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RLX Ralph Lauren Junior Classic
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RLX Ralph Lauren Junior Classic

Clara Ding and Pennson Badgett named champions at the #RLXJrClassic

Pair win 46th anniversary of longest running match play event
Clara Ding and Pennson Badgett with trophy and Warning sign - 2024 - RLX Ralph Lauren Junior Classic.JPG

Full Results

Farmingdale, NY - Clara Ding of White Rock, British Columbia, Canada, and Pennson Badgett of Pilot Mountain, North Carolina, win the 46th RLX Ralph Lauren Junior Classic at Bethpage Black. Ding and Badgett join a historic list of past RLX Ralph Lauren 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 29 college commitments, 54 AJGA champions and 29 Rolex Junior All-Americans. The invitational featured seven boys and six girls ranked within the top-25 of the Rolex AJGA Rankings. Wheaton Ennis of Litchfield Park, Arizona, who is currently ranked at No. 4 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings, entered as the No. 1 seed on the boys side while Jasmine Koo of Cerritos, California, who is ranked at No. 3 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings earned top seed honors in the girls division.

The RLX Ralph Lauren Junior Classic returned to historic Bethpage State Park - Black Course for the events 46th 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.

Ding was the youngest player in the field and won 3&2 over over Kinsley Ni of Los Angeles, California, in the Girls Division championship match. Ni earned a win on the first hole, but Ding caught up by winning No. 2 to take the match to all squared. Ding proceeded to win Nos. 3 and 5 to go 2-up in the match. She proceeded to win No. 8, but Ni closed the gap by winning No. 7 and No. 9. Ding made the turn 1-up. Ni found herself winless on the back nine and after wins on No. 13 and No. 14, Ding ended the match 3&2 on No. 16.

I was thinking that whatever happens today is just a bonus, I need to do the best I can and the result doesn't matter
Clara Ding, Girls Division Champion

Ding advanced to the elimination bracket by earning two points during pool play. She recorded victories of 4&3 during the quarterfinals and won the semifinals in 19 holes. Ranked at No. 70 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings, this is her first AJGA invitational win and her second AJGA victory overall.

The course is really tough...I was already playing really well but I was just trying to play even better
Clara Ding, Girls Division Champion

Badgett won 4&2 over Mason Howell of Thomasville, Georgia. Howell won the first hole of the day, but lost hole Nos. 6 and 9 to go one down at the turn. Badgett won four holes and lost one hole on the back nine on-route to an early ending on No. 16.

Winning this tournament is pretty special, I've had a lot of support back home. This is my first match play tournament so to come out on top is really special to me
Pennson Badgett, Boys Division Champion

Badgett claimed his spot in bracket play by winning group play. During the quarterfinals he stayed strong for 19 holes after playing against the number one seed, Wheaton Ennis. He advanced to the finals by winning 4&3. This is Badgett's third overall AJGA victory and his first AJGA invitational win.

The RLX Ralph Lauren Junior Classic is the only true match play format event on the AJGA schedule. All but two years of the 45-year history have been played as match play.

Social
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About Bethpage State Park Golf Courses - Black Course

The 2024 RLX Ralph Lauren Junior Classic at Bethpage Black marks the third 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 alumnus 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 RLX Ralph Lauren Junior Classic, an Invitational dating back to 1978 and one of the longest-running events in AJGA history.