Next week, 72 of the world’s top junior golfers will compete at the renowned Trump International Golf Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, at the fourth annual Puerto Rico Junior Open. This year’s champion will earn a sponsor’s exemption into the PGA TOUR’s Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com.
The event has a short but distinguished history of established former champions, and with a 2014 field that includes three of the top-10 juniors in the Polo Golf Rankings, this year’s victor will surely continue the tradition. The field includes golfers from 18 states, Barbados, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Japan, Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago.
The Puerto Rico Junior Open crowned South Africa’s Jason Roets and Trinidad and Tobago’s Monifa Sealy champions of its inaugural event in 2011. Roets topped the field with a tournament total of 217, while Sealy finished the event with a three-day total of 218. Now a junior on the University of North Texas men’s golf team, Roets earned second-team all-conference honors following the 2012-13 season. Sealy is a junior on the University of Central Floridas women’s golf team where she led the team with a 75.3 scoring average during her sophomore campaign.
In 2012, Edward Figueroa of Naples, Fla., was victorious after posting rounds of 72-71-69 for a three-day total of 212. Figueroa was named the Atlantic Sun Conference Freshman of the Year for his success as a member of the Florida Gulf Coast men’s golf team.
Venezuela’s Jorge Garcia won the 2013 event. Garcia, a first-team Rolex Junior All-American, used the event as a springboard into a successful 2013 campaign. With the win, the University of Florida verbal commit earned a sponsor’s exemption into the PGA TOUR’s Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com where he became the eighth youngest player in history to make the cut at a TOUR event. Following the professional event, Garcia won the AJGA’s Thunderbird International Junior, collected four top-10 finishes and represented the East Team in the 2013 Wyndham Cup. Garcia is serving the AJGA Board of Directors in 2014 as the AJGA Boys Player Representative and will return to defend his title at the Puerto Rico Junior Open.