IMG Junior World: Sam Choi paces Boys 15-17 after 36-holes
Sam Choi <br>(Junior Golf Association of Phoenix)</br>
Sam Choi
(Junior Golf Association of Phoenix)

SAN DIEGO, California (July 13, 2016) -- It's no short order at Torrey Pines South, but back-to-back 2-under 70's has moved Sam Choi to the top of the boys aged 15-17 leaderboard at the IMG Junior World Championship. Choi will carry a two-stroke lead into Thursday's third round over Joaquin Niemann and Chase Furey.

Choi, part of a six-way tie for the lead after the first round, birdied three holes and bogeyed one during his second round. The Anaheim, CA resident, got off to a quick start with bogeys on Nos. 2 and 6 and turned in 2-under 34.

On the back nine Choi played even-par golf with a birdie and a bogey.

Defending champion Joaquin Niemann and Chase Furey are tied for second after matching rounds of 70-72.

Four players; Easton Paxton, Norman Xiong, Brendan Hy and Chun-Chieh Yang are all tied for fourth at 1-under. An additional five players are even-par and in eighth, including Paul Chaplet who appeared in this past April's Masters.


Playing at the La Costa Resort & Spa Legends Course Yui Kawamoto and Yuka Saso share the girls aged 15-17 division.

Kawamoto shot the low round of the day finished with a 4-under 68. The round was a tail of two halves as Kawamoto birdied eight of the first 15 holes before playing the last four holes in 4-over.

Nasa Hataoka, Kornkamol Sukaree and Ching-Tzu Chen are all 1-under and tied for third.

To view results from all divisions (playing at 10 different courses) click on the link below and navigate the pulldown on the upper right.

There are 51 countries, 41 states, and a total of 1204 players competing this week in San Diego.


It's tough to break 70 at Torrey Pines South. But that didn't stop a field of over 200 boys aged 15-17 from trying. Six of them got to 2-under 70, and they share the lead after the first round of the IMG Junior World Championship.

Pacing that group of six is Joaquin Niemann, the defending champ. After a bogey on the difficult 1st hole, the Chilean settled down with a birdie on the first par-5 on the course (the 6th). After a bogey on No. 7, he went 3-under the rest of the way in, posting a bogey free 34 on the back nine.

Niemann started slow last year, posting 76 in the first round. But he scored 66 in the third round, and withstood a charge by Sagith Theegala in the final round (he holed out for eagle on the 72nd hole) to bring home the title.

Among the five tied for the lead is Paul Chaplet. The Costa Rican golfer played in the 2016 Masters after winning the 2015 South American Amateur. Today he got hot early, making two birdies in the first five holes before making eagle on the par-5 6th hole. He gave back two shots on the lengthy 12th hole (which Pat Perez calls the "hardest on the PGA Tour") but birdied the 18th to leave the course in good spirits.

GIRLS 15-17

Due to the construction of the Torrey Pines North Course, the girls are playing the Legends Course at La Costa. Yuka Saso of The Philippines fired 4-under 68 to take a 2-stroke lead into the final round. Saso, starting at 10 birdied her first two holes and posted a red-hot 32 on the back nine. She gave three of those back on the first three holes of the front nine, then birdied her last three to get back to 4-under.

Saso is trailed by a trio of players at 2-under 70, two of them from Japan (Himawari Ogura and Nasa Hataoka) and one from Argentina (Pilar Berchot).

ABOUT THE IMG Junior World

Age Divisions: 15-17, 13-14, 11-12, 9-10, 7-8, 6-under. 72 hole stroke play event for 15-17 division, 54 holes for other divisions. Qualifying required for 15-17, other divisions. Played at multiple courses in the San Diego area. Online application process begins approx. Feb 1.

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