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2014 HP Scholastic Junior All-America Team revealed

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Twenty-four of the nation’s brightest minds and best junior golfers were named to the 2014 HP Scholastic Junior All-America Team. Sponsored by HP since 1988, the team consists of 12 young men and 12 young women who demonstrate the ability to excel both on the golf course and in the classroom.

To be eligible to apply for the HP Scholastic Junior All-America Team, boys must have placed in the top 10 of an AJGA Open or Invitational, while girls needed a top-five finish. The selections were then based on the following criteria in order of importance: standardized test scores, GPA, school leadership/community service and writing skills as showcased in an original essay.

“HP is extremely proud to be part of this program and to recognize the outstanding academic, athletic and community service achievements of these young men and women. Being selected as a member of the 2014 HP Scholastic Junior All-America Team is a high honor and one that each and every one of you should be very proud of,” said John Dayan, vice president, Hewlett-Packard. “The AJGA, working closely with parents and players alike, strives to prepare these young adults for life in college and beyond, by instilling the qualities of honor, integrity, perseverance and sportsmanship. HP and the AJGA are celebrating 27 years of support for this award and its recognition of excellence.”

The 12 boys on the HP Scholastic Junior All-America team are Benjamin Bichet of Manchester, Mass. (2015), Mike Blasey of Potomac, Md. (2015), Beau Briggs of Covington, La. (2015), Michael Brown of Birmingham, Ala. (2015), Hoke Carlton of Charlotte, N.C. (2015), Noah Edmondson of Davidson, N.C. (2015), Gerard Reilly Erhardt of Greensboro, N.C. (2015), Kevin Jackson of Atlanta (2015), Paul Lei of Middleton, Mass. (2015), Seiya Liu of Beverly Hills, Calif. (2015), Vinay Ramesh of Newtown, Pa. (2015) and Tyler Tsay of Los Angeles (2015).

The 12 girls on the HP Scholastic Junior All-America team are Emma Albrecht of Ormond Beach, Fla. (2015), Sasha Banks of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. (2015), Julia Calbi of South Barrington, Ill. (2015), Isabella DiLisio of Hatfield, Pa. (2015), Elizabeth Doykan of Houston (2015), Sierra Kersten of Spokane, Wash. (2015), Sabrina Long of Alpharetta, Ga. (2015), Julie Luo of Centreville, Va. (2015), Janet Mao of Johns Creek, Ga. (2015), Amber Wang of Sugar Land, Texas (2015), Michelle Xie of Palo Alto, Calif. (2015) and Anna Zhou of Palo Alto, Calif. (2015).

These outstanding individuals will be honored at the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet, Nov. 23, at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. By being named to this team, each player is also eligible to participate in the Polo Golf Junior Classic, one of the most prestigious events in junior golf, which will take place on PGA National Resort & Spa's Champion and Fazio Courses, Nov. 22-28.

Former HP Scholastic Junior All-Americans have gone on to successful amateur and professional golf careers, including Casey Martin (1989), Wendy Ward (1990), Kellee Booth (1992), Cristie Kerr (1994), Matt Kuchar (1994), Scott Langley (2005) and Patrick Rodgers (2009, 2010).
 

The HP Scholastic Honor Roll recognizes those juniors who have achieved a weighted GPA of 3.5 or higher, but who were not selected as HP Scholastic All-Americans. For a complete 2014 Honor Roll list click here.

ESSAY AWARD WINNER - Isabella DiLisio, Hatfield, Pa. (2015)

Miracle at Merion

“I’m sorry Mr. Hogan but I don’t caddy for quitters. I’ll see you on the next tee sir.”

Whoever said that to Ben Hogan must have been asking for a slap in the face, right? Especially during the final round of the 1950 U.S. Open at the East Course at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. To say that to Hogan while he was in excruciating pain because of a near-fatal car accident he had been in just sixteen months prior took a large amount of confidence.

Well, that crazy man who was caddying for Hogan was my great-grandfather, Nick Ciocca.

Hogan was leading the U.S. Open at that point by two shots but decided that he did not want to continue playing because the pain was unbearable. After he completed the 13th hole, he told my great-grandfather to leave his clubs by the clubhouse, and he would meet him there to pay him for caddying. However, my great-grandfather was not going to stand for that kind of attitude. He knew that Hogan had a chance to win the golf tournament, and it would be a shame to see him walk away. I don’t know why Hogan decided to listen to my great-grandfather. Who was he anyway? Just a local scratch golfer who was caddying to make a few extra dollars.

All I know is that one of Hogan’s greatest decisions was following the great-grandfather to the 14th tee.

As the story goes, Hogan ended up tying for the lead with Lloyd Mangrum and George Fazio by the time he arrived at the 18th tee because of his bogeys on 15 and 17. This, however, led him to hit the most famous shot in golf history from the 18th fairway: a perfect 1-iron to 40 feet on the 18th green. That shot produced one of the most famous photographs in the history of golf which shows Hogan’s finish position and the large crowd admiring him. Hogan then went on to two-putt for par and win the 18-hole playoff the following day by four shots.
 

Now, as I am standing over the plaque in the middle of the 18th fairway at Merion East that reads,

“June 11, 1950
U.S. Open
Fourth Round
Ben Hogan
One Iron,”
 
I look at my slightly faded Merion head cover that protects my 5-wood. It is a reminder that no matter how much I am struggling and no matter how much I want to quit, I always have to meet my great-grandfather on the next tee. I can picture him standing next to Hogan, handing him the one-iron. I keep hearing the same words in my head: “I’m sorry Mr. Hogan but I don’t caddy for quitters. I’ll see you on the next tee sir.” I place my ball next to the plaque, stare the flag down, take a smooth swing, and watch my ball soar through the air and land just inches from the hole.