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Polo Golf Junior Classic
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Polo Golf Junior Classic

Li and Leng Jr. prevail as Polo Golf Junior Classic Champions

Pair win 45th anniversary of longest running match play event
Li and Leng Jr holding Polo trophy with Polo Golf sign - 2023 - Polo Golf Junior Classic.jpg

Full Results

Farmingdale, NY - Katie Li of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, and Jay Leng Jr. of San Diego, California, win the 45th Polo Golf Junior Classic at Bethpage Black. Li and Leng Jr. join a historic list of past Polo Golf Junior Classic Champions including Tiger Woods, Stewart Cink, Trevor Immelman, Brian Harman, Morgan Hoffman, Matthew NeSmith, Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel, Ariya Jutanugarn and Sierra Brooks.

The field of 64 juniors, 32 boys and 32 girls, was comprised of 32 college commitments, 51 AJGA champions and 28 Rolex Junior All-Americans. The invitational featured seven boys and six girls ranked within the top-25 of the Rolex AJGA Rankings. Reigning Polo Golf Junior Classic champ Byungho Lee of (South Korea) Plano, Texas, came into this week as the top ranked boy at No. 4 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings and Alice Ziyi Zhao of Irvine, California, as the top ranked girl at No. 5 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings.

The Polo Golf Junior Classic returned to historic Bethpage State Park - Black Course for the events 45th year. The invitational has occurred annually since 1978 and is the second-longest standing AJGA event. Over the years, it has been held at prominent golf courses including Liberty National golf Club, PGA National Resort and Spa - Champion & Fazio Courses, Sea Island Golf Club, Innisbrook Resort and Echo Lake Country Club.

Li won 6&4 over over Nikki Oh of Torrance, California, in the Girls Division championship match. Li jumped out to an early lead of 1-up, but soon became tied and 1-down after 4 holes against Oh. Li took back the lead at No. 5 and never looked back winning every hole the rest of the front nine. She was 4-up heading to No. 11 when Oh secured a point bringing Li's lead back down to 3-up. Li bounced back at No. 12 and won three straight holes securing her win on No. 14 6&4.

I had that mindset of whatever happens, happens. I was nervous, but more relaxed than anything.
Katie Li, Girls Division Champion

Li advanced out of group play by earning two points in Pool B. In bracket play, she won her Quaterfinal match 4&3 over Michelle Woo of Fremont, California, and advanced to the finals in dominating fashion over Kylie Chong of Torrance, California, 8&7.

The 2023 Polo Golf Junior Classic marked Li's final AJGA event and her first AJGA Invitational win. This is the No. 6 ranked player in the Rolex AJGA Rankings first win since the 2021 K.J. Choi Foundation Junior Championship by SK Telecom. What's next for Li? She will be attending Duke University and joining the Blue Devils women's golf team in the fall.

The fact that it is my last AJGA pulls on a couple heartstrings, but nothing makes me happier than winning my first invitational. I am going out with a bang.
Katie Li, Girls Division Champion

Leng Jr. grabbed the lead early on in the finals at No. 2 over Jack Gilbert of Houston, Texas. Gilbert took over the lead after No. 5 to go 1-up. They were all tied up heading into No. 9 when Leng Jr. came back to go 2-up heading into No. 11. His lead remained the same until he hit a hole-in-one on No.14 to go 3-up. Leng Jr. stayed consistent and won 3&2 on No. 16.

My favorite moment was on hole No. 14 where I made a hole-in-one to go 3-up and close out the match. I thought it was going in the bunker and was surprised when it went in.
Jay Leng Jr., Boys Division Champion

Leng Jr. advanced to the elimination bracket by winning all three matches in Pool C. Then in his Quarterfinal matchup he had a close win of 2&1 over Kale Fontenot of Lafayette, Louisville, and advanced to the finals over University of Alabama commit Nicholas Gross of Downington, Pennsylvania, 3&1.

The No. 8 ranked player in the Rolex AJGA Rankings was a 2022 first-team Rolex Junior All-American. This is his second AJGA Invitational victory after winning the 2022 PING Invitational. He is verbally committed to Stanford University and is playing in the 2023 Wyndham Cup for #GoWest.

The Polo Golf Junior Classic is the only true match play format event on the AJGA schedule. All but two years of the 44-year history have been played as match play.

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About Bethpage State Park Golf Courses - Black Course

The 2023 Polo Golf Junior Classic at Bethpage Black marks the second time the second time the event is being played on a public course. The Black Course is rich in tradition having hosted three major championships, two FedEx Cup playoff events and the upcoming 2025 Ryder Cup.

The course which opened in 1936 as part of the Depression Era public-works project that build Bethpage State Park burst onto the scene in 2002 with its first hosting of the U.S. Open. It was this year that a young Tiger Woods, who won the Polo Golf Junior Classic in 1991, captured his second U.S. Open title. The Black Course again hosted the U.S. Open in 2009 where AJGA alumni Lucas Glover took home the title. The ‘extremely difficult course’ recommended ‘only for highly skilled golfers’ also hosted the 2012 and 2016 FedEx Cup playoff event, The Barclays. AJGA alumni Brooks Koepka won the 2019 PGA Championship when the course hosted its first major in ten years.

About Polo Ralph Lauren

Polo Ralph Lauren, a premium lifestyle brand, has been a partner for more than three decades. Since 1995, Polo Ralph Lauren has supported junior golfers who become the next generation of college graduates and business leaders. Every week through AJGA social and digital content, Polo Ralph Lauren celebrates the top performances of AJGA members worldwide, through Polo Ralph Lauren #InspiredPerformances  . Polo Ralph Lauren has hosted the Polo Golf Junior Classic, an Invitational dating back to 1978 and one of the longest-running events in AJGA history.