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Boyne Highlands Resort will host AJGA through 2026

<i>Host facility to celebrate 25<sup>th</sup> anniversary with contract extension</i>

Harbor Springs, Mich. – The Coca-Cola Junior Championship at Boyne Highlands will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2026 after a five-year contract extension. The tournament, which rotates each year between the Heather and Moor Courses at Boyne Highlands Resort, will mark its 20th year of hosting an AJGA event in 2021.

“BOYNE Golf is thrilled to extend our contract with the AJGA,” said Senior Vice President of Golf Operations and Resort Sales for Boyne Resorts Bernie Friedrich. “We are honored 2026 will mark the 25th anniversary of the resort and our staff welcoming junior golfers from around the world to experience Northern Michigan and our BOYNE Golf courses.”

Boyne Highlands Resort was founded in 1947 under the name ‘Boyne USA Resorts’. Nineteen years later, the Heather golf course, designed by Robert Trent Jones opened as the first of four eventual courses on property. The Moor course opened six years later in 1974, followed by the Donald Ross Memorial in 1989, and finally, the Arthur Hills Course which expanded to a full 18 holes in 1999.

The Heather course was named to Golfweek’s list of ‘America’s Best Courses’, and Golf Digest’s list of ‘America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses’ and ‘Top 50 courses for Women’. The Heather also annually hosts the Michigan Amateur.

In 2018, Friedrich, was honored with the Golf Course Executive of the Year award from the AJGA. This award recognizes an individual’s outstanding contribution to the AJGA as a part of hosting events. Friedrich was instrumental in expanding the resort’s support of AJGA events to fellow partner properties in Maine, Michigan, and Montana. Boyne was also recognized in 2006 for its volunteer program. The tournament annually includes more than 100 volunteers who serve as spotters on each hole, man the scoreboard, score players, and go above and beyond the call of duty most every year.

Bernie Friedrich award Coca Cola Junior Championship at Boyne Highlands 2019 (1).JPG
Bernie Friedrich and 2019 Tournament Director Madeline Bond

"We are excited to continue our long-term partnership with Boyne Highlands Resort. For many years Boyne has provided a top-level experience to our junior golfers,” said AJGA Midwest Regional Director, Ryan Flanagan. “The support from the local community and the resort is among the best on our schedule and we are excited to continue this event into the future."

Boyne Highlands Resort has hosted its share of impressive AJGA champions since 2001. Paula Creamer, 10-time LPGA victor, won the inaugural event and defended the next year (2001, 2002). Current PGA TOUR professional Doug Ghim - recently contending at THE PLAYERS Championship - won in 2011 by posting the lowest 54-hole score ever. Ghim fired rounds of 71–66–68 for a tournament total 11-under-par 205 on the Moor Course.

Doug Ghim 2011 Coca-Cola Junior Championship at Boyne Highlands
Doug Ghim, the 2011 Coca-Cola Junior Championship at Boyne Highlands Champion

“For more than 20 years, it has been a summer highlight at Boyne Highlands Resort to welcome this talented field of junior golfers to experience our BOYNE Golf courses,” said Director of Golf for Boyne Resorts Josh Richter. “Their competitiveness is amazing, but more importantly, their respect for the game and their competitors shows what great life experiences the AJGA provides through these events.”

In the event's 19-year history, the Coca-Cola Junior Championship at Boyne Highlands was decided by a playoff five times. Most recently, 2020 champion Joshua Qian of Westerville, Ohio, won the Boys Division in a one-hole playoff on the Moor Course.

Gianna Clemente of Warren, Ohio, became the fifth youngest AJGA Open champion ever when she won the Girls Division in 2020. Clemente was 12 years, three months, and nine days at the time of her victory.

The 2021 Coca-Cola Junior Championship at Boyne Highlands will be hosted June 28 - July 1 on the Heather Course. Seventy-eight top juniors, ages 12 to 18, will return to Harbor Springs, Michigan. Tournament Director Connor Sullivan, in his third year as a full-time AJGA employee, played in the tournament as a junior golfer in 2013.

Over the history of the Coca-Cola Junior Championship at Boyne Highlands, numerous AJGA staff members have contributed to its success including the USGA’s Championship Director Rachel Sadowski who ran the event from 2009 – 2013.

“My yearly assignment to Boyne Highlands was always the highlight of my summer and something I looked forward to. The Boyne staff were a joy to work with; true professionals in golf, lots of fun, and just genuinely good people. To this day I still think about my visits there and watching the July 4th fireworks over lake Michigan.”
Rachel Sadowski, 2009-2013 Tournament Director
“Our event at Boyne is one that sits very close to my heart. Playing in the event as a junior and now being able to run the event myself is something I will take with me for the rest of my life. The thing that makes this event so special is the people. The committee involved with this event are some of the most welcoming and friendly faces you will ever meet, and they are the reason we have had continued success year after year in Harbor Springs. The Heather and the Moor Courses are two of Michigan's hidden gems and we are so fortunate to be able to play them each year. This event gives a great opportunity to those in the state of Michigan to be able to play in their home state and be able to explore the beauty of Northern Michigan during the summer months.”
Connor Sullivan, 2021 Tournament Director
"The Coca-Cola Junior Championship at Boyne Highlands is where my AJGA career came full circle. I worked this event as an intern in summer 2018 and returned in summer 2020 as the tournament director, my first tournament full-time with the AJGA. What really makes this event stand out is the community involvement and the relationship we have with the entire Boyne Highlands Resort."
Matt Emmi, 2020 Tournament Director
“Boyne is a place that feels like home, but with the mystery and excitement of vacation. The people within the Boyne community go above and beyond with their hospitality. We are so thankful for the extension of our partnership with Boyne. I am personally looking forward to hearing about the memories and successes of all the juniors who get the opportunity to play in such a wonderful place.”
Shannon Dudzinski, 2018 Tournament Director
“I loved the years I spent running and assisting the Coca-Cola Junior Championship at Boyne Highlands. It was a week I looked forward to all year long. The staff at Boyne Highlands is so gracious and supportive to the AJGA and believe in what we are doing. The volunteer support is second to none…. after 10 years of being involved with the AJGA, it is still the largest group of volunteer support I have seen! The staff, committee, volunteers, and everyone involved at Boyne Highlands continues to work hard make their event one of the best on our schedule for our players, their families and the AJGA staff.”
Blair (Thompson) Sumner, 2014-2016 Tournament Director