The Sage Valley Junior Invitational is one of the marquee events on the junior golf calendar. It draws an exceptionally strong field, but there are still a few names outside the mainstream. With just over a week before the opening tee shot is struck, here are five players toutsideGolfweek’s top 50 to tuck into the back of your mind. Each is listed with his crowning achievements:
Derek Castillo, Yorba Linda, Calif.: Golfweek readers know Castillo as the champion of the 2012 Golfweek West Coast Junior Invitational. The 15-year-old shot 2-under 142 at PGA West’s Norman Course to achieve that victory. Castillo also won the AJGA’s ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior in 2012, played at the same club as the LPGA tour’s opening major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship. The next thing up for debate is whether Castillo’s game can travel east.
Jeremy Grab, Daniel Island, S.C.: Grab’s coming-out party happened at the 2011 Junior Azalea Championship. Grab qualified into the tournament early-week, took the first-round lead with a 67, then finished runner-up to Andrew Novak. He won the South Carolina Junior the following summer and has since signed with Wofford. Grab is a true Southeastern talent.
Max Greyserman, Short Hills, N.J.: This Duke commit’s AJGA resume is lengthy, and it includes victory at the 2012 Golf Pride Junior, played at Mid-Pines Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C. Among other highlights from last year: third at the Ping Invitational, eighth at the Puerto Rico Junior Open and T-11 at the PGA Junior Championship. He was a Rolex second-team All-American in 2012, but his 2013 needs a spark.
Danny Guise, Greenwich, Conn.: The Doral-Publix Junior was a story of grinding for Guise. The 18-year-old, who will play for Wake Forest next year, opened with rounds of 71-74 on Doral’s Blue Monster, and entered the final round two shots off the lead. A final-round 70 left him two shots out of the title, but Guise’s success on the Monster bodes well for his chances at Sage Valley.
Dylan Wu, Medford, Ore.: Wu has verbally committed to Northwestern to play college golf, and his junior-golf resume is loaded with success in the northwest part of the country. Wu, 16, won the Oregon Junior Stroke Play title in 2012 and lost a close battle for the Pacific Northwest Junior in 2011.