I.R.I. ARIZONA NATIONAL MIXED TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
HOSTED BY ANNIKA SORENSTAM AND JIM FURYK
May 7-9, 2004
COUSINS LEE AND PARK HOLD ON TO TAKE VICTORY IN I.R.I. MIXED TEAM EVENT
Puntawong and Creamer give strong opposition, but fall just short and finish second
TUCSON, Ariz. – In what turned into a two-team showdown in the final round, cousins Lucas Lee and Angela Park of Torrance, Calif., struck the last blow with a birdie on No. 18 to fire a final-round 62 and hold on for the victory at the I.R.I. Arizona National Mixed Team Championship hosted by Annika Sorenstam and Jim Furyk. The team of Chanin Puntawong of Bradenton, Fla., a second-team Rolex Junior All American, and Paula Creamer of Pleasanton, Calif., the Rolex Junior Player of the Year, put up a valiant fight, but came up just short to finish second by one stroke. In their triumph, Lee and Park put up a stellar three-round total of 20-under-par 193, while Puntawong and Creamer fired an equally impressive 19-under-par 194.
The I.R.I. Arizona National Mixed Team Championship hosted by Annika Sorenstam and Jim Furyk was a three-format 54-hole mixed team stroke play event conducted by the American Junior Golf Association. The tournament featured 33 teams comprised of one boy and one girl, ages 12-18, from 16 states, Canada and Paraguay. 22 Rolex Junior All Americans participated in the event.
Lee and Park held a one-stroke advantage entering Sunday’s final round, which was played in a four-ball format. The pair of juniors fired six birdies on the front side and nine for the round, with five in a row on Nos. 5 through 9.
“Angela was playing great today and I wasn’t playing that well,” Lee said. “I just tried to get in good position for pars so she could be more aggressive with her birdie putts.”
Park continued her great play on the back side, carding two more birdies for the team on Nos. 12 and 16. In the end, however, it was Lee who proved to be the deciding factor in the back-and-forth final round.
On the 513-yard par-5 18th, the 16-year-old put a 30-footer from just off the green to within two feet and made that putt for birdie, as the other three players, and most importantly Puntawong and Creamer, each narrowly missed their birdie attempts. This gave Lee and Park a 3-under-par 33 on the back side and the one-shot victory.
“This was a great tournament,” Park said. “It was competitive and fun. It is a privilege to win a tournament like this in its first year.”
The second-place team of Puntawong and Creamer equaled the final round of Lee and Park, also carding a 9-under-par 62. They too recorded six birdies on the front side, including a hole-out on the fly by Creamer from the bunker right of the green on the par-3 fourth hole. This gave the pair a 6-under-par 29 on their first nine holes.
“We really complement each other well,” Puntawong said. “We played well all weekend. We just didn’t make as many putts today.”
The pair of Rolex Junior All Americans evened the scores when their birdie on No. 17 left both teams at 19-under-par. However, they fell just short when neither of the 17-year-olds could connect on their long birdie attempts on No. 18.
“I’m pretty bummed to lose the way we did, but it was still a really fun format.” Creamer said.
Finishing in a tie for third place with 15-under-par totals of 198 were the team of Luke Hopkins of Greer, S.C., and Mallory Hetzel of Summerville, S.C., and the team of Daniel Lim of Gilroy, Calif., and Esther Choe of La Quinta, Calif.
Tying for fifth place with totals of 200 were Jon-Charles Carpenter of San Antonio, Texas, and Kelley Louth of Victoria, Texas, Kevin Chappell of Fresno, Calif., and Sommer Scholl of Riverside, Calif., and Trent and Taylor Leon of Dallas.
The team of David Dragoo and Amanda Blumenherst of Scottsdale, Ariz., received the Oakley Low Final Round Award, carding a tournament-low 13-under-par round of 59 on Sunday to finish tied for 10th with a 204 tournament total.
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 AJGA has a membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 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, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
For more information on the I.R.I. Arizona National Mixed Team Championship hosted by Annika Sorenstam and Jim Furyk, or any other AJGA event, please contact the AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.