As the American Junior Golf Association kicks off its 28th year of conducting the best junior golf tournaments in the world, the Association will be visiting a new part of the world for the first time. From May 26-28, the AJGA will make its inaugural trip to Mexico for the Nike Golf Junior Classic hosted by Zona Norte. The 54-hole event, one of 10 in the Nike Golf Junior All-Star Series, will be contested at Club de Valle Alto A.C. in Monterrey, Mexico.
Tournament host Zona Norte is an association of five Mexican states that stages about 12 junior golf events each year. Leopoldo Lopez, president of Zona Norte and vice president of the Mexican Junior Golf Association, was integral in bringing the AJGA to Mexico. Lopez felt Mexican junior golfers were at a disadvantage in trying to gain exposure for college golf scholarships because of a lack of opportunities to showcase their skills.
This new event will draw the best 12-15-year-olds from across North America. Seventy percent of the tournament field will be filled by the AJGA’s Performance Based Entry system. The remaining 30 percent will consist of Mexican players awarded tournament spots based on their playing performances at events in the six geographical zones in Mexico and Mexican Junior Golf Association tournaments. Those players awarded tournament spots will be required to pay all AJGA membership and tournament entry fees.
“Mr. Lopez has been instrumental in the development of junior golf in Mexico,” said AJGA V.P. and South Central Regional Director Beth Reuter. “He really wants the juniors to know that there is definitely a future for them in golf.”
In October of 2005, the Texas Junior Golf Tour hosted a successful event in Monterrey. In addition to the tournament, an educational seminar was conducted to help the junior golfers learn how to gain entrance into AJGA tournaments. The excitement generated by the seminar and the success of the tournament paved the way for the AJGA to make its first trip to Mexico this May.
The event marks the first time the AJGA has traveled outside the United States to conduct a tournament since 2003 when the BMO Financial Group Future Links Junior at Caledon Woods was played just outside of Toronto.
The host facility, Club de Valle Alto A.C., is a par-72 golf course that stretches out to nearly 6,800 yards.
In 2005, the AJGA had 25 members from Mexico, up from 20 in 2004.