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April 3, 2014

AJGA memories in the desert

Jennifer Johnson celebrates her 2007 win with boys victor Sihwan Kim.
The Kraft Nabisco Championship contested on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club features eight players who previously competed at Mission Hills during their AJGA careers. Alumnae Danielle Kang, Tiffany Joh, Alison Lee, Jenny Shin, Lizette Salas and Jennifer Johnson, along with current members Angel Yin of Arcadia, Calif., and Lilia Vu of Fountain Valley, Calif., will return to the site of the ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior, the AJGA’s longest-running event held at the same venue.

Of the eight players, three captured junior titles at the ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior. Joh won in 2004 with a tournament total of 6-under-par 210. Johnson competed at Mission Hills four times: 2004 (11), 2006 (T3), 2009 (T2) and in 2007, when she won over Shin and Salas, who placed second and third respectively.

Shin also competed in 2005 (where she finished ninth) and in 2006 (where she tied for sixth), while Salas was runner-up in 2006.

Lee competed at the ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior four times, taking the title twice. She tied for second in her debut in 2008 and tied for fifth in 2009. In her next appearance at Mission Hills in 2010, the UCLA freshman won with rounds of 72-69-69. Lee returned in 2013 during her final AJGA season, where she set a female junior competitive course record with an opening-round 9-under-par 63 and tied the AJGA girls record for lowest 18-hole score. She took home the 2013 trophy for her eighth of nine career AJGA victories.

As the penultimate tournament in her AJGA career, Kang tied for second in 2009 alongside Johnson.

Current AJGA player Yin will play in her first Kraft Nabisco Championship and will return to Mission Hills for the first time since 2011 when she tied for fifth at the ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior.

Vu won the final spot in the Kraft Nabisco Championship via a playoff victory at the KNC Champions Junior Challenge. Only one year removed from her sole appearance at the ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior, Vu finished fifth at the 2013 event.