NIKE GOLF JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
Langdon Farms Golf Club
September 3-5, 2004
HU CLAIMS TITLE AT NIKE GOLF JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
Karle wins Girls Division and takes second AJGA event of the summer
AURORA, Ore. – Mu Hu of Shen Zhen, China, fired a final-round, 5-under par 66 to overtake the second-round leaders and win the Nike Golf Junior Championship. Hu returned to Langdon Farms Golf Club and earned redemption at the tournament he lost on the final hole in 2003. Taylore Karle’s lead was never in jeopardy, as she cruised to an eight-stroke victory in the Girls Division.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Nike Golf Junior Championship was a 54-hole stroke play event, held at Langdon Farms Golf Club in Aurora, Oregon. The culmination of the 10-event Nike Golf Junior All-Star Series, the tournament featured 72 of the nation’s premier junior golfers, ages 12-15, from 21 states, Canada, China and Peru. The Nike Golf Junior All-Star Series gives juniors ages 12-15 the chance to develop their skills and earn entry into AJGA Open tournaments.
Winner of the Nike Golf Junior at the Colonial presented by the Mississippi Farm Bureau earlier this year, Hu, came from three strokes back to claim the title. Hu took advantage of six birdies during his final round, playing what he called “the best round of his life.” After bogeying No. 1, Hu caught fire on the front-side, carding birdies on Nos. 3, 4, 6 and 8. He would continue to play well on the back-nine, finishing with two more birdies and a tournament total of 207. Hu’s 66 tied for the low-round of the tournament.
“I played extremely well today,” Hu said. “I was disappointed after bogeying No. 1, but my play on the third hole is what really turned everything around,” the 14-year-old said.
Hu sank a 40-foot putt on the par-3 3rd and followed that with a 10-foot putt on No. 4.
"I really was just trying to get it close to the hole on No. 3, but somehow it went in,” Hu said. “I hit my approach shots close all day, but unfortunately I missed several 10-footers. I was happy to play as well as I did, and make the birdie putts when I needed to.”
Hu’s final birdie of the day came on the long par-5 No. 18. Hu was familiar with the finishing hole, and wanted to avoid making the same mistake he did on it last year. In 2003, Hu’s approach shot on No. 18 sailed into the water, costing him a shot at the championship. With that mistake and an extra year of experience in his mind, Hu walked up the 18th fairway.
“I hit a good drive and wanted to hit a 3-iron in,” Hu said. “I was really nervous about hitting it into the water, but it cut and landed safely. It was such a relief.”
Hu would miss his putt for eagle, but made birdie and secured the win.
“I have wanted this win so bad,” Hu said. “It feels really good to win the last tournament of the year, and it gives me so much confidence going into next year.”
Brian Kim of Yorba Linda, Calif., shot a final-round 69 to take second place. His three day total of 210 left him three strokes behind Hu. Rounding out the top-five were Conrad Shindler of Coppell, Texas, Jace Long of Dixon, Mo., and Tommy Chung Hao Mou of Bradenton, Fla. Shindler finished with a 212, followed by Long’s 213. Chung Hao Mou carded a three-day total of 214.
Karle, of Scottsdale, Ariz., who holding a five-stroke lead going into the final-round in the Girls Division, was able to maintain her solid play and win her second AJGA event of the summer. Karle won the Nike Golf Junior at Las Cruces and finished second at the Nike Golf Junior at Quad Cities.
Karle, who shot a final-round 2-over par 73, finished with a tournament total of 217. Karle credited her consistency during the final round.
“I couldn’t putt today, but I chipped well and that got me up-and-down a lot,” Karle said. “I was hoping to come out and shoot in the 60’s today. I only had three birdies, but it was enough to get the win.”
The 14-year-old may have saved her best shot of the final round for the 18th hole. Although she would miss her birdie putt, it was a strong ending to a solid round.
“I was about 82-yards out and I rolled the ball about four feet past the hole,” Karle said. “From the lie I had, it was a very good shot,” she said. “I am very happy with how I played, and now it’s back to school. I’m looking forward to next year and I’ll be back here next year,” Karle said.
Sarah Salvo of Glendale, Calif., and Natalie Sheary of West Hartford, Conn., finished tied for second. Salvo shot a final-round 76 and Sheary carded a 3-over par 74. Both players had three-day totals of 225.
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 Nike Golf Junior Championship, please contact the AJGA at (770) 868-4200.