Staff picks for the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley
American to watch: Brad Dalke – What’s not to like about his game? He’s coming off a victory at the HP Boys Championship in February. He’s got the game for these big tournaments.
International to watch: Max Orrin – Last big junior win was here in the United State at the 2012 AJGA Thunderbird International. It’s almost been a full year since his victory and he’s poised for another win.
Winner: Cameron Champ – The Texas A&M commit and U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team member is looking for his breakout win. He has three top-10 finishes this season.
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American to watch: Doug Ghim – Don't count out the Arlington Heights, Ill., native. He finished T-10 a year ago at Sage Valley and although he has yet to breakthrough with a notable junior victory, he has a good track record in high-profile tournaments, including top 10s at last year's Ping and FootJoy invitationals.
International to watch: Matthew Fitzpatrick – He is the highest-ranked player in the field according to the World Amateur Golf Ranking, which ranks him at No. 12. He will play at Northwestern in the fall, and Wildcats head coach Pat Goss said Fitzpatrick is the most significant player they have signed since Luke Donald. That's saying something.
Winner: Robby Shelton – Shelton is the top-ranked junior in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings and has already proven he can win big tournaments – he won the Junior PGA and Junior Players championships in 2012. He finished T-2 in last year's Junior Invitational, and after recently signing with Alabama after a long decision process, Shelton should be more focused than ever.
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American to watch: Cameron Champ – The biggest challenge for the Junior Ryder Cupper will be keeping the ball in play. If he doesn’t get wild off the tee, which is what derailed his run at the Junior PGA Championship, he has an excellent chance at a gold jacket this week.
International to watch: Patrick Kelly – The young Englishman won the 2012 Junior Orange Bowl, and while fighting a string of maladies that included pink eye, nose bleeds and an ear infection. Give Kelly an extra glass of orange juice this week, and another victory on American soil should be cake.
Winner: Brad Dalke – The 15-year-old made victory at the AJGA’s HP Boys Championship at Carlton Woods look easy, which is likely because of Dalke’s ability to excel in pressure situations. A victory at Sage Valley would be another milestone in his career.
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American to watch: Cameron Champ - Some will say he is ready to break out, especially after a solid start to the 2013 season. He has played under pressure with the Junior Ryder Cup. The only question that remains is if he knows how to win. This week will provide a big test.
International to watch: Jose Montano - The native of Bolivia is a member of his home country's national team, has won on the IMG Junior Golf Tour this season and was fourth at the 2012 Junior Orange Bowl. He's a quiet kid, under the radar and could be something that you need to watch out for on Sunday.
Winner: Brad Dalke - The kid handles pressure and Sage Valley's tough layout will test every bit of his patience. Even though he is only 15, the kid has been focused since he committed to Oklahoma at the age of 12. He knows what he wants, and this week he wants that gold jacket.