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Junior Blog: Practice round at Puerto Rico Open

Well, it’s really good to be back in Puerto Rico, and it’s incredible to be playing on the PGA Tour. From the moment I arrived at the course and walked into the locker room, the feeling was so different than anything I have ever experienced at a tournament before.

I’ve been working hard the last two weeks at the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy to prepare for this event knowing that it is not going to be technical preparation that will help me, but the ability to deal with the pressure of playing in this environment with great players such as Stewart Cink and Boo Weekley. My goals this week are to really enjoy the experience and to learn as much as I can about playing on the PGA Tour, as this is my ultimate dream and goal.

I had my practice round yesterday and had the opportunity to play with Joe Ogilvie. It was such a good experience, and I learned a lot watching him and his caddie, Chip, as they planned their way around the course. They were so friendly and helpful – it was awesome.

Although I have already played the course quite a bit for ...

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Junior Blog: Reflecting on Puerto Rico win

When I went to Puerto Rico at the beginning of the year to play in the AJGA Puerto Rico Junior Open, I knew there was a PGA Tour tournament exemption on the line for the winner, but didn’t really give it much thought.  

I had been working on my game for most of the fall and had been home to South Africa for Christmas where I just had fun playing golf with family and friends.

After the first round of the event, I found myself a few shots behind the leader, however.  I wanted to get myself in position to win, but I decided to just stick to my game plan and focus on the things I could control. It would be tempting to think about score, and the pressure of the high stakes could cause me to try too hard to win.

So I tried my best to play one shot at a time and stay concentrated and focused on each shot.

I was able to do some catching up after a 2-under 70 in the second round and found myself tied for the lead halfway though the final 18 holes. Before I knew it, I wound up ...

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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


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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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