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Mission Hills Country Club - Dinah Shore Tournament Course
Rancho Mirage, Calif. • June 27 - 30

Michaels seizes 2-stroke lead at Mission Hills Desert Junior

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Sihwan Kim of Fullerton, Calif., shot the lowest round of the Mission Hills Desert Junior to grab the lead of the Boys Division. Kim's 68-64 — 132, gives him a 4-stroke lead over the field. Sydnee Michaels of Temecula, Calif., shot 74-70 — 144 to take control of the Girls Division by two strokes on Wednesday.

The Mission Hills Desert Junior, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, features 63 boys and 21 girls — ages 12-18 — from five states and one foreign country. The event is being staged on the par-72, 6,805-yard Mission Hills Country Club's Palmer Course (Girls Division played at 6,157).

Kim is no stranger to the AJGA, nor is he new to success. In 2003, Kim won the Nike Golf Junior All-Star Classic at Colonial presented by the Mississippi Farm Bureau, the Nike Golf Junior All-Star Series Championship, and the PING Phoenix Junior Championship. Last year Kim won the USGA Junior Amateur Championship.

Kim came out on fire, shooting birdies on his first three holes. On the 420-yard, par-4 No. 2, his second shot he hit the flagstick from 150 yards, going on to birdie the hole. Kim was 6-under-par after the front-nine, and made birdie on eight of his first 11 holes. Kim's putter was hot all day, as he only had 25 putts on his round.

“I putted very well today,” Kim said. “Yesterday I hit more greens, but my putting was working real well.”

Heading into the final round, Kim leads Louis Amira of Valencia, Calif., and Rickie Fowler of Murrietta, Calif., tied for second at 136. Evan Derian of Manhattan Beach, Calif., sits alone in fourth at 138. Rounding out the top five are Kenneth McCready of Placerville, Calif., and defending tournament champion Rory Hie of Lakewood, Calif., tied at 139.

Sydnee Michaels of Temecula, Calif., enjoys a 2-stroke lead after firing 2-under-par 70 on Wednesday. Her second round included only one bogey. She also hit all but one fairway. Michaels, coming off a win in a last week's Pacific Northwest Junior International presented by Jeff Troesch, continues to play well and looks forward to the final round.

“It feels good to play well consecutively and consistently,” said Michaels. “But I don't want to think ahead.”

Two-strokes behind Michaels is Hsaio-Ching Lu of Taipei, Taiwan, alone in second at 146. In third place, five-strokes off the lead, is Jennie Lee of Huntington Beach, Calif., at 149.

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.

Final-round tee times will begin Thursday at 6:30 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at Mission Hills Country Club.

For more information about the Mission Hills Desert Junior, contact tournament headquarters at (760) 324-9400 ext. 507.