The (Junior) Stars Are Shining Bright In Texas
By Torleif Sorenson on 7/30/14

This week, 156 of the world's best junior golfers are at Miramont Country Club in Bryan, Texas for the 39th annual Junior PGA Championship. As usual, the boys' champion will receive the Jack Nicklaus Trophy, while the girls' champion will receive the Patty Berg Trophy...

...and an exemption into a PGA Tour and LPGA Tour event, respectively. Not a bad bonus prize!

Specifically, the boys' champion is automatically invited to the PGA Tour's 2015 Valero Texas Open. The girls' champion gets into the 2015 Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. This sort of extra reward is a first for the PGA of America, who successfully negotiated the arrangement for two years.

This is not unprecedented in junior golf; the winner of the AJGA's Puerto Rico Junior Open gets into the PGA Tour's Puerto Rico Open, while the Yani Tsng Invitational winner gets into the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.

Getting into the Junior PGA Championship is no cakewalk, either. The 78 boys and 78 girls in this week's field include the winners of all eight PGA Junior Series events, the champions from each of the 41 PGA sections around the nation, and winners of several selected junior tournaments. Other golfers who would not otherwise qualify were chosen from the Golfweek and Polo Rankings.

The talent at the Junior PGA Championship is undeniable; among the participants are Bailey Tardy of Norcross, Georgia and Megan Khang of Rockland, Massachusetts — both of who played in the U.S. Women's Open at Pinehurst last month. Also in the field is Cincinnati's Will Grimmer, who shot a 59 at the prestigious North & South Amateur Championship — and also played at the men's U.S. Open at Pinehurst.

The list of previous champions who have gone on to play on the big tours is too numerous to repeat here, but it is impressive. Strangely enough, however, neither Tiger Woods nor Phil Mickelson ever won it.

The Junior PGA Championship has a 54-hole cut for the low 30 boys and girls, including ties, of course.

If you are the parent, grandparent, or guardian of a kid who wants to get into some serious competition, you can read more about the PGA Junior Series here.

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Image via PGA Junior Series

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