Tiger Woods announces new TGR JR Invitational presented by TaylorMade, which will debut in October

The new event will debut in October and include qualifying rounds at The Hay, a TGR Design short course.

A new event is bound for the junior golf schedule this fall, and it’s one that players will have circled.

Tiger Woods announced the inaugural TGR JR Invitational presented by TaylorMade will debut October 8-10 at The Hay and The Links at Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach, California.

Sixty boy and girl junior golfers will compete over two days, with qualifying rounds on The Hay, a TGR Design short course. Championship matches will take place at The Links at Spanish Bay.

“I am excited to welcome a diverse field of young golfers to the TGR JR Invitational presented by TaylorMade,” Woods said via a release. “Hosting this event at The Hay at Pebble Beach is a perfect venue to showcase a fun and competitive atmosphere for a talented group of young golfers.”

You can apply now through August 21, 2022, at TGRJRInvitational.com.

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Wenyi Ding, 17, wins 74th U.S. Junior Amateur, becomes first male from China to win USGA championship

Ding is the first men’s player from China to win any USGA championship.

Wenyi Ding made history on Saturday.

After losing his first two holes during the 74th U.S. Junior Amateur at Bandon Dunes in Oregon, Ding played great en route to his 3-and-2 victory over Caleb Surratt to capture the championship.

Ding is the first male player from China to win any United States Golf Association championship, and he’s the second who made the final of the U.S. Junior Amateur, following Bo Jin in 2019. Ding is also the first international champion since Min Woo Lee in 2016.

With the victory, Ding earned an exemption into the 2023 U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club. He and Surratt, who will attend Tennessee in the fall, were both already exempt into next month’s U.S. Amateur.

Ding, 17, is committed to Arizona State and has one year left before his college career begins.

The duo came in as the highest ranked players in the World Amateur Golf Rankings competing in the championship (Surratt at No. 19 and Ding at No. 20), and the final match certainly lived up to the hype.

Surratt started the 36-hole championship match great, winning the first two holes to take an early advantage. Ding fought back, winning the fourth hole with a par and the seventh with a birdie to tie it. Then, he won three straight holes on Nos. 10-12 to go 3 up. Surratt stopped the bleeding with a birdie on the par-4 14th, but Ding responded, winning the 15th hole to go into the lunch break 3 up.

That’s when the rout started. Ding won five of the first 10 holes during the pair’s second 18, and Surratt didn’t win any. Ding’s lead reached 8 up with 8 to play after a great second shot into the par-4 10th settled just a couple feet from the hole, giving him an easy birdie.

Surratt wouldn’t go down without a fight. After taking a drop on the par-4 11th, Ding dropped the hole with his first bogey on the second half of the day. Surratt proceeded to birdie the par-3 12th and par-5 13th hole to make it 5 down with 5 to play.

Ding’s approach shot to the 14th hole nearly hit the flag stick and settled just behind the hole. Surratt one-upped Ding, his approach hitting the flag stick and deflecting off the pin just left of the hole. Ding conceded the putt, and his birdie lipped out, extending the match yet again.

On the par-3 15th hole, Surrat’s shot settled on the green while Ding wasn’t on after three shots, so Ding conceded the hole, making it 3 up with 3 to play.

On the par-4 16th, both players hit their tee shots pin high and left of the flag. Ding’s approach settled close to the hole, and Surratt’s was left. His birdie putt missed, and Ding closed with a par of his own to half the hole and clinch the match.

The only other players from China to win a USGA championship are Alice Jo at the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links and Lei Yi at the 2019 U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur.

Ding made 11 birdies and one eagle during the championship match. Surratt hadn’t trailed in match play until Saturday.

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Jack Cantlay, Patrick’s younger brother, sets USGA record at U.S. Junior Amateur at Bandon Dunes

The old record was set in 2014 and matched in 2018.

The Cantlays are pretty good at golf.

Patrick Cantlay is ranked fourth in the world and the reigning FedEx Cup champion. His youngest brother, Jack, is proving his worth, too.

During the first round of stroke play Monday at the 74th U.S. Junior Amateur at Bandon Dunes in Oregon, the 18-year-old set a United States Golf Association record for lowest nine-hole score, when he shot an 8-under 28 during his inward nine. The previous record of 29 was set by Eric Bae (2014) and Yuki Moriyama (2018).

Jack, who was four over after eight holes, had two eagles on his inward nine, which was the front. He made an eagle on both of the par 5s, the third and ninth holes. He birdied four other holes, Nos. 1, 4, 5 and 8.

“I think that’s the first time I have broken 30,” Jack said. “There’s a first time for everything, I guess. It’s just another round of golf, sometimes you play good and sometimes you play bad.

“Today I played good.”

Jack, an incoming freshman at Long Beach State, finished at 5-under 67 following his first round, one shot behind leaders Erich Fortlage and Harvey Young.

Jack plays his second round of stroke play Tuesday at Bandon Trails, the co-host for stroke play. The top 64 players following stroke play advance to match play, which begins Wednesday.

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15-year-old Yana Wilson wins 73rd U.S. Girls’ Junior at The Club at Olde Stone

The next generation of stars duked it out at The Club at Olde Stone in the U.S. Girls’ Junior.

Yana Wilson experienced first hand how the top-ranked amateur in the world handled herself last year.

During the 72nd U.S. Girls’ Junior at Columbia Country Club in Maryland, Wilson fell to then-No.1 amateur Rose Zhang in the match play quarterfinals. Wilson then stayed an extra day and watched Zhang capture the championship.

“I wanted to watch her in the finals,” Wilson said. “And I told myself I was going to win this thing (this year).”

It’s safe to say the motivation paid off.

Wilson captured the 73rd U.S. Girls’ Junior championship at The Club at Olde Stone in Bowling Green, Kentucky, on Saturday. The 15-year-old beat Gianna Clemente 3 and 2 in the 36-hole final.

“It’s amazing. I just really want to thank Rose for that because she taught me a lot last year,” said Wilson. “I’m just really happy to be here right now.”

Zhang, who captured the NCAA individual title as a freshman at Stanford this spring, showed Wilson what it took to win on the biggest stages.

And that’s what Wilson, a native of Henderson, Nevada, needed.

After the first 18 holes, Wilson led Clemente 1 up, but she proceeded to bogey three of four holes after a lunch break. Thanks to a birdie on the par-3 third hole to win it, Wilson and Clemente were tied after 22 holes. Clemente, a 14-year-old from Estero, Florida, birdied the par-4 fifth hole to take a 1 up lead, which she held for the next three holes.

Wilson proceeded to birdie the par-5 ninth hole, bringing the match to all square with nine holes to play. Wilson won the 10th after a Clemente bogey, then Wilson made birdie on the par-3 13th to go 2 up with five to play.

Both girls drove over the short par-4 14th, but neither were able to get up and down for birdie. On the 15th, Clemente lipped out a birdie putt while Wilson connected, going 3 up with three to play.

On the par-3 16th, Wilson’s tee shot came up short and right while Clemente’s trickled over the back of the green but closer to the pin. Wilson’s first putt settled a couple feet from the hole. Clemente hit a great putt, but it came up inches short of dropping for birdie to extend the match. Wilson sunk her short putt to win the United States Golf Association championship.

“I knew I was more of a back nine player, and I knew I would come back,” Wilson said of her slow start on the second 18 holes.

Both Wilson and Clemente have earned exemptions into next month’s U.S. Women’s Amateur at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington.

Clemente joked after the match she needed to work on her putting, but she said this week was a valuable learning experience.

“I beat some amazing players this week in stroke play and match play,” Clemente said. “I just didn’t make enough putts today and hit enough greens.”

For Wilson, she also earned an exemption into the 2023 U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links in California.

“Nothing has really sunken in yet, but that honestly sounds unreal,” Wilson said. “I’m so excited.”

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Conner Willett wins 114th Massachusetts Amateur five days after dad’s death

“I honestly don’t know how he was able to do what he did this week.”

CONCORD, Mass. — It felt like a movie. The entire week.

Five days after the unexpected death of his father, Conner Willett won the 114th Massachusetts Amateur Championship.

“I honestly don’t know how he was able to do what he did this week,” said Ethan Whitney, Willett’s caddie and friend. “It was absolutely incredible. The Lord works in mysterious ways I guess.”

With Willett up three in match play through 33 holes of play on Friday in the finals, all the 19-year-old had to do was tie the hole with 16-year-old Ryan Downes. Instead Willett hit a 10-foot birdie putt on 16 to clinch the match.

“I was hoping he made it but I was happy with him just lagging it up and tap it in for par,” Whitney said. “But that was the best way (for him) to finish off the match and finish off this win.”

In a final in which the combined age of the two participants was just 35 years old, at 19 years, seven months and 23 days old, Willett became the youngest winner of the Mass Amateur Championship since Jim Sallinetti won it in 1997 at 19 years, four months and 23 days old. He is also the second straight Wellesley native to win the tournament after Michael Thorbjornsen won it last year.

As emotional as it was to sink the final birdie putt on 16, Willett hit an even more improbable birdie putt on Thursday afternoon in the semifinals.

The Belmont Hill grad and Georgetown rising sophomore defeated Billy Argus of Canton (5 and 4) with a putt on hole No. 14 to advance to the finals.

“There were a couple of bounces (Thursday) where he just looked at me like, ‘Thanks Rick,'” Whitney said. “He’s definitely smiling up there for sure and is super proud of him.”

As the week went on, more and more blue ribbons with Willett’s father’s (Rick Willett) initials “RW” dotted the course at Concord Country Club.

2022 Massachusetts Amateur
At the 114th Mass Amateur Championship, blue ribbons were were worn on hats in memory of Conner Willett’s dad, Rick, who died unexpectedly July 10, 2022. (Photo: Art Illman/Daily News and Wicked Local)

“I asked him if he wanted to do anything,” Whitney said. “I threw up ribbons and he told me to get blue ribbons so I made like 50 of them and the family absolutely loved it and really appreciated it.

“The amount of support that this family has gotten from this community has been absolutely incredible. It meant the absolute world to them.”

Willett actually beat Whitney in match play Wednesday to advance to the quarterfinals.

“I knew with everything that has happened this week that if he beat me, I had to be there for him,” Whitney said.

According to Willett, they had  promised each other that whoever won, the other would caddie for them for the rest of the tournament.

“There is no one I would rather have caddying for me than Ethan,” Willett said. “He helped me so much this week.”

The whole week had been building up to one moment on Friday afternoon.

Willett was among the leaders tied for third, shooting a 69 on Monday and by the time match play came around, he was tied for eighth.

Willett almost didn’t make it past the first round of match play after getting pushed to a playoff by former Mass Amateur champion and St. John’s Prep grad Nick McLaughlin. Willett defeated McLaughlin on the 20th hole after the Virginia grad double-bogeyed on two.

Willett then defeated Whitney in the round of 16 to set up a match with Christian Emmerich in the quarterfinals Thursday morning. Willett defeated the Holy Cross rising sophomore 2 up to advance to the semifinals against Argus.

2022 Massachusetts Amateur
Conner Willett and runner-up Ryan Downes congratulate each other at the conclusion of the 114th Mass Amateur Championship at the Concord Country Club in Concord, Massachusetts. (Photo: Art Illman/Daily News and Wicked Local)

As emotions built each passing day, Willett remained focused on one thing: Playing golf.

“I wanted to be on the golf course as long as possible,” he said. “I didn’t really want to go home.”

And now he goes home as the Massachusetts Amateur Champion.

“It feels awesome, especially this week,” Willett said. “The timing of this is pretty awesome.

“It means a lot,” Willett added. “There was a lot of self belief. I always thought personally that I could do it and I did it this week. It was definitely a dream come true.”

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Carson Erick, Grace Huang win at the 2022 Golfweek New England Junior Open

After a 36-hole marathon on Wednesday, two champions were crowned after a highly entertaining final round on Thursday.

After a 36-hole marathon on Wednesday, two champions were crowned after a highly entertaining final round on Thursday.

Overnight leader Carson Erick held a two-shot lead heading into Thursday’s final round action. The Hingham, Massachusetts, native plodded his way around Ledgemont Country Club carefully.

Many among the top portion of the leaderboard fell to the wayside throughout the day, with one exception. Chad Correia began the day at 9 over, seven shots back of Erick and seemingly out of contention in a tie for 11th.

Just like Erick, Correia made the most of his moves to finish the day with a tournament-best 2-under 69. As the day progressed, Correia’s name climbed the leaderboard all the way to a solo second-place finish.

Sealing the championship with a birdie on 18, Erick lapped the field with a 54-hole total of 216, four shots clear of Correia. With the win, Erick has secured himself a spot in the year-end Golfweek International Junior Invitational in November.

Rounding out the podium was Sascha Robinson at eight over.

In the girls division, a match play type feel helped push the winner over the edge,

Grace Huang held a one-shot lead over Alexandria Pool after Wednesday’s first two rounds. With Pool being the lone challenger within a reasonable distance to Huang, the final pairing felt more like a match-play championship.

Dueling early, Pool carded a front nine 1-over 37 to Huang’s up and down 38. Tied with just nine holes to play, Pool felt the pressure.

With bogeys on six of the first seven holes on the back nine, Pool was unable to stop the bleeding. With the door open, Huang slammed it shut with a birdie on 17 to give herself a three-shot lead heading to 18.

Matching each other’s pars, Huang locked up her spot in the Golfweek International Junior Invitational,

Piper Jordan joined Huang and Pool on the podium with a solo third-place finish at +18.

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2022 Golfweek South West Junior: Anawin Pikulthong three-peats; Honorine Nobuta Ferry takes home title

Anawin Pikulthong and Honorine Nobuta Ferry won their divisions at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club.

MARICOPA, Ariz. — Two invites to the Golfweek International Junior Invitational were up for grabs as both boys and girls teed it up at the Golfweek South West Junior on Sunday at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club.

Heading into Sunday’s final round on the girls’ side it was Jennifer Seo and Honorine Nobuta Ferry who paced the field. Both at 3 under, it was Ferry who out lasted Seo in the 18 hole dual.

Ferry used three back nine birdies to propel herself to the win despite giving up nearly six years of experience to Seo.

Tied with Seo after bogeying two of her last three holes on the 14th tee, Ferry and Seo traded birdies before Ferry made an eight foot birdie putt on the par 5 16th to take a one shot lead.

Carding pars on Nos. 17 and 18, Ferry clinched the title despite being given “multiple heart attacks” by Seo.

With the win, the 12-year old from West Palm Beach, Florida, earned eight American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) performance stars as well as a coveted spot in November’s series finale, the  Golfweek International Junior Invitational.

The win could also kick start what Ferry hopes to be a Hall of Fame worthy golf career. We could be hearing plenty more of Ferry as her goal is to turn pro and win at least 5 majors before it’s all said and done.

Seo, Julia Herzberg (2 under), Natrada Pongsasin, and Raegan Capizzi (1 over) round out the top five.

ASU-commit wins boys division

On the boys’ side it was once again Anawin Pikulthong who took home the title.

Trailing by seven heading into the final round, Pikulthong, who plays for Hamilton High School in nearby Chandler, Arizona, and has committed to play college golf for the hometown Arizona State Sun Devils, relied on his previous experiences and some luck to close the gap.

“I didn’t play too well in the first round, but I found something on the range (last) night,” Pikulthong told Golfweek. “This morning came and I tested it out… I hit a couple of good shots in the first few holes and from then on I started to blend confidence and make some putts.”

Out in 3 under, Pikulthong kept that score until he eagled back-to-back par 4s. The par-4 14th was drivable for some in the field this week. Driving the green, Pikulthong nailed his eagle putt to move to 5 under. On the 430-yard par- 4 15th, Pikulthong holed out from 186 yards to make another jump towards his three-peat.

Bookmarking the deuces with birdies, Pikulthong went from 3 under to 8 under in a blink of an eye.

Closing it out with pars on 17 and 18, Pikulthong vaulted himself from fourth to first for his third straight victory in this event.

Finishing second is Alec Barker. His 4-under total would have been plenty clear of the field had it not been for Pikulthong’s back-nine heroics.

Rounding out the top five is 18 hole leader Ryan ‘O.T.’ Sefrioui (even par), Lyman Brackett (1 over), and Austin Plunkett (6 over).

Both Pikulthong and Ferry will be exempt into the season ending Golfweek International Junior Invitational in November. The next Golfweek junior event is the 2022 Golfweek New England Junior Open, July 13-14 at Ledgemont Country Club in Seekonk, Massachusetts.

If interested, sign your junior up here.

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2022 Golfweek South West Junior: Jennifer Seo, Honorine Nobuta Ferry co-lead girls; Ryan Sefrioui leads boys

Jennifer Seo and Honorine Nobuta Ferry co-lead the girls division while Ryan Sefrioui leads the boys.

Some of the nation’s best junior golfers take the stage for a 36-hole shootout at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club in Maricopa, Arizona, this weekend at the 2022 Golfweek South West Junior.

The event features a boys and girls division with the girls side vying for eight valuable America Junior Golf Association performance stars on top of an invite to the prestigious Golfweek International Junior Invitational in November.

The girls came to play as there were three rounds under par in Saturday’s first round. Jennifer Seo and Honorine Nobuta Ferry fired matching 3-under 69s to take a one stroke advantage on Annie Dawson (1 under).

Winning the 2021 Thunderbird Junior Classic and looking for her sixth career win, Seo has the experience over her playing partners as a member of the 2023 graduating class.

Chasing the leaders at even par are Julia Herzberg and Zoe Newell. Four more golfers are within five shots of the lead.

On the boys side, two-time defending champion Anawin Pikulthong opened with a 3-over 75, good for a spot at solo fourth.

Leading the way on the boys’ side is Ryan ‘O.T.’ Sefrioui. Carding a bogey-free 68, Sefrioui takes a four stroke lead over his next closest chaser, Alec Barker.

Rounding out the final grouping alongside Barker and Sefrioui is Lyman Brackett who posted a 1-over 73 in his opening round on Saturday.

With five golfers within eight shots of the lead, Sefrioui will have plenty of chasers with 18 holes separating him from the championship.

Augusta National champion Anna Davis plays the weekend in LPGA debut, gets taste of the future

Overall, Anna Davis’ take on her first LPGA event: “Really fun.”

Overall, Anna Davis’ take on her first LPGA event: “really fun.”

The 16-year-old high school sophomore from Spring Valley, California, left Georgia last month rather stunned that she’d won the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. A host of invites to LPGA events followed, including three majors.

Davis finished the second round of the Palos Verdes Championship in impressive fashion – eagle, birdie par – to play the weekend. A final-round 76, however, dropped her to 70th for the event.

“I didn’t play that well,” said Davis, when asked what she’d learned abut herself this week.. “Like, nothing about my game was really that great this week, but I would say just staying like – staying together just mentally.

“Like especially on the second day for sure, knowing that I had to do something and then getting it done to make the cut was nice.”

Davis called making the cut in her first LPGA event “a pretty good accomplishment.” The serious, more focused atmosphere of a professional event did not escape the young amateur.

Davis said she’ll be more prepared going into her next LPGA start at the Cognizant Founders Cup later this month. Also on the docket: the U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles, Amundi Evian Masters and AIG Women’s British Open at Muirfield. She’ll fill in other events around the majors.

“Super good experience,” said Davis of the week, “and it’s something I look forward to doing in my future.”

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Augusta National champion Anna Davis, 16, delivers eagle-birdie-par finish to make cut in LPGA debut

Davis, 16, reached the par-5 16th in two and made a 40-foot putt for eagle to vault up the leaderboard.

Anna Davis knew as she stepped onto the 16th tee at Palos Verdes that a change of strategy was in order. The 2022 Augusta National Women’s Amateur champion was 4 over for the tournament and two shots outside the cut line in her first LPGA start at the inaugural Palos Verdes Championship presented by Bank of America.

“I knew that I obviously had to make something happen to make the cut,” said Davis, who is playing on a sponsor exemption. “I knew that I had to be kind of aggressive going into the last few holes.”

Davis, 16, reached the par-5 16th in two and made a 40-foot putt for eagle to vault up the leaderboard.

“Like I knew it had to go in and I made it,” said Davis, “so that was cool.”

She then set out to play more conservatively on the last two holes but wound up with a bonus birdie on the 17th hole to give herself a cushion. Davis’ eagle-birdie-par finish over the last three holes put her in a share of 52nd for the tournament at 1 over. She shot 71-72 in her first two rounds on the LPGA.

Anna Davis hits a shot during the first round of the Palos Verdes Championship presented by Bank of America. (courtesy of LPGA)

Hannah Green holds a three-shot lead over the field at 9 under with No. 1 Jin Young Ko, Lydia Ko, Minjee Lee and Megan Khang in a four-way tie for second.

Davis’ chill vibe and signature bucket hat helped make her a popular champion at Augusta. The high school sophomore is currently ranked 47th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. Aside from last week’s Monday qualifier on the LPGA, this is her first competitive start since winning the ANWA.

Davis tees off at 9:20 a.m. local time alongside Xiyu Lin.

“It was my goal to make the cut so I’m glad that I could do that,” she said. “Yeah, it’ll be cool to play this weekend.”

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