News

Eight Things for the Polo Golf Junior Classic

9338-eight-things-for-the-polo-golf-junior-classic.jpg

In honor of our eighth year returning to PGA National Resort & Spa for the Polo Golf Junior Classic, here are eight things to know about this year’s tournament.

  1. The Boys and Girls Division will play one round of stroke play on both the Champion Course and the Fazio Course on Monday and Tuesday. The top-32 boys and top-32 girls will advance to match play on Wednesday for the round of 32 and the round of 16. The quarterfinals and semifinals will take place on Thursday and the finals are scheduled for Friday.
  2. Dubbed “The Greatest Night in Junior Golf,” the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet highlights a Sunday night full of awards at PGA National Resort & Spa. In addition to honoring the Rolex Junior All-America teams and the Transamerica Scholastic Junior All-America team, the Jerry Cole Sportsmanship Award and the Digger Smith Award will also be announced. The two Rolex Junior Players of the Year, Noah Goodwin and Paphangkorn Tavatanakit, will be celebrated as well.
  3. The Rolex Junior Player of the Year has gone on to win the Polo Golf Junior Classic 15 times. Four boys and 11 girls of the 76 total champions have advanced through the field to win the Invitational. Only once have both Rolex Junior Players of the Year won the title; In 1991, 15-year-old Tiger Woods and 17-year-old Emilee Klein each won, days after being honored as the 1991 Rolex Junior Players of the Year.
  4. Ryan Gerard of Raleigh, North Carolina, will return to PGA National Resort & Spa to defend his 2015 title. Gerard will look to become just the seventh golfer (and second boy) to earn multiple titles at the Polo Golf Junior Classic.
  5. The Polo Golf Junior Classic is one of the two longest-running events on the AJGA schedule, along with the Rolex Tournament of Champions. Both Invitationals started in 1978, the AJGA’s first year, and continued ever since. Notable champions over the past 38 years include:
    • Stewart Cink
    • Paula Creamer
    • Heather Farr
    • Trevor Immelman
    • Hunter Mahan
    • Morgan Pressel
    • Lexi Thompson
    • Tiger Woods
  6. Match play has produced some dramatic moments over the years. The two longest matches in the history of the Polo Golf Junior Classic went 28 holes and belong to Bubba Watson (1996) and Vicky Hurst (2007). Watson went on to finish as the runner-up for the second year in a row, while Hurst claimed a victory in her final AJGA event.
  7. Only nine stroke play medalists (eight girls and one boy) have gone on to win the Polo Golf Junior Classic. Vicki Goetze (four times) and Emiliano Grillo (three times) hold the record for most medalist honors at the Polo Golf Junior Classic. Other notable medalists include:
    • Vicky Hurst
    • Ariya Jutanugarn
    • Matt Kuchar
    • Phil Mickelson
    • Ryan Moore
    • Grace Park
    • Aree Song
    • Tiger Woods
  8. In the past, there have been several sets of siblings to have success at the Polo Golf Junior Classic. Vicki Goetze won her first of two straight Polo Golf Junior Classics in 1988, the same year that her brother, Nicky, finished as the runner-up for the second time in three years. Naree Song and Aree Song, the first set of twins to compete on the LPGA Tour, also had success at the Invitational. In addition to each medaling during their Polo Golf Junior Classic career, they also each individually won, Naree in 1999 and Aree in 2001. Moriya Jutanugarn medaled in 2010 and 2011, before sister Ariya continued the family tradition as the 2012 medalist. Ariya would go on to win the Polo Golf Junior Classic that year.