The best junior golfers in the world are coming to Georgia. As is one of the premier junior golf events in the world coming to Reynolds Lake Oconee this summer when the Rolex Tournament of Champions will be played on the Great Waters course, June 28-July 1.
An invitation-only event on the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) schedule, the Rolex Tournament of Champions is a national event for boys and girls, ages 12-18. The field will be determined by the Polo Golf Rankings, a proprietary system that takes into account wins and top finishes in national events, and will include a number of Rolex Junior All-Americans, who are determined in October of each calendar year using the Polo Golf Rankings to honor the best 96 overall junior golfers and the Rolex Junior Player of the Year.
This is all part of many changes that are taking place at Reynolds Lake Oconee when it comes to golf.
“We have one of the finest (golf) fitting centers anywhere in the country and last year we decided to take that to a new level,” stated John Gunderson, President of Daniel Corporation and Reynolds Communities. “We have the best technicians, and can have your clubs built right onsite, but now we are also bringing the teaching and training aspect to that. We are looking at growth in game with all of our programs and will have a second building that will double the size, here at The Kingdom. We want to grow The Kingdom to worldwide recognition.”
The Rolex Tournament of Champions is an invitation-only event on the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) schedule, it is also a national event for boys and girls, ages 12-18. The field will be determined by the Polo Golf Rankings, a proprietary system that takes into account wins and top finishes in national events, and will include a number of Rolex Junior All-Americans, who are determined in October of each calendar year using the Polo Golf Rankings to honor the best 96 overall junior golfers and the Rolex Junior Player of the Year.
The 2015 Rolex Junior Players of the Year Hannah O’Sullivan of Chandler, Arizona, and Philip Barbaree of Shreveport, Louisiana, won the 2015 Rolex Tournament of Champions and set 72-hole scoring records on the Crosswater Course at Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Oregon. Barbaree posted a 24-under-par 264 in the Boys Division, while O’Sullivan finished at 14-under-par 274.
Begun in 1978, the Rolex Tournament of Champions is one of the two longest-running AJGA events. Past winners include Inbee Park, David Duval, Heather Farr, Charles Howell III, Morgan Pressel, Webb Simpson, two-time winner Beth Bauer, and three-time victor Phil Mickelson.
The Rolex Tournament of Champions is one of several significant events being hosted by Reynolds Lake Oconee in 2016. The annual Linger Longer Invitational, featuring an elite field of NCAA men’s golf teams, is set for March 21-22, while the local qualifier for the 2017 Drive, Chip and Putt National Championship is to be contested on Reynolds’ renowned Landing Course on June 9.
“Hosting the Rolex Tournament of Champions is a special honor for us,” said Mark Lammi, vice president of golf operations at Reynolds Lake Oconee. “It is another way we can enhance our commitment to engage young golfers. These are the best of the best on the AJGA schedule, stars of the future and the leaders of the next generation.”
PGA Tour professional and winner of the 2009 Open Championship, Stewart Cink, says AJGA events are great for so many different reasons.
“I got a lot of attention from college coaches, which was one of my big goals coming out of junior golf. It gave me the confidence to get out and compete at every level and the AJGA gave me a chance to go from local to regional to state events and then beyond that.”