Kelli Oride wins first AJGA event

Kelli Oride shot a 70-68-76 to finish in first place at the CORE Realty/Tomato Bank at Tijeras Creek in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., Thursday.

Kelli shot seven birdies on the day, including one on the par-3 No. 16 at the Tijeras Creek Golf Club on the opening round, Tuesday.

“I hit a good drive and was able to chip it in for birdie,” Oride said in a American Junior Golf Association press release following Round 1. “It really saved me because I was coming off a bogey on No. 15.”

Beverly Vatananugulkit of Cerritos, Calif., finished the tournament in second place, three strokes back of Kelli at a 1-over-par 217.

Rebounding from a disappointing 19th place (83-75-78) at the Robinson Ranch at Santa Clarita, Calif., at the HANMI Bank tournament July 7 to 10, Oride said, “I don’t like to overwork myself. I actually don’t keep track of my score during the round and I didn’t know where I was at until the scoring tent. I was relieved to find out I shot a 70, and it was such a confidence booster from last week.”

Playing in only her second AJGA event in as many weeks, Oride was overwhelmed by her first AJGA victory, the AJGA release after Round 3 states.

“I feel very privileged,” Oride said. “Growing up in Hawai‘i, I’m always hearing of kids playing in all these top-notch events on the Mainland. This is the first year I’m trying to put my name out there, but I really didn’t expect this.”

Cory Oride, Kelli’s brother, finished the HANMI Bank tournament at 17th place (75-74-72), but struggled at Tijeras Creek where he finished 30th (73-74-77).

The brother-sister team prepare for the Santa Ana Country Club where they will be playing in the Toyota Cup Tour Series tournament July 21 and 22.

Following that, the reigning girls Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation golf champion will play in another AJGA tournament Tee-up Challenge in Beaumont, Calif. before returning to school.

The AJGA is a 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.

Annual membership in the AJGA of boys and girls ages 12-18 are approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 30 foreign countries.

For more information, visit the AJGA Web site at www.ajga.org

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