Brought to you by:Brought to you buy CIG

Month: February 2018

JTNC Tour Ellie Mae Classic Qualifier at Poppy Ridge GC

Pairings | Alphabetical Pairings | Scoring

Player Information | Approximate Yardages

Standard Local Rules | JTNC Pace of Play Policy

Ryan Grauman of Alamo will get a chance to play with the pros.

Grauman, 18, earned a spot in this year’s Ellie Mae Classic by shooting a winning score of 4-under 68 in an 18-hole qualifier at Poppy Ridge GC.  He’d post six birdies with two bogeys.

Finishing second was Round Hill CC member Ryan Burnett at 70.

Last year, Colt McNealy, the younger brother of now pro Maverick McNealy, earned the Ellie Mae Classic ticket by shooting a 1-under 70 on the TPC Stonebrae course.

This year’s Ellie Mae Classic is slated for Aug. 9-12.

The Skill of Breaking Par

In our previous article, NCAA Handicap, we provided data on the tournament handicaps of the #1 players at DI, DII, NAIA and Junior College. In this article, we are going to talk about the importance of the skill of breaking par including providing data on the number of rounds under par by junior golfers and ways you can build the skill of breaking par.

In the last article we reported that the best player in the country Justin Suh of USC has a handicap of between +6-+7 in tournament golf over the fall. Likewise, last year I reported that there were over 900 rounds played under par by boys in AJGAs and over 700 rounds played under par by girls. In my own experience, playing with many elite junior players including Won Jun Lee, Karl Villips and Aiden Ye, it is common for them to shoot significantly under par at their home golf courses and often shoot between -3 to -7 on their home golf course during practice. What does this mean for a junior golfer and their family reading this article? Breaking par is a skill and like any other skill should be practiced. I would strongly recommend that tournament golfers play frequently from shorter tee boxes (as close as 5400 yards) with goals of shooting lower and lower. For example, a good junior tournament golfer might have the following goals:

  • Shoot 70 or better a lot from 6800 yards
  • Shoot 68 or better from 6400 yards
  • Shoot 65 or better from 6000 yards

These numbers should be tweaked slightly depending on the junior, their skill level and tournament experience.

Investing in breaking par is an important skill for junior golfers since men’s college coaches certainly seek players who have experience breaking par in tournaments. Also, it is likely that tournament golf will be 1-4 shots harder than playing your home golf course. If earning a college scholarship requires a scoring average of 75 or better, this means that the player might need to average as little as 71 on their home golf course!

Remember that, like any skill, shooting under par is going to take time. When working on the skill, players might want to start by segmenting rounds into smaller groups, maybe groups of 3 holes. Then try and have as many 3-hole scores under par per round as possible. As the player’s skill increases, they might make the segments bigger, for example 9 holes, until the player can accomplish their goal over 18 holes.

Please also remember that whenever possible, players should be playing at least 18 holes per day. Elite golf is about continuous steady play. Shooting outstanding scores over 54 holes requires not only great technical skill but also endurance, hydration, nutrition, focus, stress management and the ability to make birdies. In the summer, when juniors don’t have any academic responsibilities, it would not be impossible to play 36 holes or more of golf per day. As players improve skills, they should not be afraid to play other golfers of a similar level in competition. It would be ideal if the competition had a consequence; the loser may have to clean the winners clubs or if appropriate for a snack after the round.

I hope this article has been helpful to junior golfers and their families. In the coming months, along with the Northern California Golf Association, we hope to produce more statistically based information to help junior golfers and their families make informed decisions. Should you have any questions about the process or ideas for topics to be covered, please do not hesitate to let us know!

NCAA Handicap

Starting this year, I have partnered with the Northern California to provide junior golfers, their families and golf professionals more data about junior golf development and the college search process. For our first article, we are going to examine the question: How good are the #1 players at Division 1, Division 2, NAIA and Junior College Men’s Golf? With the help of Jim Cowan, director of course rating and handicapping for the Northern California Golf Association, I set out to examine the tournament handicaps of each of these players from their results in the 2017 fall season and answer this question!

According to, the best Division I golfer in the fall of 2017 was Justin Suh of the University of Southern California. Justin was the best player at any level with an adjusted scoring average of 68.5 for 12 rounds. The best player for Division II golf was Jacob Huizinga of the University of West Florida. For 12 rounds Jacob averaged 69.4. The best NAIA player was Rowan Lester from Texas Wesleyan University. For 11 rounds Rowan averaged 70.27. The best Junior College player was Mathias Lorentzen from McLennan CC. For 7 rounds Mathias averaged 69.71. After identifying the players, I build a spread sheet for each player with each of their rounds, the yardage and the course rating. Weather was not taken into consideration. Yardage was also based on the numbers listed on tournament results and may not be absolute, however they are close enough to provide a baseline.

Player Name Score Ratings Diff Course
Justin Suh 70 76.6/150 -5.0 Olympia Fields
69 76.6/150 -5.7 Olympia Fields
Ave Differential: -6.175 71 76.6/150 -4.2 Olympia Fields
Upper half: -7.35 67 76.0/134 -7.6 Trinity Forest
(6 of 12) 69 76.0/134 -5.9 Trinity Forest
67 76.0/134 -7.6 Trinity Forest
67 75.4/143 -6.6 Pumpkin Ridge
71 75.4/143 -3.5 Pumpkin Ridge
63 75.4/143 -9.8 Pumpkin Ridge
67 74.4/144 -5.8 Poppy Hills
66 74.4/144 -6.6 Poppy Hills
67 74.4/144 -5.8 Poppy Hills
Rowan Lester 69 74.1/137 -4.2 Hawks Creek
67 74.1/137 -5.9 Hawks Creek
Ave Differential:   -2.673 78 74.1/137 +3.2 Hawks Creek
Upper half: -4.4 69 72.7/137 -3.1 Salishan
(5 of 11) 67 72.7/137 -4.7 Salishan
69 72.7/137 -3.1 Salishan
71 72.4/142 -1.1 Straits Course
70 72.4/142 -1.9 Straits Course
73 74.5/136 -1.2 Guilardia
70 74.5/136 -3.7 Guilardia
70 74.5/136 -3.7 Guilardia




Jacob Huizinga

69 74.0/134 -4.2 Streamsong Blue
63 74.0/134 -9.3 Streamsong Blue
Ave Differential:   -3.608 70 74.0/134 -3.4 Streamsong Blue
Upper half: -5.5 68 74.6/147 -5.1 PGA Ntl – Champion
71 74.6/147 -2.7 PGA Ntl – Champion
71 74.6/147 -2.7 PGA Ntl – Champion
75 75.9/142 -0.7 Innisbrook – Copperhead
70 75.9/142 -4.7 Innisbrook – Copperhead
71 75.9/142 -3.9 Innisbrook – Copperhead
73 71.3/135 +1.4 Trump Ntl – Red Tiger
69 71.3/135 -1.9 Trump Ntl – Red Tiger
64 71.3/135 -6.1 Trump Ntl – Red Tiger
Mathias Lorentzen 68 70.2/118 -2.1 Andrews CC
70 70.2/118 -0.2 Andrews CC
Ave Differential:   -2.186 75 74.0/126 +0.1 Twin Rivers
Upper half: -4.233 66 74.0/126 -7.2 Twin Rivers
(3 of 7) 71 71.9/129 -0.8 Rawls Course
68 71.9/129 -3.4 Rawls Course
70 71.9/129 -1.7 Rawls Course

In the data we have listed both the average differential, as well as the upper half. The average differential is the handicap based on all the rounds the individual played in the fall. The upper half is their tournament handicap; it only considers a certain percentage of the best rounds.

When reviewing the data, please keep in mind that the yardages for the tournaments have not been verified and it is likely that they could have played a shorter distance at least one of the rounds. Weather was also not factored in or score vs field.

Regardless of these factor, this article highlights the skills of these tremendous young players, who are playing exceptional golf on difficult courses. In the follow up article, we are going to examine the importance of breaking par for the junior player, as well as highlight tips to help you!

I hope you have enjoyed the data. Should you have any questions, comments or ideas for future articles, please do not hesitate to contact me at Happy golfing.

Scroll to top