Park pulls it out on last hole of ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior
Lee takes home first AJGA victory at Mission Hills Country Club
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Kaitlin Park of Tustin Ranch, Calif., shot a 2-under-par 70 to withstand a furious comeback from Andrea Lee of Hermosa Beach, Calif., to win the ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior. In the Boys Division, John Lee of Los Alamitos, Calif., maintained the lead he established through the first two rounds carding a 2-under-par 70 en route to his first American Junior Golf Association victory.
The ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior was a 54-hole stroke play event conducted by the AJGA at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. The tournament field featured 54 boys and 24 girls from seven states and two countries. The Boys Division played the par-72 course at 7,101 yards and the Girls Division played it at 6,177 yards.
Andrea Lee birdied eight holes on Thursday to pull within one shot on No. 18, but she missed her putt for birdie. Park made par, giving her the victory.
“Andrea really kept me on my toes,” Park said. “I felt lots of pressure, but I stayed true to my putting and had confidence in each shot I put up.”
Park said she felt she had a chance to win on No. 6.
“My tee shot was behind the crooked tree and I hit the perfect punch shot that put me within two feet and I birdied it,” Park said. “I had to be aggressive because I didn't want to come up short. That hole really gave me a good feeling.”
This is Park's third victory. She won in April at the Under Armour®/Hunter Mahan Championship and also in August of 2010 at the Scissortail Junior Championship.
Andrea Lee finished in second with a 5-under-par 211 tournament total by shooting a tournament record final-round 7-under-par 65. Esther Lee of Los Alamitos, Calif., placed in third carding a 2-over-par 218 tournament total.
In his 18th AJGA event John Lee was able to come up with the victory he had been searching for. John Lee led all three rounds of the ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior, winning the event by eight strokes.
“It was the first time I've led all three rounds,” John Lee said. “I went at all the pins, opportunities began to come and I did the best I could.”
John Lee will add his name to a list of past champions at Mission Hills that includes Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods amongst others. “I'll remember this until I die. I never thought this could happen,” John Lee said. “Not many people have their names up there so I'm lucky to do that.”
Angelo Jose Gandionco of Cebu City, Philippines finished in second with an even-par tournament total of 216. Corey Shaun of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., placed third with a 1-over-par 217 tournament total. Alex Angard of Encino, Calif., Robert Palacios of Chino Hills, Calif., and Connor Campbell of Seal Beach, Calif. tied for fourth with a 2-over par 218 tournament total.
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 provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 40 countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex, 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. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 500 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Stewart Cink, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Mickelson, Woods, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Inbee Park and Morgan Pressel.
For more information about the ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior, please contact the AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.