The 2013 USGA’s U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, for Under-18 boys, and U.S. Junior Girls’ Championship, for Under-18 girls, both got underway today, and Northern California golfers are in the hunt in both championships. Running July 22 to 27, the championship tournaments pit 156 junior golfers against each other over two rounds of stroke play, after which the fields are cut to the top 64 players, who contend through six rounds of match play to determine a champion.
The players in the fields at these tournaments are the finest junior golfers from across the United States and around the world: 44 states and 13 countries (including the USA) are represented in the Junior Amateur field, and 31 states and 11 countries in the Junior Girls’ field.
The first day of the 2013 USGA Junior Amateur Championship at Martis Camp, near Truckee, saw a local youngster tied for first place after 18 holes on the tough, Tom Fazio-designed course. Corey Eddings, of Roseville, posted a 5-under 67, carding six birdies against one bogey. Eddings, a junior at Oakmont High School, played the par-5s in 3-under, the par-4s in 2-under and the par-3s even.
Joining Eddings at 5-under was Scottie Scheffler of Dallas, TX. Eddings, a Texas commit, is apparently coming to grips with the tremendous carry afforded by the thinner air at the 5,866-foot elevation of the Tahoe Basin location of the course – he carded an eagle three at the par-5 fourth hole, which played at a lengthy 568 yards during the first round. Four birdies, a bogey, and eleven pars rounded out his card.
Another Northern California golfer, Daniel Connolly, of San Francisco, is in the Top 20 after 18 holes. Connolly, a rising sophomore who plays out of the Olympic Club, posted an even-par 72, matching four bogeys against four birdies on the 7,675-yard course.
The remaining Northern California boys in the field have a little work left to do if they are to survive the 64-player cut which is coming on Tuesday. Justin Suh, of San Jose; Bradley Knox, of Menlo Park; and Blake Abercrombie, of Rocklin are all part of a group of nineteen players tied at 76th place with 5-over 77s; Portola Valley’s Maverick McNealy is a stroke back, T-95, at 78; Chico’s Tyler Collier is T-147 with a 12-over 84.
A rainy start to the first day of the 2013 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at Sycamore Hills Golf Club, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, didn’t dampen the spirits of the players in the field. Sixteen girls posted under-par scores, including Benicia’s Kathleen Scavo and Rocklin native Kelsey Ulep.
Scavo, 15, carded a 4-under 68 on the strength of four birdies against one bogey – on the par-4 tenth hole, her first hole of the day. Scavo, who earlier this year was a member of the victorious West team in the Wyndham Cup competition, and was second alternate out of the U.S. Women’s Open qualifying tournament at Lake Merced Golf Club in May, is playing in her second U.S. Girls’ Junior.
Of her first visit to Sycamore Hills, Scavo said, “(The course) fits my eye and my game well, and I just really like the layout of this course. I feel like I played all the holes to the best of my ability.”
Rocklin’s Kelsey Ulep had a slightly more up-and-down round, carding seven birdies, two bogeys, and one double-bogey – at the par-4 third hole – for a 3-under 69 and a place in the pack of seven players sitting at T-4 at the end of eighteen holes. One of the other girls tied at 3-under is former Cupertino resident Hannah O’Sullivan, now of Paradise Valley, Arizona.
Livermore’s Casie Cathrea, last year’s medalist at the Girls’ Junior Championship at Lake Merced Golf Club, had a strong ball-striking day but only a so-so round on the greens, with three 3-putts and four lip-outs. She ended up balancing four birdies against four bogeys to card an even-par 72 for a T-17 position at the end of the first day of play at Sycamore Hills.
Cathrea took Low Amateur honors at this year’s U.S. Women’s Open at Sebonack Golf Club on Long Island, just two weeks after winning the inaugural Women’s Porter Cup at Niagara Falls Golf Club. Cathrea, who is headed to Oklahoma State University in the fall, advanced to the quarterfinal round at last year’s Girls’ Junior Championship, falling to Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn in a closely-fought match that is still talked about by Bay Area golf fans who were lucky enough to be on hand that day.
Rounding out the remainder of the list of Northern California players at the Junior Girls’ Championship are San Mateo’s Amanjoty Sangha, +6, T-84; Jayshree Sarathy, of Palo Alto, +7, T-98; Emily Laskin, of Elk Grove, +9, T-121; and San Jose’s Sabrina Iqbal and Christine Kim, +10 and +11, respectively.