THUNDERBIRD INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR
Grayhawk Golf Club
Scottsdale, Ariz. • May 22 - 25
LEE FIRES 7-UNDER-PAR 65 TO LEAD AT THUNDERBIRD INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Daniel Lee of Valencia, Calif., carded a 7-under-par 65 Saturday to take the first-round lead by one stroke at the Thunderbird International Junior. Luz Alejandra Cangrejo of Bogota, Colombia, carded an opening-round 3-under-par 69 to take the lead in the Girls Division.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Thunderbird International Junior features 78 players from 13 states and 14 foreign countries. The field consists of 48 boys and 30 girls, ages 12-18, and includes 44 Rolex Junior All-Americans. Played on Grayhawk Golf Club's Raptor Course, home of the PGA TOUR's Fry's.com Open, the par-72 course measures 7,112 yards for the boys and 6,275 yards for the girls.
Several past participants of the Thunderbird International Junior have gone to play in the FBR Open, the PGA TOUR event sponsored by The Thunderbirds each year. Ryan Moore, Anthony Kim, Hunter Mahan and Kevin Na all competed in the FBR Open, which is currently in its 74th year. In its history, the FBR/Phoenix Open has raised more than $53 million for charities in Arizona.
Lee, 16, got off to a hot start and never looked back. He finished with five birdies on the front side, including three consecutive on Nos. 6, 7 and 8, and followed with two more on the back to wrap up his bogey-free round. The score tied a personal best in a competitive round for Lee.
“Everything seemed to be working for me today, my tee shots and my putts especially,” Lee said. “Today was just my round and I feel pretty happy about it.”
The 2008 honorable mention Rolex Junior All-American is playing in his first Thunderbird International Junior.
“I was just in the zone all day,” said Lee, who is currently No. 34 in the Polo Golf Rankings. “It really helped keep my confidence going and I hope to carry it all weekend.”
Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos, Calif., and Byeong-hun An of Bradenton, Fla., sit one shot back after recording rounds of 6-under-par 66. Niclas Carlsson of Enebyberg, Sweden, is fourth at 5-under-par, while Cory Whitsett of Houston, and Andrew Yun of Chandler, Ariz., are tied for fifth at 4-under-par.
In the Girls Division, Cangrejo emerged from the pack to take a two-stroke lead over four other girls. The Colombia native set high goals for herself coming into her last AJGA season.
“I've been working really hard this year and I think it has paid off,” Cangrejo said.
She finished with five birdies on the day and only one blemish — a double bogey on No. 5. Cangrejo is looking for her first AJGA victory.
“I felt really comfortable with myself today,” Cangrejo said. “My confidence helped me overcome that double and I was able to put it behind me.”
Four players carded rounds of 1-under-par 71 and sit two shots behind Cangrejo entering Sunday's second round: Karen Chung of Livingston, N.J., Yueer Cindy Feng and Simin Feng (no relation) of Orlando, Fla., and Victoria Tanco of Bradenton, Fla.
Second-round tee times will begin off the first and 10th tees at 7:15 a.m. The leader group of boys will tee off No. 10 at 9:03 a.m. while girls' leaders begin at 9:03 a.m. off No. 1.
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 50 states and more than 25 foreign countries.
As in the past, Callaway Golf will lend its support to the event. Other major sponsors are the Thunderbirds, the Phil and Amy Mickelson Charitable Fund, Grayhawk Golf Club and the FBR Open.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 350 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.
For more information about the Thunderbird International Junior, please contact tournament headquarters at (480) 502-3181.