2010 in review: Top 10 junior golf moments
Sunday, December 26, 2010
1. Jordan Spieth steals spotlight at the Byron Nelson: A week after playing in his high school state championship, the 16-year-old from Dallas made the cut in his PGA Tour debut, moved within three shots of the lead on the back nine Sunday, then faded to a tie for 16th.
2. Jim Liu tops Tiger’s record at the U.S. Junior: Liu, then 14, became the youngest winner of the U.S. Junior Amateur when he beat Justin Thomas, 4 and 2, at Egypt Valley in Ada, Mich. Liu has an opportunity this summer to become the first player in two decades to win multiple U.S. Junior titles (the last was Tiger Woods).
3. Bobby Wyatt shoots 57 in Alabama Boys Junior: In a summer of record-low scores, no one went lower than Wyatt, who shot 57 in the second round of the Alabama Boys State Junior Championship on his way to a six-shot victory and fourth Alabama Junior title.
Golfweek's junior golf experts break down the 2010 season and preview which players could make an impact in 2011.
4. U.S. claims Junior Ryder Cup in Scotland: Led by Jordan Spieth and Doris Chen, both of whom went undefeated at Gleneagles, the U.S. team captured their first Junior Ryder Cup on foreign soil since the event became official in 2002.
5. Emma Talley destroys AJGA record for scoring, margin of victory: With her sixth career AJGA title on the line, Talley shot 15-under 198 (67-66-65) at the Huntsville Junior to set the AJGA record for lowest 54-hole score (in the girls division) and largest margin of victory. Talley, who drew a conspicuous following of college coaches at the U.S. Girls’ Junior the following week, has verbally committed to Alabama for the fall of 2012.
6. Gavin Hall sets USGA 18-hole record at the U.S. Junior: Hall shattered the record for lowest 18-hole score in the U.S. Junior, shooting 62 in the second round of stroke-play qualifying at Egypt Valley. He wound up losing in the quarterfinals to the eventual champion, Jim Liu.
7. Spieth breaks AJGA record at Ping: Spieth turned in the most dominant performance ever in an AJGA invitational, winning the Ping Invite by a record nine shots. Remarkably, it was his first national junior victory in 15 months.
2010 in review: Top junior golfers
A look at the junior players who made 2010 arguably the most exciting season yet.
8. Vongphoumy wins record three straight AJGA titles: With 29 birdies in nine rounds, Juliet Vongphoumy won three straight AJGA events in a five-week stretch during the summer to tie the AJGA record. The 17-year-old maintained a 72.22 stroke average and a 14.7 average margin of victory for those rounds.
9. Jutanugarn sisters battle to top of junior rankings: Ariya Jutanugarn, 15, stormed onto the junior golf scene in 2009 when she beat Alexis Thompson at the U.S. Girls’ Junior. She vaulted to the top of the Golfweek Junior Rankings in 2010 after earning medalist honors at the Women’s Amateur Public Links and posting three top-10 finishes in AJGA invitationals. Older sister Moriya, 16, was medalist at the Polo Golf Junior Classic.
10. Kristen Park returns to form after three-year slump: After winning the 2007 U.S. Girls’ Junior as a 14-year-old, Park broke three years of relative silence in June by winning the Rolex Tournament of Champions. Park won again at the Ping Invitational in October, and the USC signee was named the Rolex Player of the Year.
Honorable mention: The last player in the field as a sixth alternate, Michael Johnson captured his first AJGA invitational in wire-to-wire fashion at the Junior Players at TPC Sawgrass. ... Patrick Cantlay, now a freshman at UCLA, was a semifinalist at the U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay, and Justin Thomas and Patrick Rodgers, both top-tier junior players, were in contention for medalist honors in stroke play at the Amateur. ... Jaye Marie Green, who qualified for the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open, finished last and didn’t contend in junior events the rest of the summer, found her game at PGA National and won the season-ending Polo Junior Classic. ... Flawless play carried Doris Chen to her first USGA title at the U.S. Girls’ Junior, and she returned two months later with an undefeated performance at the Junior Ryder Cup, leading the U.S. team to victory. ... Brad Dalke made a surprising announcement this summer when, at age 12, he gave a verbal commitment to play college golf at Oklahoma. He won’t graduate high school until 2016.