Ticket to the TOUR
The AJGA provides many opportunities for juniors to compete against the top junior golfers in the world, but the Puerto Rico Junior Open, which is supported by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, is the only event on the AJGA schedule where the champion earns a spot in the PGA TOUR’s Puerto Rico Open.
Unlike past AJGA events to offer a PGA TOUR exemption, the Puerto Rico Junior Open (Jan. 15-18) is the only Open event where any AJGA boy can apply for a chance to play and potentially earn the opportunity to make his PGA TOUR debut.
“The AJGA and its staff do an incredible job preparing their membership to play at the highest level,” said Sidney Wolf, president of the Puerto Rico Golf Association. “We look forward to welcoming once again some of the very best juniors to the Puerto Rico Junior Open as they give themselves their best opportunity to live out their dreams on the PGA TOUR.”
Staple of success
Argentinian Emiliano Grillo, now World No. 36 after his playoff win at the Frys.com Open on Oct. 18, played in the first Puerto Rico Junior Open in 2011, where he finished fifth. It’s been a great season for Grillo, who also won the 2015 Web.com Tour Championship to earn his PGA TOUR card. He also competed in the 2015 Puerto Rico Open by way of sponsor’s exemption, eventually finishing runner-up after a playoff.
Historically, winning the Puerto Rico Junior Open has been a highlight of a successful junior career. In 2013, Venezuela’s Jorge Garcia won his first career AJGA title in Puerto Rico and made TOUR history when he carded back-to-back 70s to become the eighth-youngest player to make a cut – then went on to win the Thunderbird International Junior later that season. Garcia is a freshman at the University of Florida.
Andrew Kozan of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, secured his first AJGA win in Puerto Rico in 2015 to improve his Polo Golf Ranking from T395 before the event to now No. 8 overall. He finished inside the top 15 four times during the year, including a runner-up finish at The Junior PLAYERS Championship presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf at TPC Sawgrass.
Test against the best
The Puerto Rico Junior Open has always attracted strong competition to the 72-player field. In 2015, the event moved to the 100-point level in the Polo Golf Rankings and became one of the strongest non-Invitational fields on the AJGA schedule.
The application for the 2015 event at Coco Beach Golf & Country Club's Championship Course will open in mid-November. Applications can be submitted in the Player Center.