PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The 15th edition of The Junior PLAYERS Championship will take place September 2-5 at TPC Sawgrass' THE PLAYERS Stadium Course, No. 52 in Golf Digest’s “America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses for 2021-2022”.
Thanks to a longtime partnership between the PGA TOUR and the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA), 78 of the world's top-ranked male junior golfers, invited through the Rolex AJGA Rankings, will compete in a 54-hole, stroke-play event mirroring THE PLAYERS Championship setup, hole locations, and three-hole aggregate playoff format.
About The Junior PLAYERS Championship Field
Representatives from seven foreign countries and 19 U.S. states (13 from Florida) are set to compete in one of the AJGA’s annual top boys fields, featuring four of the top-10 boys in the Rolex AJGA Rankings.
Of the 78 boys competing, 47 players are signed or verbally committed to play college golf. There are nine sets of future college teammates in the field led by Arizona State, Tennessee, and Texas, each with three players committed.
Top Players to Watch
Nicholas Dunlap of Huntsville, Alabama, headlines the field at No. 2 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings. Dunlap made a name for himself this year with wins at the Dustin Johnson World Junior, the Polo Golf Junior Classic at Liberty National, and the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. He's committed to the University of Alabama.
Caleb Surratt of Indian Trail, North Carolina, enters the week at No. 5 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings and in search of his first AJGA Invitational victory. The University of Tennessee commit is also having quite the year, with wins at the Western Junior Championship and the Boys Junior PGA Championship.
Benjamin James of Milford, Connecticut, comes to The Junior PLAYERS Championship at No. 6 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings. James dominated the month of May with back-to-back wins at the Scott Robertson Memorial and Team TaylorMade Invitational to close out the month. The latter was his first AJGA Invitational victory. He also finished T2 at the Boys Junior PGA Championship and second at the Polo Golf Junior Classic at Liberty National, falling to Dunlap in the championship match. James is committed to the University of Virginia.
Eric Lee of Fullerton, California, is competing in The Junior PLAYERS Championship for the first time. Lee is No. 9 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings and committed to the University of California, Berkeley. Lee's top finishes to date in 2021 are T2 at the Boys Junior PGA Championship, T4 at the Wyndham Invitational presented by Truist, and T5 at the Western Junior Championship.
At No. 11 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings, Luke Potter of Encinitas, California, owns two AJGA Invitational victories (2018 AJGA Junior All-Star Invitational and 2020 AJGA Simplify Boys Championship at Carlton Woods). The Arizona State University commit finished T3 at the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship in July.
The Junior PLAYERS Championship History
Since 2007, the top boys have traveled to Ponte Vedra in search of a signature victory. Past champions include:
- 2007 Morgan Hoffmann
- 2008 Evan Beck
- 2009 Bobby Wyatt
- 2010 Michael Johnson
- 2011 Gavin Hall
- 2012 Robby Shelton IV
- 2013 Austen Truslow
- 2014 Sam Horsfield
- 2015 Chun-an Yu
- 2016 Khavish Varadan
- 2017 Shuai Ming (Ben) Wong
- 2018 Travis Vick
- 2019 Jayden Schaper
- 2020 David Ford
TPC Sawgrass has hosted the iconic event each year except in 2016 (Sawgrass Country Club) during extensive renovations on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course. From 2011-2013, the first two rounds were played on Dye’s Valley with the final round on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course.
Now-PGA TOUR alum Morgan Hoffman won the inaugural The Junior PLAYERS Championship in 2007. Hoffmann’s junior golf career featured five AJGA victories, including four Invitationals, and a selection as Rolex Junior All-American.
The lowest round in the history of the Junior PLAYERS Championship was set by Logan McCallister of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in the second round of the 2017 tournament at 9-under-par 63. McCallister ultimately tied for second after a three-hole aggregate playoff with Shuai Ming (Ben) Wong of (Hong Kong) The Woodlands, Texas, and Jake Beber-Frankel of Miami. Wong secured his first AJGA Invitational victory with a par on No. 18, the final playoff hole.
Gavin Hall of Pittsford, New York, set the low 36-hole total at 8-under-par 136 on his way to winning the 2011 tournament at 5-under-par 211.
The low 54-hole total of 8-under-par 208 at TPC Sawgrass was shared in 2018 by Travis Vick of Houston, Akshay Bhatia of Wake Forest, North Carolina, and Bo Jin of (China) Encinitas, California. The ensuing sudden-death playoff began on No. 18, where Jin chipped in for birdie and Vick buried a 12-footer to move on to No. 16. Jin found trouble off the tee, while Vick hit the fairway and two-putted for birdie and the win.
Graduation to THE PLAYERS Championship
The AJGA has a storied history of junior, amateur, college and professional success and The Junior PLAYERS Championship showcases an impressive list of 40 alumni who graduated to the PGA TOUR stage.
Major winner and AJGA tournament host Justin Thomas made history at the 2021 PLAYERS Championship when he became the first The Junior PLAYERS Championship alumni to win the professional event. Thomas won the tournament by one stroke at 14-under-par 274.
Thomas, a two-time Rolex Junior All-American as a junior golfer, has hosted his own AJGA tournament since 2016 and spends time on-site hitting shots with sponsors and sharing advice with juniors. He also supports kids who need a financial boost to play through his ACE Grant endowment.
Since the tournament's inception, international players from every corner of the globe gather to test their skills against top players from the U.S.
In 2019, Jayden Schaper of South Africa, played in his third The Junior PLAYERS Championship and won, becoming the fifth champion with international ties. The 2020 grad carried that momentum into the 2020 European Tour's South African Open where he finished T6 and became the first amateur to finish in the top-six since Ernie Els in 1989.