The State Cup Series traveled to Pinehurst No. 9 and No. 2 on October 13–14 for its annual Carolina Cup. The event, hosted by American Junior Golf Association member Jackson Van Paris, raised more than $50,000 for the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation and the AJGA’s ACE Grant program. Twenty-eight juniors from North Carolina traveled to Pinehurst Resort for a Ryder Cup-style event where they were responsible to fundraise at least $1,000 as a requirement to compete. The field included seven returning juniors who have raised more than $36,000 in their multiple years playing in the event.
The Carolina Cup, part of the AJGA’s State Cup Series, was the founding event of the series. In 2010, 12 juniors teamed up to raise $12,000 for charity. Patrick Cover and Thomas Walsh, both North Carolina natives, founded the initial event. Though its leadership, title (originally titled the Dormie Cup) and venue have changed, this event provided a blueprint for future Leadership Links and ACE Grant fundraising opportunities.
The State Cup Series, a series of junior-led fundraising tournaments, is a branch of the AJGA’s Leadership Links program, which helps develop young men and women by teaching charitable giving skills and service-oriented practices at an early age. This program gives juniors all the tools necessary to donate their time, talent and resources to local charities and the ACE Grant.
The Carolina Cup has raised money for the Wounded Warrior Project, Curesearch for Children’s Cancer, The First Tee (Sandhills and Tri Counties) and the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation. The event also raises money for the AJGA’s Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant, which provides financial assistance to young men and women who aspire to earn a college golf scholarship through competitive junior golf. Since 2010, the event has raised nearly $350,000.
Van Paris, a two-time Rolex Junior All-American, has participated in Leadership Links since 2015. In this time, he has raised more than $14,500. Van Paris is No. 23 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings and had three top-15 finishes in national junior golf in 2018.