Promontory’s Pete Dye Canyon Course will host 2018’s AGJA Rolex Girls Junior Championship
Promontory recently announced that it will be hosting the American Junior Golf Association Rolex Girls Junior Championship on June 12-15. The AJGA’s tour is regarded by golf professionals as the junior equivalent to one of the majors, and will attract the 72 best female golfers under the age of 19, as ranked by the AJGA, along with one Utah competitor.
“The only tournament above this one is the United States Golf Association girls championship,” said Ryan Kartchner, director of golf at Promontory and president of the Utah chapter of the Professional Golfers’ Association.
Erica Shepherd won the 2017 USGA Girls Junior Championship, and will likely face tough competition from Lucy Li and Rachel Heck (last year’s AJGA Junior Championship winner), who are ranked first and second by the AJGA this season, respectively. One skilled Utah competitor selected from the Utah Golf Association’s High School All-State Individual Championship on June 2 at Fox Hollow will join their ranks. That tournament will draw the 10 players from each high school classification with the best region and state scores.
The inclusion of one Utah player was one of Kartchner’s stipulations for Promontory to host the event. He said getting a chance to compete in the tournament is something of a shortcut.
“It’s a long haul to get into this field,” Kartchner said. Most of the top competitors have logged between five and 10 high-level competitions with the AJGA.
“They really tout themselves as the best in not just the U.S., but the world really, because there are a lot of international players,” he said.
According to Blair Thompson, director of development with AJGA and the tournament director for the Girls Junior Championship, about half of the competitive field has already signed with collegiate golf programs, and Kartchner estimates perhaps half will go on to compete in the LPGA.
Promontory’s Pete Dye Canyon Course will get a fitting treatment, mainly from the tournament’s main sponsor, Rolex, which will put up signs, bring in former tour champions (the likes of which include Paula Creamer, Inbee Park and Stacy Louis), and will bring in a large clock for the course.
The tournament will also switch nines, starting on the ninth hole, to provide a better view for spectators.
Though the event will have a distinctly professional feel, its amateur status precludes cash purses, so instead the winners will get prizes (golf bags, trophies), and a fully exempt status with AJGA, giving them free access to any AJGA event they pick.
It’s the first time the AJGA girls championship has been held at Promontory and the first AJGA invitational in Utah in more than a decade.
Kartchner said Promontory was selected after the tournament’s original venue in Florida was damaged by a hurricane, and Promontory members associated with the AJGA recommended the Pete Dye Canyon Course as an alternative.
A fundraising golf competition will precede the tournament and will raise money for charities and local golf organizations, and the Promontory Foundation, a press release said.
The tournament is scheduled to start on June 12 and conclude on June 15.
For a complete tournament schedule go to https://www.ajga.org/microsite/index.asp?tn=2018049.
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