Junior Fantasy picks: Ping Invitational
Only two events remain on the AJGA schedule, so it’s time to make a late-season push in the Junior Fantasy rankings. The penultimate tournament is the AJGA Ping Invitational, Oct. 9-11 at Karsten Creek Golf Course in Stillwater, Okla. Our Golfweek staffers make their picks:
Golfweek assistant editor Ryan Lavner previews the AJGA Ping Invitational.
JULIE WILLIAMS (225 points):
- Boys winner: Gavin Hall. This will be the week Hall breaks through with his first AJGA Invitational title. It would be a fantastic end to a summer that saw Hall break the U.S. Junior Amateur 18-hole scoring record (with a 10-under 62) and score an invite to the PGA Tour’s Turning Stone Championship.
- Girls winner: Doris Chen. After watching Chen breeze through the match-play bracket at the U.S. Girls’ Junior, I was left with just one word: flawless. She’ll enter the Ping fresh off a rock-star performance at the Junior Ryder Cup, which is never a bad thing for building confidence.
RYAN LAVNER (215 points):
- Boys winner: Jordan Spieth. Hard to believe Spieth, No. 3 in Golfweek’s Junior Rankings, hasn’t won a significant event since the 2009 U.S. Junior Amateur. The kid’s way too talented not to win this season, and a 3-0 record at last week’s Junior Ryder Cup was a sign of things to come.
- Girls winner: Victoria Tanco. Still the top-ranked girls player in the world, Tanco hasn’t won since the Annika Invitational in February. The time seems right for another triumph.
DAN MIROCHA (120 points)
- Boys winner: Jordan Spieth. The 2008 champion at Karsten Creek hasn’t posted an AJGA victory this season. That changes this week.
- Girls winner: Kristen Park. She’s won twice on the AJGA circuit this season, including a victory at the Rolex Tournament of Champions. This will be her fourth Ping Invitational appearance.
D.J. PIEHOWSKI (15 points)
- Boys winner: Gavin Hall. In three years, Hall, No. 6 in Golfweek’s Junior Rankings, has never finished outside the top 25 in an AJGA invitational, finishing T-3, T-7 and T-13 in three starts this year. After an outstanding summer that saw him put up a record-setting 62 at the U.S. Junior, make a run at the Porter Cup and make his first PGA Tour start, a win at the Ping Invite would be a great way to cap things off. Call it a hunch, but it is only a matter of time before the 16-year-old picks up his first win.
- Girls winner: Victoria Tanco. Not a clever pick here, but if you take a look at the scoreboard, I could use some points to salvage my season. When in doubt, trust the rankings, which Tanco has dominated for quite some time.
Scoring: Win (50 points), runner-up (30 points), top-5 (20 points), top-10 (10 points), top-20 (5 points). Zero points for anything outside the top 20. Bonus points when specified. (Only rule: You can’t pick the same player two consecutive weeks.)