I.R.I. GOLF GROUP TRI-CITIES JUNIOR AT SUN WILLOWS
Sun Willows Golf Course
August 17-20, 2004
PASCO, Wash. – Playing in her first ever AJGA event, 12-year-old Kimberly Kim of Pahoa, Hawaii, tied her own course record and won the Girls Division at the I.R.I. Golf Group Tri-Cities Junior at Sun Willows. Kim fired her second 69 of the week and finished with a tournament total of 4-under-par 212. Matthew Pierce, Jr. of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., shot a final-round 66 and pulled away from the Boys Division for the title.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the I.R.I. Golf Group Tri-Cities Junior at Sun Willows was a 54-hole stroke play event, held at the Sun Willows Golf Course. The tournament featured 120 of the nation’s premier junior golfers, from 15 states and Canada, including 47 players from Washington.
Kim, who entered the day tied for the lead with Kristy Yun of University Place, Wash., once again took advantage of her consistent putting and rebounded from her second round 74. She was able to birdie three of her first six holes and hold off Grace Woo of Burbank, Calif., who finished two strokes back. Kim said her ability to make long putts and keep her irons straight, allowed her to birdie Nos. 1, 3, and 5.
“My irons and chip shots were both much better today,” Kim said. “The greens were the perfect speed and although I missed a lot of 10 foot putts, I was able to make a couple of long ones.”
Kim solidified her lead for good on the par-5 No. 11. After hitting her tee shot into the middle of the fairway, Kim’s second shot was a perfect strike, also landing directly in the middle of the fairway. Her approach shot sailed 15 feet past the hole and left her with a challenging birdie putt.
“I wasn’t very happy with my approach shot, but I was able to keep myself together and make the putt for birdie,” Kim, who turns 13 on Monday, said. “I wasn’t sure how the rest of the field was doing, but I knew that Grace was close. I would have been much more nervous, but I really didn’t know any scores, besides my own.”
Kim, who finished with nines of 33 and 36, went on to bogey No. 18, but it was enough to win. Woo, shot a final-round 70, after consecutive 72s on the first two days. Woo finished with a tournament total of 2-under-par 214, and the lone blemish on her final-round score card was a double-bogey on the par-3 No. 7. Her back-nine 34, highlighted her round, which included hitting 11 fairways and 15 greens. Finishing tied for third were Yun and Amber Lundskog of San Diego, Calif., who finished with a tournament total of even-par 216.
In the end, it was Kim who would prove to be the most consistent player. After the round, she showed signs of excitement for the first time this week.
“I just talked to my family on the phone and they are so excited,” Kim said. “This is an early birthday present and I hope the rest of my AJGA career will be just as fun,” she said.
Pierce, who started the day with a one shot lead, took control by continuing his solid ball striking and by minimizing his mistakes once again. His final-round 66 consisted of six birdies and no bogeys. It was his second consecutive bogey-free round of the tournament. Pierce finished the tournament with a 14-under-par 202, and a four-stroke victory over Jason Kang of Torrance, Calif. After what he considered a “terrible ball striking front-nine,” Pierce was able to settle himself down and play a solid back-nine.
“I was making pars on the front, but I really wasn’t hitting the ball well,” the 15-year-old said. “On the back I was able to relax. I hit the ball better and I knew I had at least a three shot lead,” he commented. “I just didn’t make mistakes and that is what made the difference. It feels really good to get my first win at an open event,” he said.
Kang would finish alone in second, followed by Joel Dahmen of Clarkston, Wash. Dahmen fired a toasty final-round 67, finishing with a total of 9-under-par 207. Robbie Kelley of Minnetonka, Minn., finished in fourth with a 208. Phillip Huffman of Villa Park, Calif., John Giannuzzi of Wellesley Hills, Mass., and Samuel Kim of Cerritos, Calif., tied for fifth at 6-under-par 210.
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.
For more information on the I.R.I. Golf Group Tri-Cities Junior at Sun Willows, please contact AJGA headquarters at (770) 868-4200.