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Robinson Ranch Golf Club - Mountain Course
Santa Clarita, Calif. • July 16 - 19


Patipaksiri leads Girls Division by three strokes at Robinson Ranch Golf Club


SANTA CLARITA, Calif. Jake Sarnoff of Manhattan Beach, Calif., and Rak Cho of Brea, Calif., lead the Hanmi Bank Junior Open by two strokes heading into Thursday’s final round with two-day totals of 3-under-par 141. Lalita Patipaksiri of Cypress, Calif., leads the Girls Division by three stokes for the second day in a row at 1-under-par 143.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Hanmi Bank Junior Open is a 54-hole stroke play event featuring 75 boys and 24 girls, ages 12-18, from nine states, with 89 players from California. The event is being staged on the Robinson Ranch Golf Club’s Valley Course with boys tees set at 6,864 yards and girls tees at 5,910 yards. Past champions of the event include Sam Chien, Tom Lo, Jennie Lee and Rachel Morris.

Sarnoff’s 5-under-par 67 was Wednesday’s low-round, and he said he will enter uncharted waters Thursday as he has never led an AJGA event heading into the final round. He said he enjoys coming from behind because there is less pressure, but his concentration is more focused when the competition is as tough as it is at the Hanmi Bank Junior Open.

“I am playing to win,” Sarnoff said. “I played it safe off the tees and aggressive from the fairways today and that’s what I am planning to do tomorrow, too.”

Cho shot a 4-under-par 68 Wednesday to earn his spot in Thursday’s final group. He improved by four strokes on the last five holes between Tuesday and Wednesday and said he looks to shoot even lower on Thursday.

“I think being in the leader group is fun and I am not nervous at all,” Cho said. “It’s the last day and I want to shoot as low as I can on the front so I can relax and try to stay even on the back and still give myself a shot to win.”

Jordan Lee of Tarzana, Calif., is in sole possession of third place at 143. T.J. Vogel of Cooper City, Fla., and Ji Park of Fullerton, Calif., are tied for fourth place at 145.

In the Girls Division, Patipaksiri made par on 15 holes Wednesday and sank one birdie to keep her three-stroke lead. She said the course is difficult, but because it is relatively short, it plays to her advantage.

“You have to play more conservative when you are in the lead,” Patipaksiri said. “There is a bit more pressure in AJGA tournaments, though, because we’re playing for our ranking and for a chance to play at the collegiate level. I need to hit greens like I did today and putt like I did yesterday.”

Danielle Kang of Oak Park, Calif., and Nara Kim of Diamond Bar, Calif., are tied for second place, entering the final round with two-day totals of 2-over-par 146.

            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 an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 25 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 AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA’s second Premier Partner.

            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 Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.

            The final round of the Hanmi Bank Junior Open will begin Thursday with tee times running from 7 – 11:48 a.m. off the No. 1 tee. The awards ceremony will immediately follow the conclusion of play.

            For more information about the Hanmi Bank Junior Open, please contact tournament headquarters at (661) 252-8484.