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I.R.I. GOLF GROUP TRI-CITIES JUNIOR AT SUN WILLOWS

Sun Willows Golf Course

Pasco, Washington

August 17-20, 2004

 

STRONG FINISH GIVES PIERCE LEAD HEADING INTO FINAL-ROUND

Kim and Yun share lead after second-round

 

PASCO, Wash. – Matthew Pierce, Jr. of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., fired his second consecutive round of 68 to take a one stroke lead at the I.R.I. Golf Group Tri-Cities Junior at Sun Willows. First-round leader Kimberly Kim of Pahoa, Hawaii, and Christy Yun of University Place, Wash., share the lead in the Girls Division at 1-under-par 143.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the I.R.I. Golf Group Tri-Cities Junior at Sun Willows is a 54-hole stroke play event, being held at the Sun Willows Golf Course. The tournament features 120 of the nation’s premier junior golfers, from 15 states and Canada, including 47 players from Washington.

Pierce started the day two strokes behind first-round leader Jason Kang, but was able to take control of the second-round lead with solid ball striking and by minimizing his mistakes. His 4-under-par round consisted of five birdies and just one bogey.

“I hit the ball solid today, but the round itself was nothing too spectacular,” Pierce explained. “I really am focusing on not making mistakes out here, and keeping myself in good position.”

After a front nine 1-under-par 35 and five consecutive pars to start his backside, Pierce’s putter came alive.  Starting with a birdie on the par-5 No. 15, he recorded three consecutive birdies, after rolling in putts at Nos. 16 and 17. On the closing hole, Pierce found himself in good position to close out his round with his fourth straight birdie, but his putt for three rolled just outside the hole. After two rounds, the 15-year-olds’ tournament total stands at 8-under-par 136.

Trailing Pierce by one stroke is Kang of Torrance, Calif., who shot a 1-under-par 71 for a tournament total of 137. Phillip Huffman of Villa Park, Calif., and Alexander Moore of Richland, Wash., carded second-round 69s to finish in a tie for third place at 138. Rounding out the top five is Samuel Kim of Cerritos, Calif., who shared the low second round score of 68 for a two-day total of 139.

In the Girls Division, Kim followed her first-round course record of 69 with a 2-over-par 74 to maintain a share of the second-round lead with Yun. Kim, who is just 12-years-old and is competing in her first ever AJGA event, continued her consistent play.  After a slow start to her second round including a front-nine 38 and bogies on two out of her first four holes on the back nine, she responded nicely.  Kim was able to take advantage of the short par-5 15th hole, making birdie four.  On the 18th hole, she hit her approach shot to within 10 feet of the hole, and rolled the putt in for birdie, and a back-nine 36.

“I did not hit the ball as well as yesterday, but my tee shots were pretty good,” Kim said. “I am going to go out tomorrow and just play my best and see what happens.”

Yun, improved upon her first-round 73 with a second day 2-under-par 70. She tallied a front-nine 36, which included two birdies on hole Nos. 4 and 8 and two bogies.  Her backside started nicely, when she made a seven-footer on the par-4 10th hole for birdie.  After a par on No. 11, she struck again, this time rolling in a 20-foot birdie putt.  A bogey on No.17 would bring her back to 1-under-par for the day; however, she sank her chip-shot on No. 18 for a birdie and a back-nine 34.

“I hit a lot of greens today, which gave me a bunch of birdie opportunities,” Yun said. “I am very confident on these greens, which is allowing me to attack my putts.”

Sara Ovadia of Santa Barbara, Calif., shot a second-round 69, tying the course record that was set by Kim in the first-round. Her tournament total of 144 puts her in a tie for third place with Grace Woo of Burbank, Calif. Woo carded her second even par round of 72.

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 has a 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.

Final-round tee times will begin Friday at 7 a.m. and conclude at 12:51 p.m. at the Sun Willows Golf Course. For more information on the I.R.I. Golf Group Tri-Cities Junior at Sun Willows, please contact tournament headquarters at (509) 545-3440, ask for AJGA.

 

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