BRASELTON, Ga. –– Peter Uihlein, 16, of Bradenton, Fla., was named Rolex Junior Player of the Year by the American Junior Golf Association, the AJGA announced Thursday. He joins Morgan Pressel of Boca Raton, Fla., as the 2005 recipient of this prestigious award, which is given to the top boy and girl junior golfer each season.
Uihlein was also the clear-cut winner of an AJGA straw poll, where each Rolex Junior All-America boy was asked to choose which candidate for Rolex Junior Player of the Year had the best year in junior golf. In the survey, Uihlein received 80 percent of the votes cast among his peers.
His esteemed accomplishments during the 2005 season will be heralded Nov. 20 during the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet held at Jekyll Island Convention Center in Jekyll Island, Ga. The awards ceremony, dubbed “The Greatest Night in Junior Golf,” will also trumpet the achievements of the rest of golf’s next generation, the Rolex Junior All-America Teams and the HP Scholastic Junior All-America Team.
Introduced by the AJGA in 1978, Rolex Junior Players of the Year are annually honored at the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet, which officially ends the AJGA’s season. Past award winners have gone on to become some of the most esteemed players on the PGA and LPGA Tours, including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Billy Andrade, Charles Howell III, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr, Beth Bauer and Paula Creamer.
“This is an amazing honor, just to be mentioned in the same breath as some of the other recipients of this award,” Uihlein said. “This wasn’t something I really expected, it wasn’t even really a goal I thought I could accomplish this year. It shows the hard work and sacrifices I made to become the player I’ve become is paying off.”
Uihlein, originally from North Dartmouth, Mass., attends the David Leadbetter Academy in Bradenton, Fla. It was his decision to make the move to Florida that helped his game mature to its current level, he said.
“The competition and instruction I receive here on a daily basis is a big part of this award,” he explained. “This is something I will share with my family, friends and instructors who helped get me where I am today.”
In 2005, Uihlein won three national events and finished in the top five in nine of the 16 events in which he played, on his way to claiming this prestigious distinction. He finished the season with an exclamation point, winning the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Junior with back-to-back birdies on the final two holes to secure the title by two strokes. In a marathon year that included 16 appearances, Uihlein finished with a stroke average of 71.33 in national competition.
By earning this honor, Uihlein assured himself a spot on the Rolex Junior All-America First Team.
Along with his AJGA victories at the First American Title Junior Classic and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Junior in 2005, he also took home the title at the Bobby Chapman in early October with a 69-64–133 tournament total. He placed second at The Lincoln Mercury Junior at Canoe Brook, the PING Junior at Mirasol and the Scott Robertson Memorial. His stellar season earned him a spot on the Canon Cup East Team, where he posted a 3-1 record despite a West Team victory.
With 2005 being his fourth year of competing in AJGA events, Uihlein first received national attention in 2004 when he won the Marsh Junior at Apawamis in Rye, N.Y., with a 73-72-72–217 performance. A week later he finished tied for seventh at the HP Boys Junior Championship at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, his first top-10 finish at an AJGA Invitational. These finishes, along with two more top 10s in 2004, landed him on the Rolex Junior All-America Third Team.
This award would not be possible without the support of Rolex Watch USA, the AJGA’s Premier Partner and supporter of the Association since 1983.
Along with the sponsorship of the Rolex Junior Players of the Year, Rolex Junior All-America Teams and Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet, the distinguished timepiece maker also continues to support two of the AJGA’s most competitive major championships: the Rolex Tournament of Champions and Rolex Girls Junior Championship.
Rolex is also the Founding Partner of the Achieving Competitive Excellence Grant. The ACE Grant is designed to give top-flight junior golfers the ability to play a national junior golf schedule despite their financial resources. In 2005, with the help of Rolex and various individual donors, 54 junior golfers were able to compete in events they otherwise could not afford.
Rolex was also an Official Partner of the PING Junior Solheim Cup that took place Sept. 5-8, 2005, at The Bridgewater Club in Westfield, Ind.
For more information, please contact Steve Ethun in the AJGA Communications Department at (770) 868-4200.