Matsuoka wins first AJGA event

Heading into the final round of the Lockton Kansas City Junior golf tournament in Raymore, Mo., Amy Matsuoka sent a text message to her father, Denis.

Matsuoka, a 15-year-old who will be a sophomore at Corona del Mar High, was contending in the American Junior Golf Assn. event at Creekmoor Golf Club, where she was tied for the lead after two rounds.

"She texted me, 'Dad, I'm going to win,'" Denis Matsuoka said. "It was a given. When I was following the players on the live scoring I saw that she was neck and neck with two other players and she broke away and after that she was never looking back. She won by four strokes."

Amy Matsuoka sealed her first AJGA victory Thursday with a one-under-par 71 in the final round of the event that featured 24 girls ages 12-18 from 22 states and three countries. She shot one-under-par 215 (74-70-71—215).

The championship capped a great week for Amy Matsuoka.

She finished third in the Callaway Junior World Golf Championships July 19 at Torrey Pines North, where she shot one-under 287 (69-75-72-71) in the girls' 15-17 division.

"I feel very proud because all of my hard work has paid off," Amy Matsuoka said after winning the Lockton Kansas City Junior. "I have been practicing so hard. I just tried to stay focused and do my best."

She collected eight birdies in the tournament, including three in the final round and four in the second round. She carded two birdies on the front nine.

"She's playing really well," Denis Matsuoka said. "She's determined to succeed. She seems to get better each week."

It's difficult to improve from such a great showing at the Junior Worlds, yet Amy Matsuoka showed her determination by breaking away in the final round of the AJGA event.

She showed her hunger to earn a win after finishing third out of 152 girls at Torrey Pines.

Amid her busy summer, Amy Matsuoka spends a great deal of practice time at Willowick Golf Course in Santa Ana.

At 5-foot-1 and with a thin body frame (she was once a gymnast), Amy Matsuoka tends to focus on accuracy as her driving length continues to develop, Denis Matsuoka said.

"She practices many hours a day," Denis Matsuoka said. "She loves to go out and practice."

The summer has been a good time for Amy Matsuoka to excel, and that includes the summer of 2012. Last year she earned a big victory, winning the SCPGA Bridgestone Tournament of Champions in August at Menifee Lakes Country Club.

She later went on to shine for the Corona del Mar girls' golf team and led a turnaround for the Sea Kings.

CdM went 0-16 before Amy Matsuoka arrived. She led the Sea Kings to a 7-7 finish and helped them tie for third in the Pacific Coast League. She was named PCL MVP. She finished as medalist in 11 of the Sea Kings' 14 matches, and eight of 10 matches in league.

She's certainly one to watch during the girls' golf season in the fall. She showed her potential last year when she reached the CIF Regional State Qualifier as a freshman.

She plans to use her grand week of a first- and third-place finish as fuel to gain more success.

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