SMITH LEADS BY TWO STROKES AT PING PHOENIX JUNIOR
Frasier, Johnson at 8-under-par in Girls Division at Moon Valley Country Club
PHOENIX — Sam Smith of Turlock, Calif., shot a 4-under-par 68 Thursday at Moon Valley Country Club and is leading the Boys Division of the PING Phoenix Junior with a two-day total of 132. Danielle Frasier of Encinitas, Calif., and Jennifer Johnson of La Quinta, Calif., are leading the Girls Division after shooting even-par 72 and 6-under-par 66, respectively, for two-day totals of 8-under-par 136.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the PING Phoenix Junior features 57 boys and 27 girls, ages 12-18. Fifteen states and three foreign countries are represented, with 36 players out of California. The event is being staged on the par-72 Moon Valley Country Club course with boys tees set at 7,210 yards and girls tees set at 6,325 yards.
With two top-ten finishes under his belt in the 2007 AJGA season, Smith followed Wednesday's round of 64 with a 4-under-par 68 in the second round of play. Smith sank four birdies in his bogey-free round, and said he is excited to play in the leader group during Friday's final round.
“Tomorrow I plan to play my game and not force shots,” Smith said. “I only had 29 putts today, and I hope to keep it up so I can have a chance to win the tournament.”
Tom Lo of Los Angeles is in second place at 68-66 — 134, and sitting in third position is Sam Chien of San Diego, Calif., at 69-67 — 136. Tied for fourth are Aaron Sherry of Fort Myers, Fla. at 66-71 — 137, Andrew Yun of Tacoma, Wash., at 70-67 — 137, and Alex Kang of Oak Park, Calif., at 67-70 — 137.
In the Girls Division, Frasier said her thought process for Thursday's round was to not think about the previous day's low score, but to think about the round at hand. Carding four birdies, Fraiser credited her putting for keeping her in the lead after two days at 64-72 — 136.
“My putting boosted my confidence today,” Fraiser said. “I made a seven-foot birdie putt on No. 13, and it pushed me to start playing a more solid and consistent round.”
Johnson also said she is happy with her play in the tournament thus far. She holed out for eagle from 80 yards on No. 3 to give her the push she needed to card a 6-under-par 66 in Thursday's round.
“I took advantage of the short holes today,” Johnson said. “Playing a steady round really boosted my confidence for the final round of play.”
Holding the third position is Cheyenne Woods of Phoenix at 69-68 — 137.
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.
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 PING Phoenix Junior will begin Friday with 6:30 a.m. starting times off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at Moon Valley Country Club.
For more information about the PING Phoenix Junior, please contact Tournament Director Jeremy Freyman at (678) 617-9917, or visit ajga.org.