Peter Uihlein, Vicky Hurst Named Rolex Junior Players of the Year
Peter Uihlein of Bradenton, Fla., and Vicky Hurst of Melbourne, Fla., were named the Rolex Junior Players of the Year by the American Junior Golf Association, the AJGA announced Tuesday.
Uihlein’s and Hurst’s accomplishments during the past season will be heralded Nov. 18 during the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet held at Ginn Reunion Resort. The awards ceremony, dubbed “The Greatest Night in Junior Golf,” will also trumpet the achievements of the rest of golf’s next generation by means of the Rolex Junior All-America Teams, HP Scholastic Junior All-America Teams and Jerry Cole Sportsmanship Award.
He began the season at last year’s Polo Golf Junior Classic – the first official AJGA event of 2007 – as the No. 3-ranked player. That week last November in Sea Island, Ga., he made a run to the semifinals before being defeated by Rickie Fowler, now a standout freshman at Oklahoma State. In December, he posted a second-place showing at the Orange Bowl International Junior by shooting a 65-71-67-71–274 tournament total.
His position at the top of the Polo Golf Rankings came from his continued strong finishes in AJGA Invitationals and the U.S. Junior Amateur. He placed fourth at the Thunderbird International Junior in Scottsdale, Ariz., in May with a 71-70-70–211 tournament total. Then, in June, he won his first-ever AJGA Invitational at the FootJoy Boys Invitational in Greensboro, N.C.
His strong play continued into July when he finished tied for fourth at the Rolex Tournament of Champions at The Ohio State University Golf Club’s Scarlet Course, posting a 71-70-74-73–288 tournament total. By July 24, he would take the No. 1 position in the Polo Golf Rankings, a spot he would not relinquish the rest of the season.
In his next event, the U.S. Junior Amateur, he advanced to the tournament’s quarterfinals before being defeated by eventual runner-up Anthony Paolucci of Dallas. He ended the summer Labor Day Weekend at The Junior PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. He held onto his No. 1 ranking after his 72-70–78–220 performance was good enough for a tie for ninth.
In nine national junior events during 2007, Uihlein finished in the top 10 seven times (T-46, PING Junior at The Woodlands; T-37, The PING Invitational). In the 28 rounds of stroke play during these nine events, Uihlein amassed a 72.6 stroke average and shot 72 or less 15 times. This statistic includes a 6-under-par 66 during the second round of the FootJoy Boys Invitational that was held on the 7,280-yard Forest Oaks Country Club, home of the PGA TOUR’s Wyndham Championship.
Hurst’s prowess in girls’ junior golf is evident by her Polo Golf Ranking, which hasn’t wavered much in more than a year. She broke into the top 10 of these rankings in June of 2006 and has held steady in the top five since July of 2006. She ended last year’s season with two AJGA victories and runner-up finishes at the McDonald’s Betsy Rawls Girls Championship and U.S. Girls’ Junior, good enough for a No. 4 Ranking
She carried the No. 4 ranking into the 2007 season and ended the year ranked No. 1 with eight top-10 finishes and three AJGA victories. She posted 33 rounds during stroke play competition with an average of 72.6. Fifteen times she shot 72 or better, including a 6-under-par 66 at The Country Club at Mirasol during the the Birks & Mayors Junior Championship.
Early July treated Hurst well, as she secured a tie for second at the Rolex Tournament of Champions with a 73-71-71-74—289 performance, a fourth-place finish at the Westfield PGA Junior Championship, and a victory at the McDonald’s Betsy Rawls Girls Championship. On July 19, Hurst won this, her first, AJGA Invitational title on the strength of a 70-67-69—206 tournament total to run away from the all-girls field by five strokes. The next week she moved into the No. 1 spot for the first time ever, albeit short-lived.
The week of July 23, Hurst made an unlikely early exit from the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, missing the cut by shooting a 74-79—153 at Tacoma Country and Golf Club in Lakewood, Wash. She would eventually drop to No. 3 in the Polo Golf Rankings heading into The PING Invitational, the last AJGA Invitational of the season.
This award would not be possible without the support of Rolex, the AJGA’s Premier Partner and supporter of the Association since 1983.