THUNDERBIRD INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR
Grayhawk Golf Club
Scottsdale, Ariz. • May 22 - 25
LEE SEALS FIRST VICTORY AT THUNDERBIRD INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Daniel Lee of Valencia, Calif., carded a final-round 2-under-par 70 Monday to put the finishing touch on his wire-to-wire victory at the Thunderbird International Junior. Yueer Cindy Feng of Orlando, Fla., bested Sarah Brown of Phillipsburg, N.J., in a two-hole sudden-death playoff to win in the Girls Division.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Thunderbird International Junior featured 78 players from 13 states and 14 foreign countries. The field consisted of 48 boys and 30 girls, ages 12-18, and included 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 measured 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, continued his record-setting weekend by finishing the tournament at 18-under-par 198. He set 18-, 36-, and 54-hole records while clinching his first AJGA victory.
“I can't even describe what I'm feeling right now,” Lee said. “This is the best I have ever played.”
His bogey-free streak ended on No. 5 Monday, giving him a streak of 40 holes without a blemish on his scorecard. Lee's final round included four birdies and one other bogey, on No. 18.
“Every shot I hit was with confidence,” Lee said. “I just wanted to play it safe and was able to do that. I'm just really happy.”
Michael Hebert of Orlando, Fla., finished in second place at 14-under-par 202. Cory Whitsett of Houston, and Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos, Calif., tied for third place with 13-under-par 203s. Andrew Yun of Chandler, Ariz., and Niclas Carlsson of Enebyberg, Sweden finished tied for fifth at 9-under-par 207.
In the Girls Division, Feng and Brown went back and forth all day and ended up tied at 3-under-par 213 after 54 holes. They both carded pars on the first playoff hole, No. 10, but Feng sunk a 15-foot putt for birdie on No. 11 to clinch the victory.
“I'm happy that I got the win but I know I could've done better,” Feng said. “My front nine was a little rough but I had a turning point on No. 12 when I birdied.”
The win is the seventh in Feng's AJGA career. The 13-year-old won six tournaments in 2008, her first year competing with the AJGA.
“I'm very excited to win this tournament,” she said. “It is definitely the biggest win I have ever had.”
Finishing in third was Kristina Wong of Bradenton, Fla., at 1-under-par 215.
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 lended 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 AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.