CHOE CARRIES LEAD INTO FINAL ROUND AT ROLEX GIRLS JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
Barton and Kim tied for second going into final round
PARK CITY, Utah — Esther Choe of Scottsdale, Ariz., will look to claim her second AJGA Invitational victory Friday at the Rolex Girls Junior Championship. Choe finished the second round with a 4-under-par 67 to go 6-under for the tournament. Lila Barton of Dallas and Kimberly Kim of Pahoa, Hawaii, are both at 1-under-par 141 for the tournament and tied for second.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Rolex Girls Junior Championship is one of ten AJGA Invitationals being held in 2006. This year the prestigious event is being held at the Glenwild Golf Club & Spa in Park City, Utah. The field includes five first-team Rolex All-Americans and 77 girls from 20 states and seven countries, including Argentina, Mexico, Japan, Colombia, Spain, the United Kingdom and Canada. Past champions include Morgan Pressel, Julieta Granada and Paula Creamer.
Choe, winner of the 2005 Rolex Tournament of Champions, led going into the second round and will focus on her long game to keep her in contention for the title.
“I hit more fairways today, more than I think I ever have,” Choe said. “I hit close to the hole today and had a lot of tap-ins for birdies. That's all I want to do tomorrow.”
Choe finished the day with four birdies and said a victory at this tournament would be even more memorable than others.
“This tournament is so much fun, Glenwild is such a beautiful course and all my friends are here,” Choe said. “I just want to come out, play my game, and have fun.”
Barton and Kim will look to contend with Choe for the tournament title. Barton will focus on her approach shots while Kim will focus on her short game during the final round.
“I have to hit the greens, I'm not going to be able to waste a shot and still contend with Esther,” Barton said.
“Esther is one of my good friends, so playing with her will make me more relaxed, but I still need to work on my putting,” Kim said.
Rounding out the top five are Maria Jose Uribe of Bucaramanga, Colombia and Sally Watson of South Queensferry, Scotland, both tied for fourth, eight strokes behind Choe with 144s.
Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. Along with sponsoring the Rolex Girls Junior Championship, Rolex is also the title partner of the Rolex Tournament of Champions and the proprietors of the Rolex Junior All-America Teams.
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 an annual 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.
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 compiles more than 300 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr, Candie Kung and Paula Creamer.
The final round of the Rolex Girls Junior Championship will begin at 8 a.m. off the No. 1 tee. For more information, please contact tournament headquarters at (239) 482-7644, ext. 117.