CHO, LO LEAD AT 5-UNDER-PAR AT MISSION HILLS DESERT JUNIOR
Shin moves up six spots to lead Girls Division at Mission Hills Country Club's Dinah Shore Tournament Course
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Chris Cho of San Diego and Tom Lo of Los Angeles are leading the Boys Division of the Mission Hills Desert Junior on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club with scores of 139 going into Thursday's final round. Jenny Shin of Torrance, Calif., moved into the lead in the Girls Division after firing Wednesday's round-low 69 and currently sits atop the leaderboard with a score of 2-under-par 142.
Conducted by the AJGA, the Mission Hills Desert Junior is a 54-hole stroke play event featuring 60 boys and 24 girls, ages 12-18, from seven states and one foreign country, with 72 players from California. The event is being staged on the 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.
Cho had a one-stroke lead after the first round, and his 1-under-par performance Wednesday was good enough to keep that advantage. Cho said he played in the Mission Hills Desert Junior last year and did not finish as well as he would have liked, but this year he has adopted a new philosophy.
“I feel like I played better today because I grinded well and I made the putts I needed to make,” Cho said. “This year my goal is just to have fun, though. The most optimistic way is the best way.”
Lo did not card a single bogey in his 3-under-par outing. He made par on his first eight holes, birdie on the next three holes, and par on his final seven holes to close the round. Lo was three shots behind the leader and tied for sixth place going into the second round.
Rounding out the top seven in the Boys Division are Andrew Perez of Oxnard, Calif., two-time defending champion Sihwan Kim of Buena Park, Calif., Alex Shi Yup Kim of Fullerton, Calif., Matthew Siporin of Tarzana, Calif., and Philip Chian of Covina, Calif., all tied for third place at 2-under-par 140.
In the Girls Division, Jenny Shin, 2006 U.S. Girls' Junior Champion, is the only player with a score under par and currently leads by two strokes. She moved up six spots on the leaderboard Wednesday and said she was surprised to finish the second round where she did.
“I expected myself to do well this year, but I didn't know how well I was doing today until I got to the scoring tent,” Shin said. “I focused hard on every shot and hopefully I can keep this up tomorrow.”
Sarah Salvo of Glendale, Calif., is tied with Lizette Salas of Azusa, Calif., and Jennifer Johnson of La Quinta, Calif., for second place at 145.
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.
The final round of the Mission Hills Desert Junior will begin with 6:30 a.m. starting times off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees on the Mission Hills Country Club's Dinah Shore Tournament Course.
For more information about the Mission Hills Desert Junior, please contact tournament headquarters at (678) 617-2424.