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 80 national events, 64 of which were conducted by the AJGA.
For the third consecutive year, the Rolex Junior All-America Teams were determined exclusively through the Polo Golf Rankings (as of Oct. 14). 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 2008 season.
These 96 junior golfers, ages 13-18, hail from 26 states and four foreign countries. These standouts will be honored at the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet Nov. 23 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 First Team...
Headlining the boys on the Rolex Junior All-America First Team is Cameron Peck of Olympia, Wash. Ranked No. 1 in the Polo Golf Rankings at season’s end, Peck won four events in 2008, including two AJGA Invitationals – the FootJoy Invitational and HP Boys Junior Championship – and the U.S. Junior Amateur. He, along with seven additional players on the first team, is receiving Rolex Junior All America honors for the first time. These players include: Byeong-hun An of Bradenton, Fla.; Evan Beck of Virginia Beach, Va.; Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos, Calif.; Kyle Kopsick of Lake Bluff, Ill.; Crawford Reeves of Greenville, S.C.; Jordan Spieth of Dallas; and T.J. Vogel of Cooper City, Fla.
Returning to the Rolex Junior All-America First Team are Cory Whitsett of Houston, and Andrew Yun of Tacoma, Wash. Whitsett, a three-time Rolex Junior All-American, is making his second consecutive appearance on the first team. This year, he won the Western Junior and Rolex Tournament of Champions and finished in the top 10 five more times. Yun, a four-time Rolex Junior All-American, returns to the first team after earning the honor in 2006. This season, Yun won The Verizon Junior Heritage and posted four additional top-10 finishes.
Previous Rolex Junior All-Americans earning first-team accolades for the first time are Hyun Seok Lim of La Palma, Calif. (2006, 2007), and Chan Kim of Chandler, Ariz. (2007).
The Girls First Team...
The girls who make up their half of the Rolex Junior All-America First Team include five players returning to the team for at least a second time. Kimberly Kim of Pahoa, Hawaii, a five-time Rolex Junior All-American, is on the first team for a second consecutive year. She is joined for the second time by four-time Rolex Junior All-American Allie White of Lancaster, Ohio, three-timer Jennifer Johnson of La Quinta, Calif., and two-timers Jenny Shin of Torrance, Calif., and Alexis Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla.
Previous Rolex Junior All-Americans earning first-team accolades for the first time are Tiffany Lua of Rowland Heights, Calif. (2005-2007), and Kristina Wong of Bradenton, Fla. (2006, 2007).
Five players on the first team are newly crowned Rolex Junior All-Americans, including top-ranked Victoria Tanco of Bradenton, Fla. In her first season of playing competitive golf in the United States after moving from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tanco had three victories, two of which came at AJGA Invitationals, and four additional top-20s in her seven total events. She is joined by fellow first-timers Karen Chung of Livingston, N.J., Alison Lee of Valencia, Calif., Erynne Lee of Silverdale, Wash., and Jessica Korda of Bradenton, Fla.
The Rolex Junior Player of the Year awards, honoring the top boy and girl junior golfer in 2008, will be announced Tuesday, October 28.
Rolex, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became an AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. The distinguished timepiece maker is the proprietor of the Rolex Junior Players of the Year, Rolex Junior All-America Teams and the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet. Rolex also sponsors the Rolex Tournament of Champions and Rolex Girls Junior Championship, two of the AJGA’s most competitive major championships.
As a Premier Partner, Rolex is the Founding Partner to the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program and an Official Partner of the biennial PING Junior Solheim Cup.
Click here for the complete list of Rolex Junior All-Americans.