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Picacho Hills Country Club

Las Cruces, New Mexico

June 21-24, 2004



Karle shoots even-par and leads Girls Division by four shots


LAS CRUCES, N.M. Richard Lee of Vancouver, B.C., was one of just two players to break par in the opening round of the Nike Golf Junior at Las Cruces. Despite an opening-round 69, he thought he could do better.


He did.


 Lee fired a second-round 68 at Picacho Hills Country Club and moved to 7-under-par for the championship, opening a seven-shot lead in his first American Junior Golf Association event.


Taylore Karle of Scottsdale, Ariz., shot an even-par 72 after opening with a 1-under-par 71 Tuesday. She holds a four-shot lead over Jenny Kim of Torrance, Calif., who rebounded from an opening-round 75 to shoot even par. She currently stands at 3-over-par 147.


The Nike Golf Junior at Las Cruces is a 54-hole stroke play event conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at Picacho Hills Country Club. The tournament features 80 of the nation’s premier junior golfers, ages 12-15, from 13 states and Canada.


Lee birdied two of his first three holes to get out quickly and made the turn at 1-under-par. After a birdie at the par-4 first, Lee took dead-aim on the 516-yard par-5 second. Finding the middle of the fairway with a 2-iron and laying up with a 4-iron, Lee had put himself in perfect position.


“I had about 80 yards left,” he said. “I just hit a normal sand wedge – two hops and it went in.”


The eagle moved Lee to 3-under-par on the day, and after a few falters – including a double-bogey at the par-4 seventh – Lee birdied his final two holes to finish strong.


“I’ve just been going along playing,” said Lee, who will try to qualify for the U.S. Junior Amateur next week. “Hopefully tomorrow I can play the same as I did today.”           


David Lipsky of La Canada, Calif., is in second after a second-round 73. Cody Gribble of Dallas, Texas, Blake Johnson of Brownwood, Texas, and Mark Johnson of Tulsa, Okla., are in third place at 146.


Karle hit just 10 greens in regulation – and only six fairways. But lights-out putting allowed Karle to save par time after time.


“My irons weren’t very good, and if I couldn’t putt I would have shot 80,” she said. “I’m not joking.


“But I was confident the whole day despite missing fairways and greens. My attitude is to just keep looking straight forward.”


Wonjoo Choi of Murrieta, Calif., is seven shots back in third place after a second-round 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 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.


 Titleist, the AJGA’s National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association’s success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became the inaugural 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.


 Final-round tee times start at 7:30 a.m. Thursday off tee Nos. 1 and 10 at Picacho Hills Country Club.  For more information about the Nike Golf Junior at Las Cruces, please contact the AJGA at (505) 523-8641.


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