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BREMERTON, Wash. – It’s cut day at the U.S. Junior Amateur, which means it’s the most important round of Zach Herr’s budding career. The 16-year-old is trying to make match play for the first time, and he’s ranked in the top 50 nationally, and the college coaches huddling behind every green here at Gold Mountain only make him more nervous and more excited and more prepared . . . and you can’t help but root for the kid whose heart is three fairways wide.
Never heard of Zachary Herr? His mother, Cyndie, was diagnosed with colon cancer in January 2007. He found out while driving home from a club-fitting session. A few weeks later, he already had planned ways to raise money for cancer research. He called it the “Zach Attacks Cancer Foundation.” He rallied the community in his hometown of New Hope, Pa. Yes, New Hope. You can’t make this stuff up.
Zach bought lime green Livestrong bracelets and sold them to his friends for $1. The first day, he sold 1,500 bracelets. “Pretty much the whole school had one,” he said. For the silent auction, the ...
When Mike Perpich is asked to describe Billy Kennerly’s golf game, the River Pines Golf Club instructor pauses, and then answers not with strengths and weaknesses, but through an anecdote.
“I ask all of my new students to fill out a form,” said the swing coach, who first worked with Kennerly in March 2004. “One of the questions is, ‘What are your objectives?’”
Billy’s answer was simple: “’I want to play college golf and professional golf.’”
It is an answer expected of any fifth grader who aspires to the “big leagues,” whether that be on a diamond, the gridiron, or in the case of Billy Kennerly, the golf course. Nobody, not even Mike Perpich, could have said for certain that Billy would achieve his lofty goals. What Mike did see in Billy, and what distinguishes the best from the rest, was an uncanny determination to learn, improve and compete. Now seven years since filling out that questionnaire, with a golf scholarship from Clemson University and an exemption into the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship, Billy’s dreams are looking more like his reality.
That Kennerly’s game is defined best by an attitude reflects the arc of his ...
The path to Jordan Spieth’s expected coronation at the U.S. Junior Amateur now has one less roadblock. Gavin Hall, the sweet-swinging left-hander and sixth-ranked junior in the country, told Golfweek that he will miss the upcoming national championship because of a lingering injury to his right wrist.
“It’s the worst,” said Hall, 16, from his home in Pittsford, N.Y. “There isn’t much time I can play up here; there’s a four-month window of really good weather. It just couldn’t have happened at a worse time. I’ve got to take the positives from it and see what I can do to try and have a good summer without golf.”
Hall’s absence from the U.S. Junior (July 18-23) is a damaging blow not only for the player but for the tournament, as well. Spieth, the 17-year-old from Dallas who for the past two years has contended at the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Championship, is the heavy favorite to win two weeks hence at Gold Mountain Golf Club, outside Seattle. Now, he has one less contender, and a good one at that.
It was Hall who, last year, at age 15, set ...
Brad Dalke and Jaye Marie Green highlight their respective 20-man teams at the upcoming Wyndham Cup, an East-versus-West mixed team match-play competition to be held July 25-28 at Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington, N.C.
The West team has won six straight matches, and will head into North Carolina relying on team members Dalke, 13, who earlier this year became the youngest AJGA invitational winner; Beau Hossler, 16, who qualified for this year’s U.S. Open; and Kristen Park, the USC signee who is the reigning AJGA Player of the Year. Another member of the West team, Alison Lee of Valencia, Calif., has plenty of match-play experience, having been a member of the 2009 Junior Solheim Cup and 2010 Junior Ryder Cup teams.
AJGA FootJoy Invitational winner Billy Kennerly, and last year’s AJGA Polo Junior winners, Cody Proveaux and Green, headline the East team. Mariah Stackhouse, who is playing this week’s U.S. Women’s Open in Colorado, will make her Wyndham Cup debut.
The three-day event will feature five match-play formats: four-ball, mixed four-ball, foursomes, mixed-foursomes and singles.
• • •
The team rosters:
West – Boys
Connor Black, Katy, Texas (2014)
Brad Dalke, McKinney, Texas (2016)
Nicolo Galletti ...
Emma Talley’s quest for a fourth consecutive AJGA victory was derailed this week thanks to a much more coveted invitation – one to next week’s U.S. Women’s Open at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Talley, 17, had flown to Sunriver, Ore., for this week’s AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions, one of the most elite junior events of the summer. Leading up to the week, she had won the past three AJGA events (Junior at the Quad Cities, Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Partners Junior and Franklin Junior), which tied the record for most consecutive wins in the girls’ division. She has nine career AJGA titles.
In other words this was an important tournament – especially considering the Alabama commit has yet to win an AJGA Invitational – until the call came from a USGA official, who advised Talley that she had received a spot in the Open after qualifying as an alternate out of the sectional held May 23 in Wilmette, Ill.
Granted, the Tournament of Champions and the Rolex don’t overlap, but had Talley decided to tee it up in Oregon then head south to Colorado Springs, she would have been logging five consecutive weeks of ...
Preparations for the U.S. Girls’ Junior at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club will continue as normal. That’s good news, after a line of storms tore through the Chicago area, uprooting trees and detaching roofs.
An official at Olympia Fields said the club suffered almost no impact from the storms and was east of the hardest-hit areas. Golf carts were sent out for Wednesday play, and more than 200 rounds were registered.
Suburbs north of Chicago were among the hardest-hit areas, and the Chicago Tribune reported that 288,000 customers were left without power because of the storms, which produced winds upward of 80 mph. Chicago O’Hare International Airport canceled more than 300 flights Tuesday night, and another 30 were canceled from Chicago Midway.
The National Weather Service did not confirm any tornadoes in the area, according to the Tribune.
The Girls’ Junior is scheduled for July 18-23, and will be contested on the South course. The USGA returns to Olympia Fields in 2015 for the U.S. Amateur.
When Kendall Prince couldn’t play golf, she dreamed about it.
“I literally played 18 holes in my dreams every night,” she said, adding that she’s better in real life than she is in slumber. The recent graduate of Lakeridge High School in Lake Oswego, Ore., is No. 25 in the Golfweek Junior Rankings.
An immune disease (most likely autoimmune hepatitis, but doctors couldn’t say for sure) took her away from golf for months.
At the end of an American Junior Golf Association tournament in August, Prince’s parents told her that she seemed tired. She put her clubs away and took a break. Then things got worse.
She started sleeping 20 hours a day and couldn’t even walk around her block. Tests revealed a sky-high enzyme count in her liver – her body was rejecting its own organ.
An antibiotic she was taking might have caused the reaction. She came off the medicine and rested for months, with doctors monitoring every shift.
Besides dreaming about golf, she spent her time in bed reading golf books – “Putting Out of Your Mind” and “Zen Golf” were her favorites.
In December, she felt strong enough to pick up her driver ...
History wasn’t going to repeat itself for Erynne Lee this year during U.S. Women’s Open qualifying. Last year, Lee earned her place among the most elite female golfers in the country by winning a playoff for a spot in the Women’s Open at Oakmont, only to find out minutes later that she had used two wedges that might have illegal grooves.
Lee had been under the impression that her pair of Ping Tour-W wedges were conforming when she entered the qualifier near Seattle. When tournament officials couldn’t find the clubs on the U.S. Golf Association’s conforming list, they were sent to USGA headquarters. Eventually, the wedges were deemed non-conforming, and Lee was unable to take the spot she had earned.
“The past is the past,” Lee said after qualifying for this year’s Women’s Open out of Industry Hills, Calif. “I still think about it here and then, but it didn’t really distract me. Before I came down to the qualifier, I made sure I checked my clubs. I made sure I talked to my parents and made sure they checked as well, just in case.”
Lee, of Silverdale, Wash., posted ...
Take a look at the list of past champions at any AJGA invitational. Odds are, many of them now enjoy a comfortable spot on the PGA Tour money list.
But even with the impressive number of child prodigies and academy standouts on those past champion lists, history was made this week at the Thunderbird International Junior, as Brad Dalke, 13, became the youngest AJGA invitational winner and the third-youngest winner in AJGA history. With a gutsy up-and-down for par on the final hole May 31, Dalke defeated Billy Kennerly and Jake Higginbottom by one shot at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
If Dalke’s name sounds familiar, here’s why: Last August, he made the college and junior golf worlds take a collective gasp when he gave a verbal commitment to Oklahoma at age 12. While opinions on the situation were understandably polarizing, Dalke’s family history made his decision to attend OU a foregone conclusion by the time he was old enough to point out Norman on a map. And after his biggest victory to date, he’s anything but regretting the commitment.
“There were some people who congratulated me and there were also some people criticizing me ...
After making birdie at the par-4 10th hole in the final round of last year’s HP Byron Nelson Championship, Jordan Spieth was within three shots of a Sunday PGA Tour lead.
Rather than moving slowly and taking in the experience, Spieth, 16 at the time, was focused on keeping the mood light.
“It was just completely unlike anything I’ve ever experienced,” Spieth said recently. “I think what stuck out the most was that I was really into it with my caddie. We were going back and forth, and I didn’t really understand how big the stage was until after.”
The gallery understood how big of a moment it was for the hometown kid, who grew up in Dallas. Jason Day, the tournament’s eventual champion, noticed how much attention Spieth received.
“I was walking to the fourth hole, and it looked like there was a thousand people following him,” Day told reporters after the tournament. “It took a little bit of pressure off my shoulders knowing that the good majority of the fans that were following me were close friends and family.”
Spieth struggled down the stretch on that Sunday, making two bogeys and a double in ...
Rumors started to circulate around the hallways of Gilmour Academy last year.
“Did you hear? Justin Bieber’s brother just moved to town!”
True, a 16-year-old kid named Bieber had moved to Shaker Heights, Ohio, but if there is any relation to the teenage pop star, Andrew Bieber is not aware of it.
“I get asked about (my name) a lot,” Bieber said, laughing. “It can be kind of fun at times. Sometimes, I’ll tell people he’s my cousin and that we drive around in his Range Rover together.”
Be it ambition or differing musical tastes, Bieber said he hopes to one day be known for the success of his golf career, rather than his last name. What better way to put himself on the nation’s radar than gaining a spot in one of golf’s biggest shows – the U.S. Open?
Bieber advanced out of U.S. Open local qualifying at Beechmont Country Club in Cleveland on May 10, shooting 1-under 70 and finishing second to Kent State junior Mackenzie Hughes, this year’s Mid-American Conference champion. Bieber will play his sectional June 6 at Oakmont Country Club in Glendale, Calif., for a chance to advance ...
OCEAN ISLE BEACH, N.C. – Two bunker adventures almost ruined Al Dickens’ shot at the biggest title of his young career. Instead, the high school senior gritted his teeth, shook the sand out of his shaggy blonde hair and donned his rally cap for a hard-fought victory at the Palmetto High School Championship.
Dickens, a senior at Charlotte (N.C.) Country Day, walked away with the individual title Saturday at the super-sized high school event. After cruising through the first 16 holes at Ocean Ridge Plantation’s Tiger’s Eye course in 2 under, Dickens hit a snag that nearly cost him the title. A bogey at the par-3 17th was followed by a sprayed drive at the par-4 finishing hole. His ball deep in a bunker on the right side of the fairway, Dickens was unable to get out on the first try. Two shots later, he found himself putting for bogey and what he thought was a tie for medalist. A miss left Dickens briefly disappointed, until he discovered minutes later that it instead left him tied with good friend Charles Spry, a senior at Forsyth High School (Lewiston, N.C.).
“If I ...
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – When it came to the leaderboard, Thursday’s qualifying round at the Palmetto High School Championship just served as a preview of things to come. The boys from Forestview High School, out of Gastonia, N.C., continued to chase the title that got away last year during Friday’s opening round at Legends Resort’s Parkland Course. Forestview, the low qualifier, holds a slim two-shot lead on Forsyth Country Day (Lewisville, N.C.), with Charlotte Country Day and Providence Day School (both out of Charlotte, N.C.) another shot back.
Looking at Friday’s weather map, it couldn’t have been much different than the previous day. Sunny skies were replaced with a cold, steady downpour as players fought to keep their clubs in their hands and their heads in the game. The enormous green blob covering the majority of South Carolina’s east coast finally moved out from on top of Legends Resort as the first groups were coming off the course.
“It’s been a tough spring with the wind and rain,” said Forestview High head coach Ken Beaty.
Forestview was able to count four sub-80 rounds, including ...
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Taylor Dickson has a rare combination of skill and demeanor that make him predestined for success on the course. Built like a linebacker, but with incredible balance for the amount of power he generates in his swing, Dickson displays a mechanically sound technique that immediately separates him from the field at the Palmetto High School Championship. To watch Dickson is the only way you’ll find out about his sheer talent, however. The 18-year-old would prefer to play first, talk later.
Overheard on the 16th tee at Barefoot Resort’s Love Course on Thursday was some meaningless banter between playing competitors that said a lot about Dickson’s character.
“Have you ever played this course?” one asked.
“Yeah, last year at this tournament,” Dickson answered, nonchalantly. End of story. Pull the driver, and put it in another zip code. What wasn’t mentioned on that tee box is the fact that Dickson is the defending champion this week at the Palmetto. Sure, he’d like to repeat, but it isn’t all-consuming. And it isn’t mentioned until after the round.
Dickson prevailed in a scorecard playoff at last year’s event, only after shooting a ...
I played my first round at the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open yesterday and shot 76. My goal was to enjoy this experience, and I can honestly say that I learned a lot and am looking forward to taking what I have learned into Round 2.
When I was warming up on the range, I was feeling pretty good and went through my regular warm-up routine. I got on the first tee and felt surprisingly calm. But I think I may have been a bit tense without even realizing it. With all my mental training at the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, I know that self awareness and being able to manage my tendencies is the key to being able to just go out and play my best golf, but it isn’t always that easy.
A bogey on No. 1 was not a great start, but I knew there was a lot of golf left to play. I hit a good drive on No. 3 and made a birdie putt to take it back to even. Some errors off the tee – probably due to tension in my swing from the pressure of my first PGA event – and a few ...
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