welcome his first victory but doesn't underestimate his competition at AJGA tournaments.
“I step up my game a little more,” he said. “(Winning) would be a big thing because I've worked hard to get in this tournament.”
Nick Delio of Valencia, Calif., sits in second after carding a 3-under-par 141 tournament total. In third place after the second round is Tyler Weworski of Carlsbad, Calif., with a 142. Ronnald Monaco of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and Austin Graham of San Clemente, Calif., are currently tied in fourth place, shooting matching 144s.
Also holding onto the lead for the second consecutive day, Chung maneuvered through the course to come out of a tie from the first round and now leads the Girls Division by two strokes. The 16-year-old's 5-over-par 77 was enough to keep her in first place going into the final round.
“Today I tried to keep my pace and shoot a consistent score,” Chung said. “I'm happy, but there's pressure tomorrow.”
The rising junior noted her appreciation for the course's difficulty, saying she liked its short length but was also challenged by the Valley Course's greens. After finishing second and third place in previous tournaments, Chung said she is eager for a win.
“It would mean a lot because I've been playing AJGA (tournaments) for three years, and I've never won,” she said. “It would be really exciting if I won.”
Rachel Morris of Carlsbad, Calif., Glory Yang of Murrieta, Calif., and Victoria Sungmin Park of Irvine, Calif., all posted 5-over-par 149 tournament totals to stand in second place after the second round.
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 final round of the Hanmi Bank Junior Open will begin Thursday, July 13 with tee times running from 7-11:48 a.m. off the No. 1 tee. For more information on the Hanmi Bank Junior Open, contact tournament headquarters at (661) 252-8484 ext. 5, or visit the AJGA Web site at ajga.org.