By Stepper Toth, AJGA Communications
The Valero Junior Texas Open kicked off its 25th annual event on Monday. This AJGA tournament is special in multiple ways.
Over the past 25 years, the Valero Junior Texas Open field has gone on to do great things. LPGA golfer Brittany Lang of McKinney, Texas, who won the 2016 US Women’s Open on Sunday, also won this event twice during her AJGA days. Lang first won the event in in 2001 at the Fair Oaks Ranch Golf & Country Club – Live Oak Course and again in 2002 at The Club at Sonterra, South Course.
Tiger Woods won the inaugural Valero Junior Texas Open event in 1992 at the San Antonio Country Club. Jimmy Walker, the 2015 Valero Texas Open champion, also first won the junior event in 1996.
“The Valero Texas Open has a lot of history,” said Larson Segerdahl, executive director of the Valero Texas Open. “It is the third-oldest event on the PGA TOUR, the sixth-oldest professional tournament anywhere in the world, starting in 1922. [Sunday] We hosted our qualifying event at Brackenridge Golf Club, which was the first host venue of the Valero Texas Open back in 1922. The people who played in the qualifier yesterday played in the very first venue of the Valero Texas Open, and they will move on to play here at TPC San Antonio which is the current host of the Valero Texas Open.”
This will be the second year that the Valero Junior Texas Open will be held at TPC San Antonio – AT&T Oaks Course. The TPC San Antonio AT&T Oaks Course has also hosted the PGA TOUR’s Valero Texas Open since 2010.
The Valero Junior Texas Open is unique compared to many AJGA tournaments, as the tournament committee replicates the Valero Texas Open to their best ability. The same hole locations as the Valero Texas Open will be used in the Valero Junior Texas Open and the trophies that the champions will receive are replicas. The social activity that the juniors participated in on Tuesday night was similar to the Caddy Putting Contest, a tradition at the Valero Junior Texas Open. In addition, the juniors will all have personalized lockers with their nameplates.
“We try to do some unique things that allow us to provide a PGA TOUR-like experience for the competitors and their families,” said Segerdahl.
The Valero Junior Texas Open won the 2015 Most Improved Tournament of the Year Award for the 2015 tournament. Segerdahl’s end goal for the tournament is that everyone leaves San Antonio wanting to return to TPC San Antonio and the Valero Texas Open.