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Month: August 2016

Challenge Cup

Pebble Beach, CA
January 3-4, 2017

**Live Scoring**

Singles Match Play Pairings

Four-Ball & Foursome Pairings


January 4, 2017

Junior Tour of Northern California

It was the North’s turn to relish a win.

A year after the PGA Southern California Junior Tour won the inaugural Challenge Cup, the Junior Tour of Northern California North squad got a taste of victory, defeating their counteraprts from the Southland, 15-9, following the conclusion of Wednesday’s Singles matches at par-71 Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach.

Having entered the finale holding a comfy 8-4 lead, the North squad maintained its four point cushion early on when three-time JTNC Girls’ Player of the Year Sabrina Iqbal and fellow sensation Yealimi Noh picked up wins of 5 and 4 and 7 and 6, respectively to offset a pair of South victories by Rose Zhang (6 and 4) and Amari Avery (1-up).

The following four Singles matches, which saw the Boys’ teeing off, also were split, with defending JTNC Boys’ Player of the Year Thomas Hutchison (4 and 3) and Jeremy Villafuerte (7 and 5) grabbing big wins. On the South side, Roy Choi won his match 3 and 2, while Ray Navis snared a 4 and 2 victory.

Junior Tour of Northern California

The North side put things away with wins in three of the final four matches: Brian Stark (1-up), Ryan Burnett (3 and 2) and Justin Gums (1-up).

While it was another day of fun for all, the North was also out to even the score.

“We wanted to win it this time,” said North team member Ashkaan Hakim, who split his Foursomes and Fourball matches on Tuesday. “We have fun but we also want to win. In the end, we’re all competitors.”

North team captain Aaron Hartesveldt said the event went well and is only growing in popularity. Wednesday’s action somehow managed to mostly stay dry. During both days of the Cup, there were also a number of college coaches, including some from UCLA, University of Oregon, Cal, Stanford and New Mexico State, watching the action with eyes on potential future talent.

“It was another great event, and we were able to avoid the weather. The North played really solid throughoput and played even better when it really counted,” Hartesveldt said. “We’re already looking forward to meeting our friends from the South team again in the next Cup.”

Junior Tour of Northern California

January 3, 2017


The cold and blustery weather at Poppy Hills Golf Course on Tuesday didn’t seem to bother any of the players. That can happen when they’re teeing it up in what has become the annual Challenge Cup.

A year after the South won the inaugural event, eight boys and four girls representing the Junior Tour of Northern California looked to even the score against their counterparts from the PGA Southern California Junior Tour.

In what could be called an All-Star clash of some of the best junior golfers in the Golden State, the North has the early advantage this time around, as the JTNC squad took an 8-4 lead following opening (9-hole) Foursomes and Fourball play. After the early morning Fourball matches, things were all knotted up at 3 points apiece. In the latter Foursomes matches, however, the North was dominant, winning five of the six matches. Among those getting big wins for the North were the tandem of Yealimi Noh/Sabrina Iqbal (4 and 3) and the team of Thomas Hutchison/Ryan Burnett (2-up).

As the players will tell you, the Challenge Cup has quickly become one of their most anticipated events, no matter if the temperatures feel like they’re in Minnesota. Why? For one, it’s a rare chance for the juniors to compete as a team. It’s also a rare opportunity for them to compete in match play.


“It’s my favorite event of the year. You get both team play and match play, and we don’t get to do that very often,” Burnett said. “I like match play more than stroke play. It’s more fun and interesting. In 9-hole match play, things are really up for grabs. Anything can happen. It makes it more fun.”

The changes from normal junior tournament play also has brought out some important spectators. A slew of college coaches, including some from UCLA, University of Oregon, Cal, Stanford and New Mexico State, watched the action with eyes toward the future.

“It’s unique because at this event we get to seem them in a team competition,” said UCLA assistant men’s coach Andrew Larkin.

“We look for tournaments with multiple players in this kind of environment, where they’re playing as a team,” said University of Oregon men’s head coach Casey Martin, who knows a thing about talent, having competed on the PGA Tour. “A lot of coaches from a lot schools made it here for a reason.”

Play in the second Challenge Cup continues Wednesday morning at Poppy Hills with Singles matches.

Photo Gallery


Lucy Li WIns 41st PGA Junior Championship

August 12, 2016

Redwood Shores resident and JTNC member Lucy Li claimed the title at the 41st annual PGA Junior Championship at Wannamoisett Country Club.

Li had a final round 2-under 69 to finish with a three-day total of 7-under 206, good enough for a two shot win over co-runner-ups Alyaa Abdulghany and Mariel Galdiano.

”I didn’t think I played all that good, but it was really windy today, and that made it tough,” Li said. ”I am used to playing the in the wind, so that might have been an advantage for me.”


Abdulghany, who won the 2015 CIF Girls’ State Championship at Poppy Hills with a then-record score of 2-under 69, came in at 208 after a final round 70. Galdiano, the third round leader. slipped to a final round 77.

In 2014 at the age of 11, Li became the youngest player to ever qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open.

Sabrina Iqbal of San Jose, who recently claimed her third straight JTNC Girls’ Player of the Year crown, finished T-8 at 212 after a 72.

In the Boys’ Championship, the best NorCal finish came from Brendon Hy, who came in T-13 at 283.

Thomas Hutchison, Sabrina Iqbal 2016 Players of Year

August 3, 2016

2016 Junior Tour of Northern California Players of the Year

Fellow San Jose residents and Pioneer High teammates Thomas Hutchison and Sabrina Iqbal Win Titles

2016 Boys’ Player of the Year

San Jose resident Thomas Hutchison knows all about 2011 Junior Tour Player of the Year Bryson DeChambeau. He also saw that two-time Player of the Year Justin Suh (2013, 2015) had played in this year’s U.S Open and that 2014 Player of the Year Joshua McCarthy had teed it up at the recent Tour Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae.

Now, Hutchison hopes his title also leads to bigger things.

A 16-year-old senior at Pioneer High in San Jose, Hutchison captured the 2015-2016 JTNC Boys’ Player of the Year title by finishing the season with 2,518 points. Finishing in second place at 2,103 was Alamo’s Ryan Grauman, while McCarthy, in his last season, was third at 1,991.


“Just to know that my name will be with those guys, it gives me a lot of confidence,” said Hutchison, who has already verbally committed to UC Davis.

Hutchison, who was introduced to the game by his father, David, and later honed his skills as a Santa Teresa Youth on Course member, tallied three JTNC wins during the season: Fall Series III, Spring Series V and Spring Series VI. The back-to-back Spring victories tied a JTNC record for most wins in a row held by six other players. The three victories tied the JTNC record for most wins in one season (held by four other players).

His biggest win came at July’s NCGA Junior Championship at Half Moon Bay GL, where he earned 650 points and joined his older sister, Samantha, as winners of the event. The two became the first siblings to win the championship in its 87-year-history. Other highlights were back-to-back second place finishes at the Summer Series III and IV Championships and a T-3 finish at the season-ending Tour Championship.

“I feel like I started playing better in the spring. It was just a matter of a lot of practice,” Hutchison said. “I’m already looking ahead to winning Player of the Year again.”

2016 Girls’ Player of the Year

San Jose resident Sabrina Iqbal had a few targets to aim at. For one, Iqbal, already the two-time defending JTNC Girls’ Player of the Year, knew that no player had ever won three titles in a row.

There was also the matter of catching former JTNC standout Casie Cathrea for most junior NorCal “major” wins—JTNC titles, CIF High School State Championship, California Women’s Amateur Championship Junior, NCGA Junior Girls’ and NCGA/CIF NorCal Championship.

The still only 15 year old Iqbal, a junior at Pioneer High, did both.

“I knew that no one had won three in a row,” said Iqbal, who tied Cathrea (2010, 2011, 2013) for most JTNC Girls’ Player of the Year titles. “That’s why I really wanted to win it again this year.”

Already verbally committed to Texas Christian University, Iqbal had yet another season to remember. She’d win her third straight crown with a whopping total of 5,003 points. Finishing in second place at 3,924 was San Ramon’s Yoonhee Kim. Third place went to Concord’s Yealimi Noh with 2,565 points.


In another dazzling performance, Iqbal captured four JTNC titles—Fall Series IX, Spring Series V, Summer Series IV and the Tour Championship. Other victories included the NCGA Junior Championship, the California Women’s Amateur Championship, the San Francisco City Women’s Amateur, the Sacramento County Women’s Championship and the CIF/NCGA NorCal High School Championship.

All of the wins moved Iqbal to a total of 21 NorCal “major” victories. Cathrea had been the all-time leader with 18.

During the season, Iqbal also had five runner-up finishes: JTNC Fall Series I, Fall Series III, Fall Series IV, Spring Series VII and Summer Series III.

“I feel like, whenever I’m having a good round, that I want to be at that level every time,” said Iqbal, who picked up the game from her father, Shaheen, a PGA teaching professional at Los Lagos GC and later honed her skills as a Santa Teresa Youth on Course member. “When I do play bad, I want to work on fixing things. There’s nothing else you can do.”



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