KIM CLAIMS FIRST AJGA TITLE AT DUNLOP CAROLINA JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
Rada holds off back-nine surge by Hu to bring home first place trophy
GREENVILLE, S.C. — Stacey Kim of Midland, Ga., and Patrick Rada of Anderson, S.C., have a few things in common after this week. They led their respective divisions after the second round of play and, in the final round, both shot 32-39 — 71 on their way to victory.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Dunlop Carolina Junior Championship was held at the Green Valley Country Club. Ninety-nine junior golfers from 20 states, China and Peru, including 20 from South Carolina, are competing in the 54-hole stroke play event.
Kim opened up early on the front nine, scoring five birdies on Nos. 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7 to make the turn with a 4-under-par 32.
“After the third birdie, I realized they were in a row and was excited. I try to play how I practice; just trust my swing and playing ability,” she said.
Despite being one of the youngest players in the Girls Division as a rising freshman, Kim was able to overcome a triple bogey on No. 12 to remain 1-under-par for the round. She shot a 3-under-par 213 to win the tournament.
“I hope to win more and do well at other tournaments,” she said. “I just want to keep going and do my best.”
Three strokes behind Kim with an even par 216 was Blair Lamb of Flat Rock, N.C. Finishing third at 1-over-par 217 was Joy Kim of Duluth, Ga.
Rada said winning the South Carolina Golf Association Junior Championship last week was a confidence booster entering the tournament, as he has never won back-to-back tournaments.
“This was a great experience. This tournament has some of the best competition in the country. It's a confidence booster for the rest of the summer,” he said.
Rada began the ninth hole 3-under-par for the day. An errant tee-shot into the 18th fairway almost jeopardized his score until his next shot landed 15 feet from the hole. He sank his putt for his fourth birdie of the day.
“Making the turn at 32 gave me some cushion on the back,” he said. “I wasn't nervous; I just wanted to hit solid shots.”
A double bogey on No. 13 and bogey on No. 14 brought Rada to 1-under-par, but he was able to par the remaining holes to finish with a 9-under-par 207 for the tournament.
Mu Hu of Shen Zhen, China, was second, three strokes behind Rada with a 6-under-par 210. In third place was Luke Hopkins of Greer, S.C., with a 3-under-par 213. Wes Roach of Knoxville, Tenn., was fourth in the Boys Division at 1-over-par 217 and, in fifth place with a 2-over-par 218 were Henry Zaytoun III of Raleigh, N.C., and Daniel Burns of Statesville, N.C.
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, the largest Association of its kind, 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, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, 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, Dottie Pepper, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
For more information about the Dunlop Carolina Junior Championship, call national headquarters at (770) 868-AJGA.