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Oakridge Country Club

Garland, Texas

July 25, 2004



California girls tie at the top for the Girls Division


GARLAND, Texas— Dax Clark found himself at the top of the leaderboard with a 1-over-par 71 and picked up medalist honors for the Boys Division at the I.R.I. Golf Group Oakridge Junior Qualifier.  Californians Piper Miller and Henna Cho shot twin 8-over-par 79s and claimed the Girls Division co-medalist honors.     


Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the I.R.I. Golf Group Oakridge Junior Qualifier was held at Oakridge Country Club and featured 103 players from 10 states, including 78 California natives.  Eleven boys and four girls gained entry into the tournament, which will begin on Tuesday. 


Hard work paid off for Clark, 18, of Shawnee, Okla.


“It feels good to have played so well,” he said.  “It’s nice to earn your way into the tournament the hard way.”


Clark’s strategy was to keep the ball out of trouble so he could avoid penalty shots.


“That was my game plan,” he said.  “It’s nothing special, I just have to keep the ball in front of me and if I hit a green, I just have to make sure I two-putt.  During the tournament I need to take advantage of the par-5s.  Those are the scoring advantages for birdie.  If I do what I did today then I should be fine.”


Also qualifying in the Boys Division are Chris Oberst of Norman, Okla., Robert Mayo of Austin, Texas, Geoff Howard of San Antonio, Texas, Shane Pearce of Carrollton, Texas, Kevin Doskocil of Hillsboro, Texas, Sean Kim of Las Vegas, Brandon Blevins of Norman, Okla., Brian Ault of Mesquite, Texas, Bryce Benson of Arlington, Texas, and Mitchell Van Zelfden of Marietta, Ga.


Miller, 15, of Laguna Beach, Calif., said she didn’t get off to a great start, but she stayed focused and ended strong.


“Today I came into the qualifier thinking all I need to do is have fun and play my best,” she said.  “My strategy worked because I hit a really good shot on No. 9 with my pitching wedge to 10 feet.  It was great because I sunk it for birdie.  I was so excited because I made such a good club selection.  I’m looking forward to playing in the tournament because I get to play outside of California.”


Cho, 16, of Cerritos, Calif., said that the front nine was really working for her.  She was able to make a lot of putts that helped give her an advantage throughout the rest of the round.


“It’s cool that I did so well and made it to the top,” she said.  “I didn’t come into this feeling overconfident, so I remained patient for the round.  Hopefully I’ll play well this week.”


Also qualifying in the Girls Division are Stephanie Smith of The Woodlands, Texas, and Katherine Suarez of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. 


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 largest association of its kind, the AJGA has a junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign countries.


First-round tee times will run from 7:30 a.m. – 12:27 p.m., Tuesday at Oakridge Country Club.


Titleist, the AJGA’s National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association’s success since 1989. Rolex Watch U.S.A., a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became an AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.


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 Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.


For more information on the I.R.I. Golf Group Oakridge Junior, contact tournament headquarters at (972) 530-8008.