I.R.I. ARIZONA NATIONAL MIXED TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
HOSTED BY ANNIKA SORENSTAM AND JIM FURYK
Arizona National Golf Club
Tucson, Ariz. • May 6 - 8
J LEE SQUARED HOLDS ON TO FINISH WITH FOUR-STROKE VICTORY
TUCSON, Ariz. — After letting their lead slip to one stroke on the front nine, the team of James Lee of La Habra, Calif., and Jennie Lee (no relation) of Huntington Beach, Calif., fought their way back to finish the day with a tournament total 18-under-par 195 for a four-stroke victory at the I.R.I. Arizona National Mixed Team Championship hosted by Annika Sorenstam and Jim Furyk.
The I.R.I. Arizona National Mixed Team Championship hosted by Annika Sorenstam and Jim Furyk was a three-format 54-hole mixed team stroke play event conducted by the American Junior Golf Association. The tournament featured 40 teams comprised of one boy and one girl from 15 states and Canada.
Sunday's final round was played using a Four-Ball format. The first round was modified Scotch while the second round was alternate shot.
The team of Lee and Lee, J Lee Squared, started off well on the first hole with a birdie. That was the high point of the first nine as the team could not do better than par on its next seven holes, carding a bogey on No. 7. It was at No. 7 that James' and Jennie's playing partners, Erik Flores of Grass Valley, Calif., and Esther Choe of Scottsdale, Ariz., were able to close to within a stroke of J Lee Squared.
Things turned around for the Lee duo on No. 9 with a birdie to extend the lead to two. The team went on to collect birdies on Nos. 11, 12, 15, 16 and 18.
“After Jennie birdied No. 12, I thought that we were good, but having one more birdie would be enough to win it,” James said.
The next birdie came on No. 15 with James sinking a 40-foot putt to extend the team's lead to four strokes.
The team also avoided a tough situation two holes later as neither James nor Jennie were able to land their tee shot on the green. Jennie was able to chip on from the right side and put her shot within a foot of the hole.
“I felt confident with my chips today, on No. 17 I said to myself, ‘I'll get up and down and be fine,'” said Jennie.
The victory was a relief to the team after feeling so anxious about the final round that they had trouble sleeping the night before. “I feel so much better now,” said James, a UCLA signee. “Now I can relax.”
“I wish that I could play another day,” said Jennie, who is graduating and will be playing college golf at Duke University in the fall. “I cannot play next year and I am sad that it is over.”
Flores and Choe finished in second with a 14-under-par 199. Flores will be one of James Lee's teammates on the UCLA golf team in the fall.
Finishing in a tie for third were the teams of Peter Uihlein of Bradenton, Fla., and Sydney Burlison of Salinas, Calif.; and Brian Kim of Yorba Linda, Calif., and Angela Park of Torrance, Calif. Both teams finished the weekend with a 12-under-par 201. Rounding out the top five were the teams of Rory Hie of Lakewood, Calif., and Alina Lee of Evans, Ga.; and Jason Kang of Torrance, Calif., and Jane Rah of Torrance, Calif. The teams finished with identical 11-under-par 202s to finish in a tie for fifth.
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, which enters its third decade of support, 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.
For more information on the I.R.I. Arizona National Mixed Team Championship hosted by Annika Sorenstam and Jim Furyk, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.