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Won in Solid Position for First AJGA Victory

July 22, 1999|PETER YOON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Time is running out, and Ron Won knows it.

That's why a victory at the AJGA Junior Championship at Coto de Caza would mean so much.

Won has been on a hot streak in American Junior Golf Assn. events, but yearns for the first-place finish that has eluded him.

The 18-year-old Irvine resident once again put himself in position to get it by shooting a five-under-par 67 Wednesday in the second round on Coto de Caza's 6,963-yard North Course.

His bogey-free round gave him a two-round total of 139 and vaulted him from a tie for sixth to a two-stroke lead over first-round co-leader Jason Hartwick of Sacramento entering today's final round.

"I'd really like to get a win before I'm done," said Won who has just one AJGA tournament left. "I have been playing pretty well."

In his last five AJGA events, Won has four top-five finishes, including a runner-up at the prestigious Tournament of Champions on Ohio State's Scarlet Course two weeks ago.

He had a one-shot lead entering the final round of that tournament, but shot 73 and was passed by James Oh of Lakewood, the reigning U.S. Junior Amateur champion.

The Stanford-bound Won said that experience taught him about playing with a final-round lead.

"I tried playing conservative there and just going for pars," Won said. "It was a good experience because it changed my attitude about playing with a lead. [Today] I'm just going to play as good as I possibly can."

That means bad news for the field if his putts drop.

Won, who shot a record 66 last month to win the CIF-SCGA high school championship, started with four consecutive pars Wednesday, then made birdies on four of his next six holes to go four-under.

He also birdied the 17th but was upset about missing birdie putts from inside of 10 feet on four of his last five holes.

"I played solid and hit a lot of good shots," Won said. "But I missed a lot of makable putts."

Jim Seki of Honolulu birdied the final three holes for a five-under 31 on the back nine and a total of 68 and is third at 143.

Oh, who shared the first-round lead with Hartwick after an opening 69, lost a contact lens while warming up. With no replacement available he played the round "pretty much blind," and shot 83 to drop into 25th place.

Brian Sinay of Irvine shot 74 and is tied for ninth at 146. Mike Lavery of Irvine, Jimmy Freeman of Laguna Niguel and Steve Conway of Dove Canyon are all at 148.

In the girls' tournament, first-round leader Erica Blasberg of Corona struggled down the stretch and shot 78, but is still tied for the lead with Anna Lee of Hacienda Heights at 152.

Courtney Goebel of Huntington Beach, the only girl from Orange County playing, shot 79.

*

Angela Rho of Fullerton leads the girls' 15-17 division at the Junior World Championships by one stroke after the second round at Torrey Pines North in San Diego. Rho, who will be a senior at Sonora High, has a 36-hole total of one-over par 145.

In the boys' 15-17 division, Nico Bollini of Yorba Linda is tied for sixth, four strokes off the lead with a two-round total of par 144 on Torrey Pines South. Richard Sterne of South Africa leads at 140.

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