Junior golf’s top honors were announced Monday as 48 boys and 48 girls were named Rolex Junior All-Americans by Rolex and the American Junior Golf Association.
Introduced by the AJGA in 1978, the Rolex Junior All-America Teams annually recognize those players who have established themselves as the world’s premier junior golfers. This year’s selections distinguished themselves through their outstanding play in 76 national events, 54 of which were conducted by the AJGA.
For the second consecutive year, the Rolex Junior All-America Teams were determined exclusively through the Polo Golf Rankings (as of Oct. 10, after The PING Invitational). Teams include 12 players on the boys’ and girls’ first teams, 12 players on the boys’ and girls’ second teams, and 48 honorable mention recipients (24 boys, 24 girls). To be eligible, players must have played a minimum of six events during the 2007 season.
These 96 junior golfers, ages 12-18, hail from 23 states and three foreign countries. The honorees will be formally presented this distinction at the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet Nov. 18 at The Grande Ballroom at Ginn Reunion Resort in Reunion, Fla.
Former Rolex Junior All-Americans comprise the top players on both the PGA and LPGA Tours. Of the PGA TOUR’s current top-10 money leaders, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory Sabbatini, Jim Furyk and Sergio Garcia were all Rolex Junior All-Americans. On the LPGA Tour, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Morgan Pressel, Angela Park and Brittany Lincicome were named Rolex Junior All-Americans as junior golfers before working their way to the top of the pay-for-play ranks. Other notable professional AJGA alumni who help make up the list of past Rolex Junior All-Americans include Mark Calcavecchia, Woody Austin, Scott Verplank, Hunter Mahan, Stacy Prammanasudh, Sherri Steinhauer and Christina Kim.
The boys' team...
The boys on the Rolex Junior All-America First Team include Peter Uihlein of Bradenton, Fla., and Bud Cauley of Jacksonville, Fla., who appeared on last year’s first team as well. Uihlein, who is the only boy to be named to this team for the third consecutive year, hovered at the top of the Polo Golf Rankings the entire season, never falling lower than fourth. He ascended to the No. 1 spot at season’s end by way of seven top-10 finishes in national events and one AJGA Invitational victory. Cauley, now a two-time first-team Rolex Junior All-American, ended the season at No. 4 in the Polo Golf Rankings with the help of a tie for second at the Thunderbird International Junior and tie for third at The Junior PLAYERS Championship.
Sihwan Kim of Buena Park, Calif., Cory Whitsett of Houston, Wesley Graham of Port Orange, Fla., Cody Gribble of Dallas, Spencer Cole of Greer, S.C., Gregor Main of Danville, Calif., and David Chung of Fayetteville, N.C., are all making return appearances as Rolex Junior All-Americans but are members of the first team for the first time.
Morgan Hoffmann of Saddlebrook, N.J., Luke Guthrie of Quincy, Ill., and Jae Han Chun of Ansung-city, South Korea, celebrated their first appearances on the Rolex Junior All-America Teams with first-team selections
On the girls' team...
Four 2006 Rolex Junior All-America First Team selections made a return appearance, including Vicky Hurst of Melbourne, Fla., who was ranked No. 1 in the Polo Golf Rankings at the end of the 2007 season. She put together a season that included eight top-10 finishes and three AJGA victories. Stephanie Kono of Honolulu, a three-time Rolex Junior All-American, Mina Harigae of Monterey, Calif., a five-time Rolex Junior All-American, and Taylore Karle of Scottsdale, Ariz., a three-time Rolex Junior All-American, compile the remainder of repeat first-team Rolex Junior All-Americans.
Kimberly Kim of Pahoa, Hawaii, Kristen Park of Buena Park, Calif., Ayaka Kaneko of Honolulu, Jane Rah of Torrance, Calif., Allie White of Lancaster, Ohio, and Jennifer Johnson of Carlsbad, Calif., all made their way onto the first team for the first time after being named Rolex Junior All-Americans in past years.
Courtney Ellenbogen of Blacksburg, Va., and Alexis Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla., earned first-team accolades in their first time being named to the Rolex Junior All-America Teams.
The Rolex Junior Player of the Year awards, honoring the top boy and girl junior golfer in 2007, will be announced Tuesday, October 23.
Along with the sponsorship of the Rolex Junior All-America Teams, the distinguished timepiece maker also continues to sponsor the Rolex Junior Players of the Year, the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet and two of the AJGA’s most competitive major championships: the Rolex Tournament of Champions and the Rolex Girls Junior Championship.
Rolex is also the Founding Corporate Partner of the Achieving Competitive Excellence Grant. The ACE Grant is designed to give top-flight junior golfers the ability to play a national junior golf schedule regardless of their financial resources. In 2007, with the help of Rolex and various individual donors, nearly 80 junior golfers were able to compete in events they otherwise could not afford.
Click here for the complete list of Rolex Junior All-Americans.