JOH FIRES COURSE RECORD; LOOKS TO REVERSE FINAL ROUND FORTUNES SUNDAY
Kanda and Cha at the top of jam-packed boys leaderboard
MESA, Ariz. — First-team Rolex Junior All-American Tiffany Joh of San Diego showed why she is among junior golf's elite at the Heather Farr Classic Saturday by shooting an opening-round 4-under-par 67. Joh broke the Longbow Golf Club course record of 68 set at last year's event by Paula Creamer and matched earlier in the first round by In-Bee Park of Las Vegas.
Meanwhile, California natives Brett Kanda of La Crescenta and Tim Cha of Chino Hills are tied at the top of the Boys Division with matching rounds of 3-under-par 68.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Heather Farr Classic is being played at Longbow Golf Club. The tournament consists of 140 junior golfers, ages 12-18, from 15 states and Canada, including 29 players from the state of Arizona. Twenty-six Rolex Junior All-Americans are competing, including defending Boys Champion Rory Hie of Lakewood, Calif.
Joh started her record-breaking round with an even-par 35 on the back nine. However, Joh caught fire on the front side, recording five birdies during a six-hole stretch, catapulting her to a front-nine 32.
“I was making all the putts you should make inside four feet,” Joh said. “I felt like I could be aggressive with my longer putts because I knew I would make them coming back.”
For the third consecutive year, Joh finds herself at the top of the leaderboard after the first round and is looking to finally capture the tournament crown that has eluded her the past two years.
“It's definitely not over yet,” Joh said. “In-Bee (Park) and all the other great players here can go low, so I have some work left.”
Park, also a first-team Rolex Junior All-American, is just one shot out of the lead going into Sunday's final round. Mina Harigae of Monterey, Calif., Taylore Karle of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Sydnee Michaels of Temecula, Calif., trail by four shots after carding matching rounds of even-par 71.
Kanda made a charge at the end of his round, making birdie on three of his last four holes to jump to the top of the Boys Division.
“I hit the ball really well today,” Kanda said. “This course has a lot of holes that put a premium on your drives and I was hitting it pretty straight.”
Cha, last year's runner-up, recorded four birdies while carding matching 34s on both nines at Longbow.
“I scrambled really well today and made a lot of putts,” Cha said. “Brett (Kanda) is a very good player and I just hope that I can continue playing well.”
The field is packed tight behind the leaders, however. Five players, including Eddie Olson of Aptos, Calif., Drew Kittleson of Scottsdale, Ariz., Richard Lee of Vancouver, B.C., Roberto Galletti, Jr. of Clayton, Calif., and Kyle Nielsen of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., are tied for second place after firing 2-under-par 69s.
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 a junior 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, which enters its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
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 Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
The final round begins at 7 a.m. Sunday with the first wave of tee times off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees. The second wave begins at 11:30 a.m. For more information on the Heather Farr Classic, please contact tournament headquarters at (480) 807-5400 or visit ajga.org.