HERNANDEZ FIRES 7-UNDER-PAR 65 TO TAKE LEAD AT PING PHOENIX JUNIOR
Yang one stroke ahead of competition at Moon Valley Country Club
PHOENIX — Juan Pablo Hernandez of Mexico City tallied seven birdies in his second round of play to take a one-stroke lead going into the final round of the PING Phoenix Junior. Michelle Yang of Los Angeles carded a 3-under-par 69 to put her one stroke ahead in the Girls Division going into the final round at Moon Valley Country Club.
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 tournament field features 51 boys and 27 girls, ages 12-18, from 11 states, Mexico and Taiwan. The Boys Division is playing the par-72 course at 7,163 yards, while the Girls Division is playing the course at 6,417 yards.
Hernandez, who was tied for fourth after the first round, took the lead by storm Wednesday after posting the best round of the tournament thus far. He sits at 10-under-par 134 going into the final round of play.
“This feels good,” Hernandez said. “I didn't have any bogeys today and my iron shots set me up really close to the flagstick to make putts easier.”
Hernandez, 17, doesn't plan on changing his strategy going into the final round.
“I just need to keep it up,” Hernandez said. “I will rest tonight and play my own game tomorrow.”
In second for the Boys Division is Landon Tujague of Dallas, with a tournament total of 9-under-par 135. John Catlin of Carmichael, Calif., Chien Yao Hung of Sinjhuang City, Taiwan, and James Back of Seoul, South Korea, are all tied for third with 6-under-par 138s.
In the Girls Division, Yang, who shot even-par 72 in the first round of the tournament, carded three birdies on the day to bring her tournament total to 3-under-par 141.
“I hit more accurate shots today,” Yang said. “I practiced a lot after yesterday's round to work on my rhythm and tempo. I also owe a lot to my putting. My 15-foot put for birdie on the par-4 No. 3 really got the second half of my day going.”
Tied for second behind Yang, with tournament totals of 2-under-par 142s, are Elyse Okada of Kahului, Hawaii, and Victoria Sungmin Park of Irvine, Calif.
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 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.
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 PING Phoenix Junior will be Thursday, August 14 with tee times running of Nos. 1 and 10 tees from 6:30 — 8:18 a.m. For more information about the PING Phoenix Junior, please contact Tournament Director Preston Etheridge at (602) 942-0000 ext. 4422.