HEATHER FARR CLASSIC
Longbow Golf Club
April 9-11, 2004
ROLEX PLAYER OF THE YEAR CREAMER, DEFENDS GIRLS DIVISION TITLE AND EARNS 12TH AJGA TITLE
Hie captures first national victory over Easter Weekend at Longbow Golf Club
MESA, Ariz. â€“ In a dramatic fashion, defending champion Paula Creamer of Pleasanton, Calif., overtook the first-round leader and fellow California native Tiffany Joh of San Diego on the No. 5 hole and did not look back during the final round of the Heather Farr Classic to earn her 12th American Golf Association title. Rory Hie of Lakewood, Calif., found the AJGA winner's circle for the first time, winning by a six-stroke margin in the Boys Division.
The Heather Farr Classic, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, featured 120 players, ages 12-18, from 16 states and Canada. The sixth annual 36-hole stroke play event was played on the par-71 layout at Longbow Golf Club. Two 18-hole qualifiers were also conducted at Longbow Golf Club, April 3 and 4, which completed the tournament field.
Entering the final round with a two-stroke deficit behind Joh, Rolex Player of the Year Creamer made par on the par-4 third hole, while Joh committed a double-bogey, putting the pair all-square for the tournament.
â€śI think that was definitely the turning point for me,â€ť Creamer, a high school junior said. â€śI was playing more conservative today than I did yesterday, which I think really helped.â€ť
Creamerâ€™s strategy was rather simple; she adjusted to the conditions of the course and aimed for the middle of the greens rather than going for the flagstick.
â€śI knew the hole locations would be pretty tough, so I decided not to aim right at them,â€ť the 17-year-old said. â€śYesterday, I was trying to hit right at them and I donâ€™t think that worked for me.â€ť
Creamer, the first back-to-back Heather Farr Classic champion, got her round going with one birdie on the 495-yard par-5 sixth hole and followed that up with impressive straight birdies on Nos. 8, 9 and 10.
â€śThose birdies gave me a lot of momentum and kept my confidence high through the round,â€ť she said. â€śI have really been working on my irons this spring and I think my game is coming together nicely.â€ť
The three-time Rolex Junior All-American set the womenâ€™s competitive course record with Sundayâ€™s low of 68, finishing the tournament at 2-under-par 140.
Creamer will return to Arizona in early May to participate in the AJGAâ€™s I.R.I Arizona National Mixed Team Championship hosted by Annika Sorenstan and Jim Furyk, and she will compete on the United States Curtis Cup team at the end of May.
â€śThis is a great start to the upcoming season and I am ready to keep challenging both myself and my game,â€ť she said.
Finishing the tournament eight shots behind Creamer at 148 were California natives Angela Park of Torrance, Tiffany Joh of San Diego and Jennie Lee of Huntington Beach. Also hailing from California, Esther Choe of LaQuinta rounded out the Girls Division at 149.
In the Boys Division, Hie picked up his first national victory while breaking records along the way. His first-round total of 64, which was a personal best, set the 18-hole Heather Farr Classic tournament record and also set a menâ€™s competitive course record at Longbow.
Hie made his first appearance at Longbow Golf Club one to remember as he crafted rounds of 64-72â€”136 to finish 6-under-par. In 2003, the 15-year-old carded three top-10 finishes, but lacked bringing home a crown.
â€śIt feels good to get my first win,â€ť the high school sophomore said. â€śI am very pleased and excited for the opportunity to play in more AJGA events this season.â€ť
Hieâ€™s goal for the day was to maintain his four-stroke lead and to play as well as he did in Saturdayâ€™s roundâ€”he did just that. His round got jump-started with a solid birdie on the 407-yard, par- 4 third hole. Hieâ€™s birdie trend continued on holes 8, 9 and 14.
â€śI made some really long putts today,â€ť he said. â€śI made a 30-foot downhill putt on No. 14, which helped me to keep on playing well.â€ť
Tim Cha of Chino Hills, Calif., finished second with rounds of 68-74â€”142 and local Ryan Brooks of Mesa finished one shot behind at 143 for third place.
Tied for fourth place at 145 were Erik Flores of Grass Valley, Calif., and Alex Williams of Vancouver, Wash. In sixth place at 146 were California natives Cameron Tringale of Laguna Niguel, Daniel Lim of Gilroy and Tyler Matthews of Redmond, Wash.
Rounding out the top 10 were Blake Trimble of Rancho Santa Fe; Jon Curran of Hopkinton, Mass; Doug Fortner of Tustin, Calif.; Nick Geyer of Agoura Hills, Calif.; and Ben Fox of Studio City, Calif., at 147.
For more information on the Heather Farr Classic or any other AJGA event, please contact the AJGAâ€™s National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.