Junior Invitational at Sage Valley again attracts world’s top juniors

Garrett Barber during 2017 U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying at Jupiter Hills Club (Hills Course) in Tequesta, Fla. on Monday, June 5, 2017. (Copyright USGA/Scott A. Miller) USGA/Scott A. Miller

Junior Invitational at Sage Valley again attracts world’s top juniors

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Junior Invitational at Sage Valley again attracts world’s top juniors

Less than two weeks after Patrick Reed captured the green jacket by winning his first Masters at Augusta National, one of the top junior golfers in the world will slip on a gold jacket just east on Interstate 20 at Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, S.C.

The Junior Invitational at Sage Valley is commonly referred to as the Masters of junior golf – and for good reason. Winners of the event, which began in 2011, include current European Tour member Marcus Kinhult, two-time U.S. Open qualifier Scottie Scheffler and the world’s top-ranked amateur, Joaquin Niemann. And Justin Thomas, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Emiliano Grillo, Sam Burns, Doc Redman and Doug Ghim are among the past competitors.

The 54-player field for the April 19-21 event features six players ranked inside the top 100 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, including No. 15 Rayham Thomas of India, No. 50 Benjamin Jones of England and No. 56 Canon Claycomb of Bowling Green, Ky. In all, 19 countries are represented this year, including four for the first time: Peru (Julian Perico), Hong Kong (Ben Wong), Belgium (Adrien Dumont de Chassart) and Portugal (Pedro Lencart).

“It’s always the strongest field in junior golf, and as soon as we get on the grounds of Sage Valley it immediately feels special,” LSU signee Garrett Barber said. “It’s the Masters of junior golf, and Sage Valley always makes it a special bonding experience between players as well as caddies.”

The experience of the Junior Invitational goes beyond the golf. Players arrive as early as Sunday, and during the week they stay on site in one of Sage Valley’s cottages, which are stocked full of amenities and just a short walk to Sage Valley’s three lighted dormie holes. (The competition that goes on there at night is almost as highly contested as the actual tournament.)

Events each night include the Opening Dinner, which in the past has featured Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as speakers. Another highlight of the week is Nike Night, where Nike brings a surprise guest to spend the evening with the golfers. Past Nike Night guests include Tiger Woods (2016), Jason Day (2017) and Rory McIlroy (2015).

“For the Junior Invitational to be able to have truly the best players from around the globe descend upon Sage Valley for a week shows how incredible of an event it is and how much it means to guys,” said Oklahoma commit Turner Hosch, who is one of 41 first-time competitors in the Junior Invitational. “Just to have the opportunity to participate in it is an incredible achievement and experience that we will remember for the rest of our lives.”

Said Florida commit Joe Pagdin: “The best of the best are here from all around the world. To get to play in this event is such an honor, and Sage Valley is a place like nowhere else.” Gwk

Junior Invitational Field

Listed in order of World Amateur Golf Ranking

15. Rayhan Thomas, India
50. Benjamin Jones, England
56. Canon Claycomb, U.S.
76. Garrett Barber, U.S.
77. Matias Honkala, Finland
92. Eugene Hong, U.S.
103. Rasmus Hojgaard, Denmark
106. Karl Vilips, Australia
110. Trent Phillips, U.S.
112. William Mouw, U.S.
182. Akshay Bhatia, U.S.
184. Pedro Lencart Silva, Portugal
186. Travis Vick, U.S.
187. Julian Perico, Peru
189. Sean Maruyama, U.S.
198. Adrien Dumont de Chassart, Belgium
207. Andrea Romano, Italy
225. Ricky Castillo, U.S.
228. Joe Pagdin, England
234. Alejandro Aguilera Martin, Spain
237. Ludvig Aberg, Sweden
254. Ben Wong, Hong Kong
334. Charlie Strickland, England
338. Michael Thorbjornsen, U.S.
359. Joe Highsmith, U.S.
368. Pierre Pineau, France
395. Cole Ponich, U.S.
414. Jacob Bridgeman, U.S.
435. Jerry Ji, Netherlands
442. Robin Williams, U.S.
443. Jansen Smith, U.S.
456. Cameron Sisk, U.S.
474. Parker Coody, U.S.
478. Aden Ye, China
592. Logan McAllister, U.S.
601. Michael Sanders, U.S.
644. Kristoffer Max, Denmark
657. Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira, Argentina
691. Pierceson Coody, U.S.
727. Reid Davenport, U.S.
754. Prescott Butler, U.S.
795. Will Thomson, U.S.
802. Frankie Capan, U.S.
819. Ryan Hall, U.S.
844. Alexander Vogelsong, U.S.
868. Jake Beber-Frankel, U.S.
914. Ryan Burnett, U.S.
975. Turner Hosch, U.S.
1,690. Patrick Welch, U.S.
1,859. Tommy Kuhl, U.S.
1,911. Clay Merchent, U.S.
2,533. Brandon Cho, U.S.
2,939. Nicolas Cassidy, U.S.
4,231. Tom McKibbin, U.S.

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