30 Southern Cal juniors to take aim at Kraft start

Alison Lee won the Fresh and Easy-Kraft Foods Legacy Junior Challenge at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Lee earned the chance to play in the year's first major on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course.

Girls Rankings »

1Andrea Lee2016CA68.03
2Kristen Gillman2016TX68.53
3Bethany Wu2015CA68.85
4Angel Yin2017CA69.56
5Lauren Stephenson2015SC69.78

Nine spots in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the LPGA’s first major, already have been reserved for amateurs. One more will be filled by April 2.

The Southern California Golf Association is again hosting a qualifier for the top junior girls in SoCal, but this year the format will be slightly different. The Legends Junior Challenge will feature a field of 30 girls divided into 10 threesomes. A past Kraft champion will play in each group instead of an LPGA legend, as in last year’s event.

The junior player with the lowest 18-hole score on the Palmer Course at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, Calif., will earn a spot in the tournament proper, to be played April 4-7 on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course. For the team aspect of the event, each team will count the two lowest scores on each hole. The captain of the winning team will receive money to be donated to a charity of her choice.

Alison Lee, Golfweek's top-ranked junior girl, won last year’s event, named the Kraft Legacy Junior. Lee was one of the nine amateurs to receive sponsor exemptions earlier this spring.

Among the notables in the 30-player field are Esther Lee, a Duke signee who caddied for Alison (the two are not related) at last year’s Kraft; Gabriella Then, a USC commit; Alice Jeong, a semifinalist at the 2012 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links; and Angel Yin, a 14-year-old who impressed crowds at last year’s U.S. Women’s Open with her length off the tee.

Legends in the field include Amy Alcott, Jane Blalock, Pat Bradley, Donna Caponi, Betsy King, Patricia Meunier-Lebouc, Sandra Palmer, Dottie Pepper, Jo Ann Prentice and Kathy Whitworth. Whitworth will captain the U.S. Junior Solheim Cup team in August.

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