CHO SINKS SEVEN BIRDIES TO LEAD AT MISSION HILLS DESERT JUNIOR
Christine Song leads with 1-under-par 71 on Mission Hills Country Club's Dinah Shore Tournament Course
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Chris Cho of San Diego carded a 5-under-par 67 to lead in the Boys Division after the first round of play on the Mission Hills Country Club's Dinah Shore Tournament Course. In the Girls Division, Christine Song of Fullerton, Calif., finished Tuesday's round at 1-under-par 71 to take the top spot in the American Junior Golf Association's Mission Hills Desert Junior
Conducted by the AJGA, the Mission Hills Desert Junior is a 54-hole stroke play event featuring 60 boys and 24 girls, ages 12-18, from seven states and one foreign country, with 72 players from California. The event is being staged on the Mission Hills Country Club's par-72 Dinah Shore Tournament Course with boys tees set at 7,006 yards and girls tees set at 6,077 yards. Now in its 26th year, the event boasts Bob May, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Kevin Na, Danielle Ammaccapane, Brandi Burton, Emilee Klein, Kellee Booth and Grace Park as some of its past champions.
Cho, who recently signed a letter of intent with the University of Nevada, carded seven birdies on the day with four in his last nine holes.
“My biggest key to success today was not caring as much as I did in this event last year,” Cho said. “I felt less pressure, and having my coach here helped me relax.”
In contention for the lead in the Boys Division are Alex Shi Yup Kim of Fullerton, Calif., Andrew Perez of Oxnard, Calif., and Tyler Raber of El Macero, Calif., all at 68, and two-time defending champion Sihwan Kim of Buena Park, Calif., at 69.
In the Girls Division, Song bogeyed on No. 1, but recovered with a birdie on Nos. 2 and 9 to make the turn at 1-under-par. An even-par back nine gave Song the one stroke advantage she needed to finish the round atop the Girls Division.
“I did well hitting the greens and recovering from bad holes today,” Song said. “I bogeyed No. 17, so it felt good to finish the round with a birdie on No. 18.”
Sarah Salvo of Glendale, Calif., Lee Lopez of Whittier, Calif., Rachel Morris of Carlsbad, Calif., Jennifer Johnson of La Quinta, Calif., and Eunice Yim of La Canada, Calif., are in a five-way tie for second place at even-par 72.
The AJGA 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 an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 25 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 is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
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 Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
The second round of the Mission Hills Desert Junior will begin with 6:30 a.m. starting times off of Nos. 1 and 10 tees on the Mission Hills Country Club's Dinah Shore Tournament Course.
For more information about the Mission Hills Desert Junior, please contact tournament headquarters at (678) 617-2424.