KANG UP THREE STROKES AT TEE UP JUNIOR CHALLENGE
Morris and Salvo to go head-to-head with four-stroke lead at Industry Hills Golf Club
CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif. — Alex Kang of Oak Park, Calif., shot a second round-low 5-under-par 66 Thursday to take the lead with a two-day total of 8-under-par 134. Rachel Morris of Carlsbad, Calif., and Sarah Salvo of Glendale, Calif., are tied for the lead in the Girls Division at even-par 142 heading into the final round at Industry Hills Golf Club.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, The TEE UP Junior Challenge is a 54-hole stroke play event featuring 60 boys and 24 girls, ages 12-18. Four states and one foreign country are represented, with 74 juniors from California. The event is being staged on the Industry Hills Golf Club's par-71 Zaharias Course with boys tees set at 6,635 yards and girls tees at 5,983 yards.
Kang, No. 63 in the Polo Golf Rankings, has two top-10 finishes this season and recently finished second at the Mission Hills Desert Junior with a 6-under-par 66 in the final round. Kang said he has never played in the leader group in the final round, but it does not matter to him.
“I'm used to playing against tough competition,” Kang said. “The greens are soft and slow right now so you can really attack them. I'd have to be winning by 20 strokes to even think about changing my game right now.”
Hyun Seok Lim and Michael Jae Woo Im, both of Fullerton, Calif., are tied for second place at 5-under-par 137. Ramsey Sahyoun of Reseda, Calif., is alone in fourth place at 4-under-par 138, and Andrew Perez of Oxnard, Calif., and Paul Mitzel of Mercer Island, Wash., are tied for fifth place at 3-under-par 139.
In the Girls Division, Morris is the highest ranked player in the field with a Polo Golf Ranking of 16, but she said she is not looking past her competition in the TEE UP Junior Challenge. She has four top-10 finishes on the season with one win, but she said the pressure becomes more manageable with each tournament.
“It's always difficult to win,” Morris said. “Your physical game and your mental game have to be good, and you can't take anything for granted.”
Salvo is currently No.74 in the Polo Golf Rankings and has three AJGA victories of her own. She has two top-5 finishes this season, and in June won her first AJGA Open Championship. After two even-par rounds, she said she will be comfortable playing in the leader group in Friday's round.
“Actually being tied for the lead on the last day will be a new experience for me, but I'll play and give it my best,” Salvo said. “That's all I can do.”
Emily Childs of Alameda, Calif., is in third place at 4-over-par 146.
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.
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 TEE UP Junior Challenge will begin Friday with tee times running from 7:00 — 11:03 a.m. off the No. 1 tee.
For more information about the TEE UP Junior Challenge please contact tournament headquarters at (626)854-2300, or by visiting ajga.org.