GRANITEVILLE, S.C. –– Danny Guise knows it will take a good short game to have success at Sage Valley.
But unlike a lot of junior golfers competing in this week's Junior Invitational, Guise will be taking a crack at Sage Valley's challenging greens with an anchored putter. Guise has been using a broomstick putter for about two years now.
"I've had it for a while," said Guise, a Wake Forest signee. "My coach gave it to me for a one- or two-week trial, just so that I could try and get a pendulum feel back. I started using it and I liked it, and then I played with it in a tournament and I just loved it, played really well with it, so why switch back?"
Guise said he's still messing around with short putters and belly putters without anchoring, but until a decision is made on anchoring, Guise will continue to use his long putter.
"I'll be fine," Guise said. "I don't know what they're going to do. If they ban it I'll have something else to do because I'm tinkering with other stuff."
Guise played the back nine on ...
Defending champion Zachary Olsen will begin his title defense when he tees off in the first round of the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley on Friday.
Olsen, an Oklahoma State signee, will play with Alabama signee Robby Shelton, Golfweek’s top-ranked junior, and England’s Patrick Kelly, who has won both the Fairhaven Trophy and the Carris Trophy.
Other notable pairings include the 11 a.m. group of Andrej Bevins, Tae Wan Lee and Jack Maguire. Lee and Maguire are ranked in the top 13 of the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings.
Also, a couple talented Matts will tee off at 10:30 a.m., as Matt Gilchrest and Matthew Fitzpatrick will play with Austen Truslow. The Cameron Champ-Austin Langdale-Max Orrin pairing at 11:10 a.m. should be a good one, too, as will the Max Greyserman-Ki Taek Lee-Sam Horsfield pairing at 11:30 a.m.
Here are the complete tee times and pairings for the first round of the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, S.C. (All times are local):
9 a.m.: Austin Connelly, Emil Sogaard, Danny Guise
9:10 a.m.: Nicolo Galletti, Carson Young, Carl Yuan
9:20 a.m.: Romain Langasque ...
GRANITEVILLE, S.C. – There are the 18 majors. There are the six green jackets. There is the title "greatest champion of all-time."
But Jack Nicklaus was willing to trade that all in for one thing: His family.
That message rang loud and clear Wednesday night, as the Golden Bear turned to Papa Bear as the guest speaker on Opening Night at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley.
"I look to golf as a game," Nicklaus told the hundreds gathered to celebrate the 54 players in this week's prestigious junior golf field. "I never wanted golf to dominate my life.
"Golf was my vehicle to make a living, but (wife Barbara and I) felt that our family was by far the most important thing.”
In a day when lip service is commonplace, Nicklaus continues to be a breath of fresh air, speaking with true emotion, conviction and offered his own lessons to help guide the impressionable minds in the room. But he is also determined to grow the game, using his success as a golfer and architect to help programs such as the First Tee blossom.
Speaking to a bevy of First Tee kids from the Augusta and Aiken areas ...
The Junior Invitational at Sage Valley isn’t like any other tournament.
On Wednesday night, the 54 players went to the Opening Ceremonies where they heard 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus answer questions and then came back to their residence for the week to play night golf.
Beside the picturesque 18 holes at Sage Valley, there are four dormie holes next to the course. For the tournament, they light up two of the holes for players to go play on. Robby Shelton, Doug Ghim, Nicolo Galletiti and Michael Pisciotta were just some of the juniors participating in the extracurricular activities.
“It’s unbelievable,” Pisciotta said. “Everything is really first class so far, so that’s really cool.”
First class indeed. Listening to Nicklaus speak was something these players will remember the rest of their lives. It was also a learning experience for some.
“He was very certain in what he was saying, very professional about it, and that’s something us players can learn quite a bit from," said Pisciotta.
“It’s a great experience being here. Everyone is really respected here, and were treated top-notch. I’m just glad to be here."
GRANITEVILLE, S.C. -- With the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley kicking off its pre-tournament festivities on Wednesday, we took a closer look at the top-ranked junior events in the country.
The following list is based on the Golfweek/Junior Rankings and is calculated based on the average power ranking for each player in the field. Tournament dates are from 2012:
- 1. 2012 Sage Valley Junior Invitational (April 20-22), 54 players
- 2. 2012 AJGA Thunderbird International Junior (May 26-28), 47 players
- 3. 2012 The PING Invitational (Oct. 6-8), 45 players
- 4. 2012 AJGA The Junior PLAYERS Championship (Aug. 31-Sept. 2), 77 players
- 5. 2012 AJGA Rolex Tournament Of Champions (June 25-28), 71 players
- 6. 2012 AJGA Polo Golf Junior Classic (Nov. 17-23), 77 players
- 7. 2012 AJGA FJ Invitational (June 12-15), 81 players
- 8. 2013 HP Boys Championship (Feb. 16-18), 71 players
- 9. 2012 Junior PGA Championship (July 31-Aug. 3), 78 players
- 10. 2012 Bobby Chapman Junior Invitational (Sept. 22-23), 79 players
- 11. 2012 Jones Cup Junior Invitational (Dec. 21-23), 84 players
- 12. 2012 Scott Robertson Memorial (May 18-20), 86 players
- 13. 2012 U.S. Junior Championship (July 16-21), 155 players
- 14. 2013 Carolinas Georgia Junior Championship (Jan. 20-21), 62 players ...
GRANITEVILLE, S.C. – No. 17 won’t disappoint this week. Playing as the No. 1 handicap hole at Sage Valley, it can cause some heartache coming down the stretch.
“It’s a good hole, especially if you have the lead or you’re in contention out there,” Sam Burns said.
The long par-4, which will easily play more than 490 yards, has been lengthened tremendously since the previous Junior Invitational. The tee box and the green have been pushed back, making the tee shot narrow and the second shot dangerous with the pond on the right.
Players say you can’t take this hole off before thinking about posting a number. Each shot must be thought out in order to walk away with par or better.
As Matthew Fitzpatrick explains, ‘With the bunkers in play and with it being so tight down the left, but I think if you get it off the tee, you shouldn’t have much of an issue.’
Fitzpatrick, No. 12 in the R&A World Amateur Golf Rankings, admitted that he thought there were more difficult holes out there, but that the putting surface and the undulation of the greens probably would cause him the ...
GRANITEVILLE, S.C. –– Robby Shelton has a huge weight off his shoulders.
It was a decision process that seemed to last forever, but Shelton finally decided on a college last Thursday. The Wilmer, Ala., native chose Alabama over Auburn, signing his national letter of intent with the Crimson Tide during the late signing period.
"The hardest part was telling one of them no," Shelton said Wednesday, two days before he tees off in the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley Golf Club.
Shelton said he ultimately chose Alabama because he felt like that was the best opportunity for him to become a better player.
"The team I'll be playing with, I'll get a lot better fighting for a spot in the lineup," Shelton said.
Shelton won the Junior PGA and Junior Players last year, wins that helped him become the top-ranked player in both the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings and the Polo Golf Junior Rankings. He recently was runner-up at the Terra Cotta Invitational in Naples, Fla.
"Robby is the best player in the country, and we are very excited to have him as part of our program," Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said last week.
Shelton's decision ...
GRANITEVILLE, S.C. –– Doug Ghim has found his college. Now he hopes to find a few victories on the junior circuit this year.
The Arlington Heights, Ill., native committed to Texas last month. He arrived at Sage Valley Golf Club this week with plenty of burnt orange and white, including Longhorns head covers.
“He’s excited,” Ghim’s father, Jeff Ghim, said. “He really feels that this could be his year.”
Ghim returns to the Junior Invitational after a T-10 finish last year. The high school junior plans to have a busy summer, too, including making trips to the FootJoy Invitational and U.S. Junior Amateur.
He didn’t play much during the winter: “There was even snow on the ground back home earlier this month,” Ghim said. So he worked on his swing instead, and he’s ready for that hard work to pay off this week in Graniteville.
Ghim’s last tournament was last month’s Goodman Networks Junior at Traditions, where he finished T-4. He also was T-24 at the HP Boys Championship in February. Those finishes come after a 2012 season that included top 10s at the Ping Invitational, FootJoy Invitational and U.S. Junior, and ...
GRANITEVILLE, S.C. -- Our junior golf crew has made its way to the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley and spent time Tuesday night debating on how the course would play a factor in this week's tournament.
The field of 54 is in for a stiff test -- a test that includes a 235-yard par-3, a new green location on the 17th hole and greens that will challenge the best of putters.
Here are three key questions to consider before play begins on Friday just north of Augusta, Ga.:
• • •
1. After studying Sage Valley's layout, which hole will be the toughest and why?
• Brentley Romine, Assistant editor: The 235-yard par-3 No. 7 hole is a monster. Sure, the green is a big one, but players must carry a valley in front of a raised green. For those coming in low, it will be tough to get out of this hole with par.
• Cassie Stein, Assistant editor: Coming down the stretch on Sunday afternoon, No. 17 could be a big factor, especially depending on where the hole location is. It’s the No. 1 handicap hole Sage Valley has to offer. They added length to 17 to incorporate the water on ...
American to watch: Brad Dalke – What’s not to like about his game? He’s coming off a victory at the HP Boys Championship in February. He’s got the game for these big tournaments.
International to watch: Max Orrin – Last big junior win was here in the United State at the 2012 AJGA Thunderbird International. It’s almost been a full year since his victory and he’s poised for another win.
Winner: Cameron Champ – The Texas A&M commit and U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team member is looking for his breakout win. He has three top-10 finishes this season.
• • •
American to watch: Doug Ghim – Don't count out the Arlington Heights, Ill., native. He finished T-10 a year ago at Sage Valley and although he has yet to breakthrough with a notable junior victory, he has a good track record in high-profile tournaments, including top 10s at last year's Ping and FootJoy invitationals.
International to watch: Matthew Fitzpatrick – He is the highest-ranked player in the field according to the World Amateur Golf Ranking, which ranks him at No. 12. He will play at Northwestern in the fall, and Wildcats head ...
Austin Connelly of Irving, Texas, won the Under Armour/Hunter Mahan Championship on April 21 at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas. He shot a pair of 3-under 69s to win by three shots over George Cunningham and Corbin Kasten.
Austin Connelly of Irving, Texas, shot two consecutive 69s at TPC Craig Ranch to win the AJGA’s Under Armour/Hunter Mahan Championship on April 21. George Cunningham and Corbin Kasten both shot 70-71 to finish second.
Connelly is No. 34 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings and No. 6 in the Class of 2016. He had just one bogey in the second round, at the second hole. He made birdies on Nos. 5, 7, 11 and 14. He was the co-leader after the first round.
“I hit a lot of greens and made a couple of dagger putts out there,” Connelly said. “It was especially nice to birdie No. 14 today after doubling it yesterday.”
Sierra Sims of Austin, Texas, shot a final-round 70 to win the girls’ title with a 3-under 141. It was her second consecutive win in the event. Sims, who started the day with a one-shot lead, made her first birdie of the day on the par-4 third hole. She added two more throughout the day, including No. 18.
“I didn't know whether I was leading or not,” said Sims, No. 23 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings. “So it was really nice to ...
Robby Shelton, the No. 1 player in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings, has chosen a college. Unlike most of the nation's top juniors, Shelton, who attends St. Paul's Episcopal School in Mobile, Ala., waited until the late signing period to make his selection official. He's headed to Alabama after signing a national letter of intent Thursday.
Shelton is No. 1 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Ranking and AJGA Polo Golf Rankings and a Rolex Junior All-American. He won the 2012 Junior PGA Championship and Junior Players Championship, and was member of the United States' Junior Ryder Cup team.
"Robby is the best player in the country, and we are very excited to have him as part of our program," Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. "The heart of our recruiting is the state of Alabama, and we are even more excited that he is a product of St. Paul's and the Mobile area."
Shelton was the runner-up at the 2013 Terra Cotta Invitational, the 2012 AJGA Polo Junior Golf Classic (73-69–142) and tied for second at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley.
Alabama previously signed Ireland's Gavin Moynihan, the 2012 Irish Amateur champion. Moynihan ...
The Sage Valley Junior Invitational is one of the marquee events on the junior golf calendar. It draws an exceptionally strong field, but there are still a few names outside the mainstream. With just over a week before the opening tee shot is struck, here are five players toutsideGolfweek’s top 50 to tuck into the back of your mind. Each is listed with his crowning achievements:
Derek Castillo, Yorba Linda, Calif.: Golfweek readers know Castillo as the champion of the 2012 Golfweek West Coast Junior Invitational. The 15-year-old shot 2-under 142 at PGA West’s Norman Course to achieve that victory. Castillo also won the AJGA’s ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior in 2012, played at the same club as the LPGA tour’s opening major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship. The next thing up for debate is whether Castillo’s game can travel east.
Jeremy Grab, Daniel Island, S.C.: Grab’s coming-out party happened at the 2011 Junior Azalea Championship. Grab qualified into the tournament early-week, took the first-round lead with a 67, then finished runner-up to Andrew Novak. He won the South Carolina Junior the following summer and has since signed with Wofford. Grab is a ...
Russell Henley wasn’t your typical junior player.
He played for his high school team, the Stratford Academy Eagles, in Macon, Ga., and played only a few American Junior Golf Association events. Henley limited most of his junior play to the Southeastern U.S.
“I was still playing basketball when I started to take golf seriously, so I played basketball throughout high school,” Henley said. “I enjoyed those tournaments more because I played in those tournaments with friends from high school.”
He didn’t have to play the flashy tournaments to make his childhood dream a reality.
Now in his rookie season, Henley is a winner on the PGA Tour.
He will be the Nike Night guest speaker at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley, which will be played April 26-28 at Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, S.C. He intends to talk about his experiences on the Web.com and PGA tours, but also discuss his unconventional route through junior golf to college at Georgia.
Henley had dreams of playing on tour, and even winning, but not necessarily to break through so early in his career.
“I definitely didn’t plan on it, having success this early, but ...
Recent Boys Junior Golf Videos
Our Lance Ringler and Julie Williams break down the Day 1 action at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley.
Our Lance Ringler and Julie Williams break down five key storylines prior to the start of the 2013 Junior Invitational at Sage Valley.
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the digs that the 54 players will have this week at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley.
We take a look back at the 2013 Palmetto High School Championship in Myrtle Beach and Sunset Beach, N.C.
Some kids talk a big game, but Brad Dalke backed up his profession of future love to Natalie Gulbis.
A look back at the 2012 Junior PGA at Sycamore Hills in Ft. Wayne, Ind.
Our Julie Williams breaks down the Junior PGA titles won by Robby Shelton (boys) and Ariya Jutanugarn (girls) at Sycamore Hills in Ft. Wayne, Ind.
Golfweek.com's Julie Williams breaks down the third day of competition at Sycamore Hills Country Club in Ft. Wayne, Ind.
Golfweek.com's Julie Williams breaks down the leaderboard at the 37th Junior PGA Championship in Ft. Wayne, Ind.
A highlight package from the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley, which saw Zachary Olsen cruise to a three-shot victory for his first major championship of his young career.
Golfweek.com senior writer Ryan Lavner gives you a Take 5 from the second round at the Junior Invitational.
We visit with a plethora of the world's best junior players to talk about why the Junior Invitational appeals to them.
Lance Ringler interviews Hunter Mahan at the Under Armour/Hunter Mahan Championship
After two rounds, the individual title at the Palmetto High School Championship came down to a playoff. Charlotte Country Day took the team title.
Players from some of the leading schools share their frustrations about the inclement weather at the Palmetto High School Championship.
Longbow proved to be a challenge for some, but others stepped up their game in order to qualify for the Golfweek Junior Invitational.
Austin Cody is competing in his fourth and final Palmetto High School Championship. Golfweek.com followed the Pinewood Prep senior throughout his opening round.
Cold rain and wind was the story of the day at the Golfweek Junior Series at Pine Needles. See how players weathered the storm.
Asher Wildman challenges the college-bound players at the Golfweek Junior Series at Longbow Country Club in Mesa, Ariz., to see if they're ready to take on the SATs.