PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The 14th edition of The Junior PLAYERS Championship will take place September 3-6 at TPC Sawgrass' THE PLAYERS Stadium Course, No. 49 in Golf Digest’s “America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses for 2019-2020”.
Thanks to a longtime partnership between the PGA TOUR and American Junior Golf Association (AJGA), 78 of the world's top-ranked male junior golfers, invited through the Rolex AJGA Rankings, will compete in a 54-hole stroke-play event mirroring THE PLAYERS Championship setup, hole locations, and three-hole aggregate playoff format.
About The Junior PLAYERS Championship Field
Representatives from eight foreign countries and 21 U.S. states (seven from Florida) are set to compete in one of the AJGA’s annual top boys fields, featuring eight of the top 10 boys in the Rolex AJGA Rankings.
The 2020 Junior PLAYERS Championship field is highlighted by 22 Rolex Junior All-Americans and 49 AJGA champions, including 18 players with 2020 wins.
Of the 78 boys competing, 45 players are signed or verbally committed to play college golf. There are 11 sets of future college teammates in the field led by Auburn's four in Frankie Harris of Boca Raton, Florida; Cayden Pope of Lexington, Kentucky; Brendan Valdes of Orlando; and Evan Vo of Austin, Texas. Arizona State, Duke, Oklahoma, and Texas each have three, respectively.
Twenty-five players have previous Junior PLAYERS Championship experience.
Top Players to Watch
Kelly Chinn of Great Falls, Virginia, headlines the field at No. 1 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings. The 2019 Rolex Junior All-American won the 2019 Rolex Tournament of Champions to begin the 2020 season in November, followed by a runner-up finish at the Jones Cup Junior Invitational. The Duke University verbal commit finished sixth in two other 2020 tournaments including the AJGA Invitational at Sedgefield in June.
Luke Potter of Encinitas, California, enters the week No. 2 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings in search of his second AJGA Invitational victory of the year. The Arizona State University verbal commit is fresh off a historic August victory at the SCGA Amateur Championship, where he became the youngest champion (age 16) in the event’s history after a three-hole aggregate playoff. Potter also won the 2020 AJGA Simplify Boys Championship at Carlton Woods and set the 54-hole AJGA, and tournament, scoring record at 20-under-par 196. Potter is a two-time Rolex Junior All-American with a previous career win at 2018 AJGA Junior All-Star Invitational.
David Ford of Peachtree Corners, Georgia, comes to The Junior PLAYERS Championship at No. 3 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings. Ford is a three-time AJGA champion who earned his first AJGA major victory in June at the AJGA Invitational at Sedgefield. The Rolex Junior All-American is verbally committed to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has not finished outside the top nine in his last four AJGA starts.
Karl Vilips of (Australia) Land O’ Lake, Florida, is competing in The Junior PLAYERS Championship for a fifth time, the most appearances by a player in the tournament’s history. Of the 41 players who've teed it up three or more times at the AJGA's event at TPC Sawgrass, Vilips owns the best record: the four-time Rolex Junior All-American has never left Ponte Vedra outside the top nine. The Stanford signee enters his final AJGA tournament No. 4 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings. Vilips looks to cap off a storied junior golf career that includes two national junior golf victories and five total AJGA wins, including three Invitationals: 2016 KPMG Stacy Lewis Junior All-Star Invitational, 2017 Polo Golf Junior Classic, and 2018 AJGA Invitational at Sedgefield.
At No. 5 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings, Jackson Van Paris of Pinehurst, North Carolina, owns three AJGA career victories, including the 2017 AJGA Junior All-Star Invitational and 2019 AJGA Simplify Boys Championship at Carlton Woods. The three-time Rolex Junior All-American, current AJGA Board of Directors Player Representative and Vanderbilt University verbal commit won the 2020 Junior Invitational at Sage Valley in March.
The Junior PLAYERS Championship History
Since 2007, the top boys have traveled to Ponte Vedra in search of a signature victory. Past champions include:
- 2007 Morgan Hoffmann
- 2008 Evan Beck
- 2009 Bobby Wyatt
- 2010 Michael Johnson
- 2011 Gavin Hall
- 2012 Robby Shelton IV
- 2013 Austen Truslow
- 2014 Sam Horsfield
- 2015 Chun-an Yu
- 2016 Khavish Varadan
- 2017 Shuai Ming (Ben) Wong
- 2018 Travis Vick
- 2019 Jayden Schaper
TPC Sawgrass has hosted the iconic event each year except in 2016 (Sawgrass Country Club) during extensive renovations on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course. From 2011-2013, the first two rounds were played on Dye’s Valley with the final round on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course.
Now-PGA TOUR alum Morgan Hoffman won the inaugural Junior PLAYERS Championship in 2007. Hoffmann’s junior golf career featured five AJGA victories, including four Invitationals, and a selection as Rolex Junior All-American.
The lowest round in the history of the Junior PLAYERS Championship was set by Logan McCallister of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in the second round of the 2017 tournament at 9-under-par 63. McCallister ultimately tied for second after a three-hole aggregate playoff with Shuai Ming (Ben) Wong of (Hong Kong) The Woodlands, Texas, and Jake Beber-Frankel of Miami. Wong secured his first AJGA Invitational victory with a par on No. 18, the final playoff hole.
Gavin Hall of Pittsford, New York, set the low 36-hole total at 8-under-par 136 on his way to winning the 2011 tournament at 5-under-par 211.
The low 54-hole total of 8-under-par 208 at TPC Sawgrass was shared in 2018 by Travis Vick of Houston, Akshay Bhatia of Wake Forest, North Carolina, and Bo Jin of (China) Encinitas, California. The ensuing sudden-death playoff began on No. 18, where Jin chipped in for birdie and Vick buried a 12-footer to move on to No. 16. Jin found trouble off the tee, while Vick hit the fairway and two-putted for birdie and the win.
Graduation to THE PLAYERS Championship
The AJGA has a storied history of junior, amateur, college and professional success and The Junior PLAYERS Championship showcases an impressive list of 34 alumni who graduated to the PGA TOUR stage.
2019 Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year, and former AJGA Rolex Junior Player of the Year, Scottie Scheffler was one of seven new players to compete for the first time as professionals in the THE PLAYERS Championship this year. All 2020 participants in bold below.
|Ben An||Talor Gooch||Joaquin Niemann|
|Blayne Barber||Emiliano Grillo||C.T. Pan|
|Daniel Berger||Morgan Hoffmann||Patrick Rodgers|
|Lucas Bjerregaard||Beau Hossler||Scottie Scheffler|
|Dominic Bozzelli||Victor Hovland||Ollie Schniederjans|
|Sam Burns||Smylie Kaufman||Jordan Spieth|
|Patrick Cantlay||Michael Kim||Justin Thomas|
|Bud Cauley||Brooks Koepka||Peter Uihlein|
|Cameron Champ||Denny McCarthy||Richy Werenski|
|Wyndham Clark||Keith Mitchell||Matthew Wolff|
|Matthew Fitzpatrick||Collin Morikawa|
|Dylan Frittelli||Grayson Murray|
Since the tournament's inception, international players from every corner of the globe gather to test their skills against top players from the U.S.
In 2019, Jayden Schaper of South Africa, played in his third Junior PLAYERS Championship and won, becoming the fifth champion with international ties. The 2020 grad carried that momentum into the 2020 European Tour's South African Open where he finished T6 and became the first amateur to finish in the top-six since Ernie Els in 1989.