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Feng, 15, emerges on upside of swing changes

Julie Williams

REUNION, Fla. – In the past year, Simin Feng has been to rock bottom, but now – with a smile on her face – she’s working her way back.

Feng, 15, fell victim to a swing change last year, and hit her lowest point at the AJGA’s Thunderbird Invitational. Her final-round 103 caused heads to turn in the once junior-phenom’s direction. On the two-year anniversary of her AJGA breakthrough – she won the inaugural Annika Invitational in 2009 – Feng was itching for revenge.

“The only thing was that being so long time in the dip, I have to find myself more confidence coming back and stuff,” Feng said.

Such an exaggerated dip is unusual for Feng. Already in her career, she’s made two LPGA starts. During the latter of those, the 2009 Hana Bank Kolon Championship, Feng scored a second-round pairing with Lorena Ochoa. It amounted to a huge learning experience for Feng, who plays and practices out of Reunion Resort near Orlando, Fla.

Feng, who doesn’t even need to start thinking about college as she won’t graduate until 2013, describes the swing changes she underwent with coach Henry Reis as necessary for the overall health of her ...

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Spieth extended return invite to Byron Nelson

After a breakout performance last spring, Jordan Spieth has been invited back to play the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Championship. The event will be held May 26-29 at TPC Las Colinas, less than 30 minutes from Spieth’s home in Dallas.

Spieth, the No. 2-ranked junior in Golfweek’s rankings, tied for 16th last year in becoming the sixth-youngest player to make the cut at a PGA Tour event. He will play for the University of Texas in the fall.

Spieth, 17, remains one of the game’s rising stars, and earlier this week won the HP Boys Championship in Houston in his final AJGA start. The 2009 U.S. Junior champion recently lost in a playoff at the Jones Cup Invitational, and he is vying for a spot on the U.S. Walker Cup team.

Last year at the Nelson, Spieth shot rounds of 68-69 to make the cut, then moved within three strokes of the lead on the back nine Sunday before dropping into a share of 16th. A few weeks later, he missed the cut by one at the St. Jude Classic in Memphis.

Spieth is one of three juniors in the class of 2011 to ...

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5 Things: Boutier wins AJGA Annika Invite

Julie Williams

REUNION, Fla. – Never let it be said that the French don’t celebrate in style. After a hard-fought victory at the Annika Invitational on Monday, French national team member Celine Boutier was met by four shrieking teammates at the 18th who proceeded to chase her off the green and douse her with champagne, creating a scene not often observed at AJGA events.

Here are five more things you need to know about a down-to-the-wire final round at Reunion Resort’s Independence Course:

1.) Evolution of a lead

After Boutier dropped a 5-foot bogey putt on the 18th, her shoulders dropped and she became visibly relaxed. After entering the final round of the Annika with a four-shot lead, Boutier saw it dwindle through the first nine holes until it became necessary to don her rally cap at the turn. Her resulting two-shot victory over Doris Chen was anything but easy.

Boutier, who hails from Montrouge, France, missed back-to-back 5-footers for birdie at Nos. 1 and 2 to start her day, and allowed the field back into the tournament when she made four consecutive bogeys at Nos. 4-8. A player who wears her emotions on her sleeve, Boutier’s head went down ...

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Sorenstam gives junior clinic at Reunion

Golfweek Staff

Annika Sorenstam put on a junior golf clinic Saturday as part of the American Junior Golf Association's Annika Invitational at Reunion Resort. (Video by Tracy Wilcox)


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Junior Fantasy: HP Boys and Annika Invite

Golfweek Staff

The year's first AJGA Invitationals kick off this weekend and it's time to start the race for the Junior Fantasy Cup. Golfweek.com's Junior Fantasy Experts, Julie Williams, Ryan Lavner and D.J. Piehowski, will shed light on the junior golf circuit throughout the season.

This week, it's the HP Boys Championship at Carlton Woods and the Annika Invite at Reunion. Let's get started!

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.)


Junior diary: It looks to be a busy semester

Hally Leadbetter

Hi everyone!

Wow, I can’t believe 2011 is here and that I’m graduating soon! It is all going so fast. I just played two amateur tournaments, the Sally and the Dixie Am. I didn’t play so great in them but it was such a great experience playing four-day tournaments. One of the most amazing things about the Sally was that I was paired with Diana Schwab who played my mom in the finals of the 1977 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship. It was great to have the honor of playing with her.

Hally Leadbetter, 17, will file a diary every other week this fall as she finishes her final year at IMG Academies and maintains a busy tournament schedule.

Leadbetter, who had five top-5 finishes in FCWT events in the past year and four top-10 finishes in AJGA events, is bound for Arkansas in the fall. She is the daughter of golf instructor David Leadbetter.

I finished my semester exams finally, which was a little hectic because I was gone for the Sally, so I had to make them up when I returned.

My friends on the golf team in Arkansas were sledding today ...

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Photos: Golfweek West Coast Junior Invite

Golfweek Staff

In front of a picturesque backdrop, Michael Moorhead and Paige Lee claimed victories Sunday at the Golfweek West Coast Junior Invitational at Troon North in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Golfweek’s Jared Clemons was on-site to capture the stunning scenery at Troon North, which can be seen in the photo gallery at right.

Moorhead, who closed in 1-under 71, birdied his final two holes to win by two shots over Tyler Dunlap. Lee, who also closed with a 71, topped Lauren Salazar by a shot in the girls' division.

Moorhead attributed the win to a putting lesson he took recently with Sea Island's Mike Shannon.

“He got me working on some new drills and everything really clicked this week,” he said. “I really didn’t hit the ball that well this week, but my putting completely saved me. That can be such a big help.”


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2010 in review: Top 10 junior golf moments

Julie Williams

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.

•••

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 ...

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Miller takes bumpy road on GW Jr. Tour

Lance Ringler

At my age, I’ve learned it is possible to have a role model who has not even reached his teenage years. Jeffery Miller, 12, is a role model, and his recent actions prove what the great game of golf teaches.

We have heard the stories about how golf teaches integrity and builds character. Remember the headlines a couple seasons ago when professional golfer J.P. Hayes turned himself in for unknowingly playing a non-conforming golf ball in the second stage of PGA Tour Qualifying School? It cost him a chance to play full time on the PGA Tour.

And at the 2001 British Open, Ian Woosnam was very much in contention to win, but started the final round with 15 clubs in his bag, one more than allowed. Woosnam called the two-shot penalty on himself and went on to finish four shots behind champion David Duval.

This is the way it is supposed to be, right? Golf is a sport in which the players police themselves. Miller has learned that at a young age.

In November, Miller posted rounds of 75-79 to finish second at Golfweek’s Junior Tour Orange Tree Open in Scottsdale, Ariz. A runner-up finish more ...

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Junior diary: Signed and sealed as a Razorback

Hally Leadbetter

Hi guys!

So I have had two tournaments since I last wrote, but neither of them went very well. I guess that’s just the way golf goes sometimes. As long as you learn from your mistakes, you get better.

Today I had the IMG signing party! I am really excited to officially be an Arkansas Razorback. The team has been doing really well this year, winning two of its three tournaments, so that’s really exciting! At the commitment party, everyone from every sport who is signing early was honored, and it was streamed live on the school website for all the parents who could not attend, and so my coaches from Arkansas could tune in! We had 10 golfers sign early, including my fellow blogger Cheng-Tsung Pan who is going to Washington.

Hally Leadbetter, 17, will file a diary every other week this fall as she finishes her final year at IMG Academies and maintains a busy tournament schedule.

Leadbetter, who had five top-5 finishes in FCWT events in the past year and four top-10 finishes in AJGA events, is bound for Arkansas in the fall. She is the daughter of golf instructor David Leadbetter.

One of my ...

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First Tee forum shows ‘other side of golf’

Julie Williams

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – After a long weekend in the Orlando area, the future is looking decidedly brighter for Parker Davis – at least where golf is concerned.

Davis was one of the 50 First Tee representatives who spent three days at Walt Disney World Resort for the Future Leaders Forum. After a series of presentations on Nov. 12, the participants spent a sunny Florida Saturday roaming the grounds at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic, clad in matching red polos and hats that attracted smiles and nods from other patrons out to enjoy a day of golf.

“I’m one of the those guys that’s at the golf course every day, hanging out with everyone,” Davis said, explaining that he spends a large amount of that time around the superintendent, learning about the art of turf management. “I’ve been around golf since I was 4.”

After learning the ins and outs of the industry in what might be considered an immersion golf weekend courtesy of the First Tee, it’s a safe bet that Davis, out of the First Tee of Roanoke (Va.) Valley, won’t be breaking that habit any time soon.

“I didn’t realize how ...

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Junior diary: Ready for the next step

Cheng Tsung Pan

This week I want to share my thoughts about college with all of you. One year ago, most of my friends and some coaches did not know that I planned to go to college because they thought that my culture encouraged turning professional. They were generally right. Where I was born, young junior golfers do not see the importance of education. I used to be one of them; however, in recent years, I grew to see that attending college will be very beneficial to me.

Four years ago, I did not think of college as an option for my future. As a freshman in Taiwan, I only went to school for half the year because I was on our national team and I attended tournaments quite often. At that time, I thought I was going to be a professional golfer one day, and that that was my only choice in life. In order to pursue that goal, I nearly abandoned school so that I could concentrate entirely on golf.

Cheng-Tsung Pan, 18, will file a diary every other week this fall as he finishes his senior year of high school at IMG Academies.

Pan, bound for Washington next fall, earned ...

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2010 National Signing Day coverage

Golfweek Staff

To share a signing or signing photo with Golfweek, please e-mail D.J. Piehowski (boys) at dpiehowski@golfweek.com or Julie Williams (girls) at jwilliams@golfweek.com.


Follow live Signing Day tweets: @GolfweekLavner, @GolfweekDJ, or @GolfweekJules


• • • 

After years of deliberation, it's finally time for the 2011 graduates to sign their National Letters of Intent and officially decide where they will play college golf. Stay tuned to Golfweek.com as the list of commits grows throughout the week.

• • •


Click here for a complete list of boys signees




• • • 


Click here for a complete list of girls signees




Editor’s note: Here is a live chat with Golfweek’s experts on the first day of the early National Signing period:



2009 National Signing Week Coverage


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Even-tempered Kan prepares for Purdue career

Julie Williams

REUNION, Fla. – For those wondering what kind of player gets recruited by a national championship team, look no further than Aurora Kan. The petite player from Boothwyn, Pa., may be soft-spoken, but with a swing like a metronome, she’s hard to ignore.

Kan, who will join the Purdue roster next fall, cruised to a 5-over 77 Saturday at the Golfweek Junior Invitational at Reunion Resort, keeping her sunglasses on, her hat pulled low and her emotions in check as a swirling wind knocked many of her opponents off course. Kan repeatedly hit fairways and greens, and birdied her final two holes to climb the leaderboard.

In Kan's words, if there is any criticism of her game it's that she can sometimes psych herself up too much. Saturday at Reunion, she stayed calm despite a string of early bogeys. By her fourth hole, Kan had settled into a rhythm off the tee, and managed to get it up and down when she couldn't hit the greens.

“My driver is pretty consistent and usually my iron game is pretty consistent but that was off today,” she said. “I was able to get up and down on most of ...

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Dalke, 13, stands by early commitment to OU

REUNION, Fla. – A small crimson Oklahoma towel hangs from Brad Dalke’s golf bag, the lone sign of his future allegiance. It’s a stark contrast to the boldness with which he made the decision.

Three months ago, Dalke, of McKinney, Texas, ambitiously gave a verbal commitment to the Sooners – at the age of 12. Not surprisingly, the move elicited plenty of reaction, from whether a kid so unproven should make such a leap of faith, to whether it was a publicity stunt, to the ethics of college recruiting. All healthy debate, sure, but it overlooked one significant distinction:

This was no ordinary seventh-grader.

• • •

Brad Dalke is 5-8, 180 pounds, the son of a former Oklahoma linebacker. His wrists are too thick for a bracelet, his glove size an XL. He doesn’t play like a pre-teen, either, routinely hitting tee shots over 280 yards and displaying the kind of on-course discipline needed to handle the rigors of 36 holes on a championship-caliber layout. Perhaps more impressive is his demeanor – no sulking, feet-dragging or club-tossing, an embarrassing epidemic that, alas, has become increasingly prevalent among the junior ranks.

And yes, Dalke’s swing looks flawless, too, his angles are perfect ...

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Recent Blog Jr. Videos

Palmetto Championship: Final Round

After two rounds, the individual title at the Palmetto High School Championship came down to a playoff. Charlotte Country Day took the team title.

Palmetto Championship: Round 1

Players from some of the leading schools share their frustrations about the inclement weather at the Palmetto High School Championship.

18 holes with Katelyn Dambaugh

This Pinewood Prep sophomore is not intimidated by the male-dominated field. Golfweek.com follows the 2010 U.S. Girls' Junior runner-up through her qualifying round at the Palmetto High School Golf Championship.

Golfweek Junior Series at Longbow: Highlights

Longbow proved to be a challenge for some, but others stepped up their game in order to qualify for the Golfweek Junior Invitational.

Golfweek Jr: 18 Holes with Paige Spiranac

Paige Spiranac has already qualified for the Golfweek Junior Invitational, but says that taking on Longbow is a personal challenge.

18 holes with Trisha Witherby

Trisha Witherby is competing in the Golfweek Junior Series at Willbrook plantation. Golfweek.com followed the 2009 Indiana state champion throughout her opening round.

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