Eric Lee of Fullerton, California, was named the top male junior golfer in the world with the American Junior Golf Association’s Rolex Junior Player of the Year award. Kaitlyn Schroeder of Jacksonville, Florida, earned the top honor in the Girls Division and joins Lee on a historical list of Rolex Junior Players of the Year: Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Scottie Scheffler, Morgan Pressel, Paula Creamer, Ariya Jutanugarn and Inbee Park.
Lee becomes the first California native to receive Rolex Junior Player of the Year honors in the Boys Division since 2010, while Schroeder is the first Florida native to earn top honors in the Girls Division since 2009. Both juniors are also honored as First Team Rolex Junior All-Americans with this distinction.
The Rolex Junior All-America Teams annually recognize the world’s premier junior golfers. The 2022 class includes 48 boys and 48 girls, ages 14-19, from 24 states and 10 countries, including Canada, China, Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Mexico, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States.
These young men and women distinguished themselves through exceptional play in 145 national junior golf events, 128 of which were conducted by the AJGA. The teams were determined exclusively through the Rolex AJGA Rankings as of October 12.
Lee, Schroeder, and the 2022 Rolex Junior All-America Teams will be honored through the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet on Saturday, November 19. ‘The Greatest Night in Junior Golf’ will recognize the accomplishments and celebrate the achievements of the Rolex Junior All-America teams, Rolex Scholastic Junior All-America honorees, and Jerry Cole Sportsmanship Award recipients together in-person for the first time since 2019.
Rolex Junior All-Americans and a field of the top players in the Rolex AJGA Rankings will compete at the Rolex Tournament of Champions, November 19-23 at TPC San Antonio – Canyons Course in San Antonio, Texas, and coinciding Ping An Bank Junior All-Star Invitational at Canyon Springs Golf Club on November 20-23.
In 2022, the 17-year-old did not finish outside the top 10 in seven national junior golf events to end the season at No. 1 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings.
It's definitely an honor and feels great to be among the same list of winners such as Tiger Woods, Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth because it gives me confidence I am trending in the right direction and can hopefully compete with them someday.
The University of California, Berkeley commit started his Rolex Junior Player of the Year campaign winning the season-opening Rolex Tournament of Champions at PGA National Resort & Spa with a score of 8-under-par 278. He managed a come-from-behind win and outlasted Jackson Koivun in a one-hole playoff to seal the victory in his season debut. The win also marked Lee’s first Invitational title.
When looking back, the biggest moment of my season was winning the 2021 Rolex Tournament of Champions. It really motivated me to start chasing for that No. 1 spot in junior golf.
Lee started off 2022 at the AJGA Simplify Boys Championship at Carlton Woods in February and finished T3 with rounds of 71-67-71—209. He finished T9 at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley in March. In June, Lee returned to the AJGA Invitational circuit finishing in seventh place at the Wyndham Invitational presented by Truist, carding the low round of the tournament with a 5-under-par 65 at Sedgefield Country Club.
He also had solid performances in match play. At the Polo Golf Junior Classic, Lee went 2-1 in pool play before losing in the quarterfinals. In his second appearance at Wyndham Cup, Lee had a 2-2 record to help the West Team secure its first victory since 2018.
Lee faced tough competition at the 74th U.S. Junior Amateur at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. In his quarterfinal match, he survived 20 holes against Australia’s Jeffrey Guan. In his semifinal match, Lee fell short to eventual champion Wenyi Ding of China, also extending the match to 20 holes.
In his sixth AJGA Invitational appearance this season, Lee finished T8 at The Junior PLAYERS Championship presented by Rolex. He had a three-round total of 4-under-par 212 at TPC Sawgrass, the home of the PGA TOUR’s The PLAYERS Championship.
During his final match play appearance this season, Lee was the top-ranked player to qualify for the Junior Presidents Cup U.S. Team. Lee helped the U.S. Team secure at 13-11 win against the International Team at Myers Park Country Club in September.
Lee will end 2022 with a second appearance at the Rolex Tournament of Champions later in November, as he looks to defend his title.
The University of Alabama verbal commit earned Rolex Junior All-America honors for the third time in 2022, ending the season at No. 1 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings. In nine national junior golf events, Schroeder secured two wins and three additional top-five finishes.
The history is one of the greatest parts about being named Rolex Junior Player of the Year. Everyone who has received the honor has gone on to do great things in golf, whether it be on the LPGA Tour or in college golf. To have my name added to this list is a dream come true.
The Jacksonville native started her campaign with a T4 finish at the 2021 Rolex Tournament of Champions at PGA National Resort & Spa. Making her 2022 debut, Schroeder had her third appearance at the Hilton Grand Vacations ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex and finished T18. She also competed at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley in the spring.
In her first event of the summer, Schroeder finished T5 at the Dye Junior Invitational at Crooked Stick Golf Club in June. Two weeks later, she earned her first AJGA Invitational win at the 31st Rolex Girls Junior Championship. Her rounds of 69-73-72-72—286 were good for a three-shot victory. Schroeder held a share of the lead throughout all four rounds. The victory was her first AJGA title since her three-win performance in 2020.
This was the biggest win of my career so far. It was always one of the best fields in junior golf so it was very special for me to win that event, especially in my home state. It gave me the confidence I needed for the rest of the summer and I believe if I had not won that event, I wouldn't have come out on top at the Junior PGA.
Schroeder then returned to Wyndham Cup, where she was one of three players making their second appearance on the East Team. Continuing with match play, Schroeder also competed in the U.S. Girls’ Junior where she advanced to the Round of 32.
The 17-year-old found the winner’s circle again in August with a victory at the Girls Junior PGA Championship at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club. She closed with a 6-under-par 66 that included three birdies in her last five holes to win by two shots. The victory was Schroeder’s lowest score in relation to par over the 72 holes, finishing at 14-under par 274.
Rounding out her summer, Schroeder competed at the Buick Shanshan Feng AJGA Girls Invitational in September and finished T3. She will end an impressive junior golf career with her fourth appearance at the 2022 Rolex Tournament of Champions before enrolling at Alabama this December.