By Jordan Vitkauskas (@AJGAMedia), AJGA Communications
The 39th annual Rolex Tournament of Champions is one of the biggest tournaments each year for the AJGA. The event, which changes location year-to-year, is one of the longest running on the AJGA schedule.
Every year, the tournament demands great golf from the juniors, usually resulting in a remarkable performance or two. In 2015, the performance belonged to Philip Barbaree of Shreveport, Louisiana. Barbaree, an LSU commit, not only broke the 72-hole AJGA tournament total record with a four round score of 24-under-par (264 tournament total), but also went 66-consecutive holes without a bogey.
The previous tournament record was set by Sam Burns, also from Shreveport, Louisiana, in the 2014 edition of the event. Barbaree taking home the title marked the fourth time a player from Louisiana has won the event. It was also the first time in either division that two juniors from the same hometown won the event in back-to-back years.
The Rolex Tournament of Champions is tied for the longest-running AJGA event with the Polo Junior Golf Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Additionally, the Rolex Tournament of Champions is the longest-running Invitational for the AJGA. This is the first time Reynolds Lake Oconee is hosting the AJGA, as it will take place on the Great Waters Course.
The Rolex Tournament of Champions has featured many junior golfers who have gone on to have success at the collegiate and professional levels. Notable past champions include Phil Mickelson, Webb Simpson, Charles Howell, David Duval, Morgan Pressel, Inbee Park, Beth Bauer, Kellee Booth and Heather Farr.
Additionally, the last three Girls Division champions and last two Boys Division champions have gone on to win Rolex Junior Player of the Year in that same year.
Over the 39 years of the event, 24 champions have come from the state of California, which is more than any other state. Florida holds the second-most winners with 17, while Texas has claimed five Boys Division titles, but no girl from Texas has ever won the Rolex Tournament of Champions. International players have won the event five times.