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Future Torero Alex Ching Set To Tee It Up At Sony Open

Jan. 9, 2008

(Oahu, HI) - Alex Ching, who recently signed a national letter of intent with the Toreros to play golf beginning with the 2008-09 campaign, will get a chance to tee it up with the pros tomorrow in the first round of the 2008 Sony Open. The four-day event will take place at the Waialae Country Club (par 70/7,068 yards). He got into this year's event by winning a one-spot qualifier Dec. 17 for the amateurs that played in the Governor's Cup, a Ryder Cup-style competition between Hawaii's best amateurs and club pros. Ching has some experience at Waialae during Sony Open week. Last year, he teamed with Michelle Wie, a former Punahou High classmate, on the day before the tournament to win the pro-junior skills challenge over Tour players like Davis Love III, Jerry Kelly, and another Punahou product, Parker McLachlin.

"Whether Alex shoots 138 or 158 over the first two rounds of the tournament, I'm proud to be his future coach," said USD head men's golf coach Tim Mickelson. "He will certainly be closer to 138 than the 158, but at this point I just want him to enjoy the experience. It's not very often that a high school kid gets to play in a PGA Tour event. So most importantly, I want him to enjoy it."

Ching played four junior tournaments on the mainland this year, winning his last two starts at the Optimist International Junior and Junior America's Cup before returning home. He's won five of his last six stroke-play events. He claimed the Oahu Country Club Invitational in October by five shots with an 11-under 202 total (64-67-71), one shot off McLachlin's tournament record. In the first week of December, he won the Hawaii State Junior Golf Association's Tournament of Champions.

Added Mickelson, "I'm curious to see how he does week. One thing I have always liked about Alex's game is that he doesn't make many mistakes. He is very good with his course management which therefore means he hits a lot of fairways and hits a lot of greens and gives himself a lot of birdie opportunities. Exactly what a PGA tour player does. Alex is a great player, but an even better person. He has the right attitude and I'm looking forward to being his coach."