2013 preview: 10 junior golf storylines to watch

Shannon Aubert had five top-5 finishes in AJGA events during the 2012 season.

Shannon Aubert had five top-5 finishes in AJGA events during the 2012 season.

Girls Rankings »

#NameYearStateRating
1Andrea Lee2016CA69.34
2Nicole Morales2014NY69.75
3Bethany Wu2015CA69.79
4Megan Khang2015MA69.94
5Lakareber Abe2014TX70.19

Boys Rankings »

#NameYearStateRating
1Scott Scheffler2014TX67.29
2Zecheng Dou2015CA67.78
3Andy Zhang2016FL68.36
4Brad Dalke2016OK68.49
5Austin Connelly2015TX68.51

In 2012, the likes of Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn on the girls side, not to mention Matt NeSmith on the boys side, provided plenty of fireworks.

Who will make a name for themselves over the next 365 days? Our Cassie Stein breaks down 10 storylines to watch heading into 2013:

• • •

GIRLS

1. Who will be the next girl’s junior superstar after the departure of the Thai super sisters, Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn?

There are a few girls vying for the elusive spot of No. 1. A few names to be thrown out there are Nicole Morales and Shannon Aubert, but there are some younger girls coming up the ranks, too, such as Samantha Wagner and Andrea Lee.

• • •

2. Who will make the Ping Junior Solheim Cup Team?

A Solheim Cup year also means a Ping Junior Solheim Cup will take place, too. It will be played Aug. 13-14 at the Inverness Golf Club in Denver, Colo., just prior to the professionals. Will the 2013 high school graduates be able to participate? If so, Team USA is stacked.

• • •

3. Where will Shannon Aubert give a verbal commitment?

With her solid play all throughout her junior career, all the big-time schools are after her at this point. It’s her decision now.

• • •

4. Will Alison Lee get another AJGA invitational win before she goes off to UCLA?

Tough task, but she will most likely have the Annika Invitational, Thunderbird International Junior, Rolex Tournament of Champions and Rolex Girls Junior Championship to pull it off. When she does win, again? It’ll be at the Annika or Thunderbird.

• • •

5. Can junior girls have an impact in the USGA amateur championships again this year?

It’s safe to say yes. In 2012, Kyung Kim won the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links and Lydia Ko won the U.S. Women’s Amateur (although can we even consider her a junior player? She won on the LPGA Tour for crying out loud), but still they dominated the field and then in match play. The runner-up in both championships were junior players as well, Ashlan Ramsey and Jaye Marie Green. This trend is likely to continue.

• • •

BOYS

6. Will any juniors make the 2013 Walker Cup team?

In 2011, Patrick Rodgers and Jordan Spieth were the two incoming freshmen to play for Team USA in the Walker Cup in Scotland. The only junior player invited to the practice session, which took place in December was Jim Liu. If Liu could win or show well at the U.S. Junior Amateur this summer and play well in other big junior and amateur tournaments, he could be on a short list for Captain Holtgrieve.

• • •

7. Where will Robby Shelton sign?

It’s between Alabama and Auburn for whom ever can land Golfweek’s No. 1-ranked junior.

• • •

8. How will Tianlang Guan play at the Masters?

Some say he won’t break 100. That’s a stretch. I just want to know if he’ll show up with his belly putter. His Masters debut will turn out like his Australian Open start, a high number the first day, and then a decent score the next, but resulting in a missed cut.

• • •

9. Who’s the next boy’s junior players to look out for?

Adam Wood (won the 2012 Polo Junior Golf Classic and was runner-up at the Junior PGA Championship), Cameron Champ and - you’ve heard his name since he gave a verbal commitment to Oklahoma at the age of 12 - Brad Dalke. Look for these players to have huge impact years.

• • •

10. Can anyone get two ‘major’ junior tournament wins?

This past year Matthew NeSmith won the AJGA’s FootJoy Invitational and Rolex Tournament of Champions, while Robby Shelton won the Junior Players and the Junior PGA Championship. One player comes to mind: Scott Scheffler. He fell short at the 2012 Polo Junior Classic and will be out looking for revenge in 2013.

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