This weekend, the LPGA opens its season in paradise with the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic in the Caribbean while the PGA TOUR goes west for the Farmers Insurance Open.
AJGA ties are strong in both locations. The Farmers Insurance Open is run by Peter Ripa, former Assistant Executive Director who served in several roles during his 16 years working for the AJGA. Ripa carried his experiences from the AJGA first to the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, where he was Tournament Director from 2007-11. In July 2011, Ripa began his post as the Farmers Insurance Open tournament director, and later became executive director of the Century Club at the conclusion of the 2012 event.
Another big AJGA storyline at Torrey Pines includes the professional debut of 20-year-old AJGA alumnus Michael Kim of Del Mar, Calif. Kim grew up just 10 minutes away from the golf course and began his national junior golf path by medaling in his first-ever event: the Preseason Junior at Walnut Creek. During his junior career, Kim went on to earn Rolex Junior All-America honors and play on the 2010 Wyndham Cup West team.
AJGA tournament host and alumna Stacy Lewis (KPMG Stacy Lewis Junior Open, June 23-26) is back on Twitter and is engaging fans using a #HeyStacy hashtag. @stacy_lewis tweeted Jan. 21 that shell be answering fan questions submitted by Twitter using the hashtag.
Looking back: It was almost an AJGA reunion on Jan. 19 at the top of the leaderboard for the PGA TOURs Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.
Champion Patrick Reed of Baton Rouge, La., won wire-to-wire for his second career TOUR win (the first was the 2013 Wyndham Championship) in 46 starts. He shot three-straight rounds of 63 and closed with a 71 to beat AJGA alum Ryan Palmer of Amarillo, Texas, by two strokes.
A semifinalist at the 2008 U.S. Amateur, Reed competed at Augusta State University where he became a two-time national champion. Palmer accepted a scholarship at University of North Texas before transferring to Texas A&M after his freshman year. As an Aggie, Palmer was selected to the All-Big 12 Team three times and won two collegiate events.