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Evergreen, Colo. • July 5 - 9

Rah leads Girls Division by one

EVERGREEN, Co. — Abraham Lee of La Canada, Calif., and Hunter Slatton of Tuscaloosa, Ala., came out strong in the Boys Division at the Rolex Tournament of Champions, carding respective 3-under-par 67s to take an early two-shot lead. Jane Rah of Torrance, Calif., took the early lead in the Girls Division after shooting a 2-under-par 68.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Rolex Tournament of Champions is a 72-hole stroke play event with a cut in both divisions after two rounds. The 144-player field features 67 Rolex Junior All-Americans and players from 30 states and five foreign countries. In the event's 29th year, the Rolex Tournament of Champions is one of 10 AJGA Invitationals and is the longest running AJGA tournament.

Competing in his first AJGA Invitational, Lee credited his first-round performance to luck.

“To tell the truth, I just putted out of my mind,” Lee said. “I'm not going to lie, I just got lucky today.”

Starting on No. 10, Slatton hit his first 12 greens, converting nine pars and three birdies on Nos. 12, 13 and 18.

“I kept every thing simple on the first 11 or 12 holes,” Slatton said. “The last six holes I started spraying all over the place and just had to grind it out.”

Will Griffin of San Antonio, shot a 1-under-par 69 to put him in third place, two shots back. Tied for fourth place are Sang Yi of Carrollton, Texas, Ji Moon of Lake Mary, Fla., and Cody Gribble of Dallas, at even-par 70.

In the Girls Division, Rah played consistent and credited her putting as the key factor to her round.

“I had not been putting well lately,” Rah said. “I was happy I made some putts.”

Rah said she had about five 15-foot putts for par and made all of them. She finished the 2005 Rolex Tournament of Champions tied for second place.

Tied for second place in the Girls Division are Taylore Karle of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Mindy Kim of Diamond Bar, Calif., at 1-under-par 69.

Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. Along with sponsoring the Rolex Tournament of Champions, Rolex is also the title partner of the Rolex Girls Junior Championship and the proprietors of the Rolex Junior All-America Teams.

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, the largest Association of its kind, has an annual 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 is in 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, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr, Candie Kung and Paula Creamer.

The second-round starting times of the Rolex Tournament of Champions will begin at 7 and 11:30 a.m. Friday, July 7, off Nos. 1 and 10 tees. For more information, contact tournament headquarters at (303) 674-3366.