By Preston Smith, AJGA Communications
The FJ Invitational has historically been stocked with players that would go on to become stars in collegiate and professional golf. In fact, former participants in the FJ Invitational have produced 30 PGA TOUR and 23 Web.com victories. More recently, last year’s champion Austin Connelly competed as an amateur at the 2015 AT&T Byron Nelson Championship.
This year’s 84-player field looks to follow the tournament’s rich history. The 2015 FJ Invitational field includes eight of the top-10 players in the class of 2016, six of the top-seven players in the class of 2017 and eight of the top-10 players in the class of 2018.
Four Invitational champions are in the 2015 field, including last year’s Polo Golf Junior Classic champion and the past three champions of the Junior All-Star Invitational sponsored by NIKEGOLF. Additionally there are 46 former AJGA champions in the field who have won a combined 61 tournaments.
A group to watch heading into the FJ Invitational is the 8:40 a.m. tee time in Tuesday’s first round. The threesome consists of Spencer Soosman and Matthew Wolff, the two finalists at the 2014 Polo Golf Junior Classic. Soosman and Wolff, ranked seventh and 12th, respectively, in the Polo Golf Rankings, are also teammates at Westlake High School in Westlake Village, California. The third member of the group, 13th-ranked Davis Shore of Knoxville, Tennessee, won the Toyota Music City Junior last week in record-setting fashion. The University of Alabama verbal commit shot a tournament-total 18-under-par 198 in Franklin, Tennessee, the third-lowest total in AJGA history.
In the six years Sedgefield Country Club has hosted the FJ Invitational, a player younger than a rising senior has only won one time (Justin Thomas, 2009). With a deep field, this year’s Invitational will be as competitive as ever.