The 2017 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship tees off with two days of stroke play beginning Monday (July 24) at Boone Valley Golf Club in Augusta.
The field of 156 players will play two rounds of stroke play, with the low 64 scorers advancing to match play.
“We are delighted to announce Boone Valley Golf Club as the host site of the 2017 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship,” said Diana Murphy, USGA vice president and Championship Committee chairman. “Based on the success of the 2007 U.S. Junior Amateur, we are confident Boone Valley will provide a worthy test and fun experience for the world’s best female junior golfers in 2017, and we applaud Boone Valley for its commitment to junior golf.”
Boone Valley was designed by P.B. Dye and opened for play in 1992.
The course hosted the 2007 U.S. Junior Amateur, won by Cory Whitsett over Anthony Paolucci, 8 and 7. From 1996 to 2000, Boone Valley hosted the Boone Valley Classic, a PGA Champions Tour event. It also hosted the Champions Tour’s Enterprise Rent-A-Car Match Play Championship in 2001.
Here is the tournament schedule:
• Monday, July 24: First round, stroke play
• Tuesday, July 25: Second round, stroke play
• Wednesday, July 26: First round, match play
• Thursday, July 27: Second and third rounds, match play
• Friday, July 28: Quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, match play
• Saturday, July 29: Championship match (36 holes)
The average age of the 156 U.S. Girls’ Junior competitors is 16.2 years old.
Izzy Pellot, 12, of Altamonte Springs, Fla., is the championship’s youngest competitor. She is nine days younger than Alexa Pano of Lake Worth, Fla. They are the only 12-year-olds in the field.
The championship’s oldest competitor is Shelby Brauckmuller, of Auburndale, Fla. She will turn 19 on Aug. 7.
There are 12 countries represented in the championship: Australia (2), Brazil (1), Canada (9), Chinese Taipei (6), Japan (2), Malaysia (1), Mexico (3), People’s Republic of China (8), Philippines (5), Republic of Korea (5), Thailand (3) and the United States of America (111).
With 24 players, California is the most represented state. Florida and Texas are next with 13 each.
There is one USGA champion in the field: Mika Liu, 18, of Beverly Hills, Calif. (2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Amateur Four-Ball with Angelina Kim)
Nineteen players are in the top 500 of the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking:
• No. 21 – Haley Moore, 18, of Escondido, Calif.
• No. 32 – Paphangkorn Tavatanakit, 17, of Thailand
• No. 42 – Mika Liu
• No. 48 – Yujeong Son, 16, of the Republic of Korea
• No. 50 – Esther Subin Lee, 18, of Brazil
• No. 62 – Ya-Chun Chang, 16, of Chinese Taipei
• No. 101 – Jennifer Chang, 17, of Cary, N.C.
• No. 108 – Yu-Sang Hou, 18, of Chinese Taipei
• No. 206 – Youngin Chun, 17, of the Republic of Korea
• No. 210 – Alexa Pano
• No. 273 – Lois Kaye Go, 18, of the Philippines
• No. 353 – Michaela Morard, 15, of Huntsville, Ala.
• No. 371 – Tze-Han Lin, 17, of Chinese Taipei
• No. 399 – Erica Shepherd, 16, of Greenwood, Ind.
• No. 413 – Calista Reyes, 17, of the Philippines
• No. 414 – Lucy Li, 14, of Redwood Shores, Calif.
• No. 420 – Lei Ye, 16, of the People’s Republic of China
• No. 425 – Ruqing Guan, 17, of the People’s Republic of China
• No. 441 – Han Hsuan Yu, 17, of Chinese Taipei
A total of 21 U.S. Girls’ Junior competitors played in the 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship in May at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Four of those two-player teams made this field (second player in bold):
• Macy Fox, 15, of Austin, Texas, with partner Chandler Rosholt, 17, of Cedar Park, Texas (lost in Round of 32)
• Julia Gregg with partner Trinity King, 15, of Arlington, Texas (missed cut)
• Annick Haczkiewicz, 17, of Las Vegas, Nev., with partner Sydney Smith, 17, of Las Vegas, Nev. (quarterfinalists)
• Nicole Whiston, 16, with partner Waverly Whiston, 17, of San Diego, Calif. (lost in Round of 32)
There are two sets of sisters in the field:
• Alice and Caroline Hodge, of Larchmont, N.Y., are 14 and 16 years old, respectively. They both qualified from the Fairfield, Conn., qualifying site.
• Nicole and Waverly Whiston who reached the quarterfinals of the 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball as a pairing. The Whiston sisters also competed in the 2016 U.S. Girls’ Junior.
Mika Liu, 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball co-champion from Beverly Hills, Calif., is playing in her seventh U.S. Girls’ Junior, which ties Megan Khang (2009-15) and Margot Morton (1954-60) for most appearances in the championship. She earned an exemption from qualifying for being a member of the 2016 USA Curtis Cup Team and her top 75 placement in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking (she’s currently No. 42).
The U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship was established in 1949, one year after the Junior Amateur Championship for boys. The Philadelphia (Pa.) Country Club, one of the oldest golf courses in the nation, was the host club for the USGA’s newest championship, and the competition drew a starting field of 28 girls from 17 states, although 10 of the players were from the Philadelphia area.
Marlene Bauer, 15, of Los Angeles, claimed the inaugural title and she became one of a long list of Girls’ Junior champions who would have success on the professional level, including Hall of Famers Mickey Wright, JoAnne Gunderson Carner, Amy Alcott and Nancy Lopez. Alcott, Carner, Inbee Park, Hollis Stacy and Wright would go on to win the U.S. Women’s Open.
In 2016, the USGA made a signifcant change to the age criteria. Starting with the 2017 championship, any female under the age of 19 will be eligible to compete in the U.S. Girls’ Junior. Prior to that, competitors could not have turned 18 by the conclusion of the championship.