SHAH TAKES FIRST-ROUND LEAD AT OAK VALLEY GOLF CLUB
Okino, Chen sit atop the leader board in the Girls Division at the TEE UP Junior Challenge presented by Kamen Rider Dragon Knight Cup
BEAUMONT, Calif. — Manav Shah of Bakersfield, Calif., fired a sizzling 5-under-par 67 to take the lead in the Boys Division at the TEE UP Junior Challenge presented by Kamen Rider Dragon Knight Cup. Daniela Okino of Elk Grove, Calif., and Szu-Han Chen of Beaumont Calif., are tied for the lead after each shot 1-under-par 71.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the TEE UP Junior Challenge presented by Kamen Rider Dragon Knight Cup is a 54-hole stroke play event being held Oak Valley Golf Club. The tournament field features 102 boys and 42 girls, ages 12-18, from 11 states and two countries. The Boys Division is playing the par-72 course at 6,952 yards, while the Girls Division is playing at 6,024 yards.
Shah, a rising senior, came to Oak Valley focused and determined to play well and that he did. He played steady recording six birdies against one bogey. Shah caught fire on the back nine recording birdies on Nos. 10, 11, 16 and 17 to come home in 4-under-par 32. Despite a cold putter he managed to finish with 5-under-par 67.
“I put the ball in play off the tee and hit a lot of greens,” he said. “I left a few putts out there today but that happens, it's golf.”
Nipping closely at Shah's heels is Michael Kim of Del Mar, Calif., after shooting a 4-under-par 68. Jay Hwang of San Diego, J.J. Holen of Castaic, Calif., Tyler Torano of Chula Vista, Calif., and Lorens Chan of Honolulu, Hawaii are all log jammed in third after each shot 3-under-par 69.
In the Girls Division, Okino started slow bogeying the first hole but she gained momentum as the round went on. After making the turn at 1-over-par 37, she proceeded to birdie Nos. 10, 11 and 14.
“I had a slow front,” she said. “But I made two really good putts on Nos. 10 and 11 which helped me rebound.”
Chen came out of the gates firing, chipping in for birdie on No. 1. She handled the large, undulating greens well and attributed her low score to a good short game.
“My putting was really good,” she said. “I have a bit of an advantage because this is my home course and I know every inch of it.”
Amy Alston of Mission Viejo, Calif., and Sarah Baek of Encinitas, Calif., are two shots back after each shot 1-over-par 73.
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.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 350 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.
Second-round tee times for the TEE UP Junior Challenge presented by Kamen Rider Dragon Knight Cup will run from 7 — 8:39 a.m. and Noon - 1:39 p.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees, Wednesday at Oak Valley Golf Club. For more information, please contact Tournament Director Tommy Tangtiphaiboontana at (678) 617-2424.