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JTNC’s Peter Kuest Youngest Winner of Alameda Commuters

Championship Results

April 24, 2016

Bryson DeChambeau isn’t the only player out of Clovis who’s making noise.

Peter Kuest, a senior at West Clovis High in DeChambeau’s hometown, capped a sensational showing at the 89th Alameda Commuters Championship Sunday at par-71 Chuck Corica Golf Complex (Earl Fry Course) in Alameda, posting a final round 73 to become the youngest event champion in history.

Kuest, who’s met DeChambeau, flirted with the record 72-hole championship total before coming in at 15-under 269. Jonathan De Los Reyes, a senior at St. Mary’s, tied the tournament record for low score (18-under) en route to cruising to a win in 2014. Former NorCal amateur great and current PGA Tour member Matt Bettencourt first set the mark in 2002.

While he didn’t tie or beat the record, Kuest, both a Youth on Course and Junior Tour of Northern California member, still walked away with an easy four stroke win over the field.

“It’s pretty sweet. I just made a lot of putts the first few rounds,” said Kuest, who did set a championship record with a 36-hole total of 13-under 129. “This is by far my biggest win so far. It means a lot.”

Junior Tour of Northern California

Going against a field full of collegiate players and some former champions such as Rick Reinsberg, it was Kuest who looked like the veteran. A third round 67 gave him a 10 stroke lead over the field entering the finale. It was the first time that Kuest had ever played at Chuck Corica.

“I knew it was a good tournament and would have a challenging field,” Kuest said. “Bryson (DeChambeau) a great role, especially the way he handles himself.”

The only big mistake that Kuest made over his four rounds was a four-putt double-bogey on the par-3 11th on Sunday. The error only dropped his lead heading down the stretch to seven shots.

Andrew Bonner, an Oregon grad who aims to turn pro in 2017, took second at 273 after a stellar 67. Joshua McCarthy, the 2014 JTNC Player of the Year and a friend of Kuest, finished third at 276 after a 69.

Junior Tour of Northern California

“Peter played phenomenal the whole tourney,” McCarthy said. “I wish him the best. I hope he keeps it up.”

Helping Kues, who’s headed to Brigham Young University in the fall, get around the course each day was his caddie and father, Peter Kuest, Sr.

“My back’s a little sore, and I even used a push cart, but Peter played great,” the elder Kuest said with a smile. “The putts just didn’t fall in today.”

The previous youngest Commuters champion was Doug Poole, who won in 1975 also at the age of 17. Kuest even had the edge there, beating Poole by a couple of months.

JTNC’s Ty Griggs a Champion at Augusta National

April 4, 2016

Makes final putt to win at the home of the Masters

Delivering on a clutch putt to win a title at Augusta National?

Manteca’s Ty Griggs has experienced it, and will never forget it.

On Sunday, Griggs, a member of Youth on Course and the Junior Tour of Northern California, sank a 15-footer at the home of the Masters to win the Boys’ 12-13 Division at the annual Drive, Chip and Putt Championships. The 13-year-old only had to have his final putt get within about half a foot for enough points to win the title. Instead, Griggs made it.

“I was shaking, I was nervous, I was emotional,” Griggs told The Golf Channel. “I thought I had to get it to about a half a foot, but that’s tough to do.”

The putt gave Griggs a total of 28 points in the Boys’ 12-13 Division. He’d beat runner-up Skyler Fox of Pennsylvania by a single point. Overall, Griggs tallied 10 points in driving, 9 in chipping and 9 in putting.

Griggs, who only began playing golf six years ago, has some golf history in his family. One of his distant relatives is Francis Ouimet, who famously won the 1913 U.S. Open.

“It’s really one of those magical places that you’ve always seen on TV, but you never end up,” said Griggs, who failed to qualify last year. “And here I am.”

Sofia Young of Benicia, also a member of the JTNC, finished 10th in the Girls’ 14-15 Division with four points. Jayden Lizama of Elk Grove, the only other NorCal competitor, finished 8th in the Boys’ 7-9 with 14 points.

Two JTNC Members Headed to Augusta National for Drive, Chip and Putt Finals

March 30, 2016

Two Junior Tour of Northern California members will tee it up at Augusta National Golf Club prior to the likes of Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy.

Sofia Young of Benicia and Ty Griggs of Manteca will be among 80 juniors who are set to compete in the third annual Drive, Chip and Putt Championship National Finals to be held Sunday, April 2, prior to the start of the Masters.

Young will be playing in the Girls’ 14-15 Division, while Griggs will compete in the Boys’ 12-13 Division. Also representing Northern California will be Jayden Lizama of Elk Grove, who ‘ll be part of the Boys’ 7-9 Division.

Junior Tour of Northern California

Sofia Young

A joint initiative by the Masters Tournament, the United States Golf Association and the PGA of America, the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship is a free nationwide junior competition focusing on the three fundamental skills employed in golf, tapping the creative and competitive spirit of girls and boys, ages 7-15.

Junior Tour of Northern California

Ty Griggs

All championship scoring at the local, sub-regional and regional qualifiers is based on a 25-point-per-shot basis, with each participant taking three shots per skill. Each participant accumulated points per shot in all three skills (maximum of 75 points per skill = 25 points per shot x 3). The overall champion in each age category was determined by the participant with the most points accumulated between all three skills (maximum of 225 points = 75 points per skill x 3).

For each skill, the point system is based in incremental distance measurements, rewarding accuracy and distance in the drive skill, and proximity for chipping and putting skills. Difficulty increases with age.

At Augusta National, one champion will be named from each age/gender division. Each final will be scored based on a 30-point system, offering the player with the longest drive 10 points, the player with the closest cumulative chips 10 points and the player with the nearest cumulative putts 10 points, in each separate skill. The highest total composite score will determine the winner.

JTNC Alums Bryson DeChambeau, Maverick McNealy and The King

 

Stanford junior Maverick McNealy simply described it as “awesome.” Bryson DeChambeau, meanwhile, called it “a thrill.”

That included not only the golf, but also being around The King.

McNealy, who won last year’s NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship, and DeChambeau, who hails from Clovis, had a weekend to remember playing at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Playing in the same group with Rory McIlroy, DeChambeau carded a final 6-under 66 to finish T-27. In a little less than three weeks, the 22-year-old 2015 U.S. Amateur champion will play in his first Masters.

Bryson DeChambeau Rory McIlroy

 

“I was pretty darn comfortable out there,” said DeChambeau, the 2011 Junior Tour of Northern California Boys’ Player of the Year. “My first time on the Tour (at the FedEx Cup St. Jude Classic) it was a little nerve-wracking. Rory and I were feeding off of each other. It was great to get that experience. You could see what momentum is. We had a lot of fun out there.”

Also playing via a sponsor’s exemption, the 20-year-old McNealy soaked it up every minute as well.

“I think the biggest thing I need to improve is my driving,” said McNealy, who T-46 thanks in part to an opening 69. “That sets up every shot and it’s incredible how much more difficult it is to play out of the rough on the PGA Tour than it is versus the rough in college. It takes really, really good golf to compete with these guys.”

Of course, the two also got to spend some precious time with The King.

DeChambeau, who plans to turn pro after the Masters, had previously met Palmer briefly at the Walker Cup practice session with Captain ‘Spider’ Miller and the rest of the squad. This time, he got to visit with Palmer in his office.

“That’s a moment I’ll never forget,” DeChambeau said.

Also a former member of the JTNC, McNealy was followed by Palmer over the back-nine on Thursday.

“Playing the back-nine at the Arnold Palmer Invitational with Mr. Palmer watching was the coolest golf experience in my life,” McNealy said. “This is something I’m going to tell my kids and grandkids about.”

Jerry Stewart

JTNC Alum Hannah O’Sullivan Named to Curtis Cup

NCGA member and former Junior Tour of Northern California member Hannah O’Sullivan will be representing the Stars and Stripes at this year’s Curtis Cup.

Recently, O’Sullivan, who lives in Arizona but is a member at the Olympic Club, was among eight players named by the USGA to the 2016 USA Curtis Cup team. Th championship will be held June 10-12 at Dun Laoghaire Golf Club in Enniskerry, Ireland outside Dublin.

Currently the No.2 ranked women’s amateur in the world, O’Sullivan won the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur by a 3-and-2 margin over Brooks at Portland (Ore.) Golf Club. Earlier in the year, she won the Symetra Tour’s Gateway Classic, becoming the tour’s first amateur winner since Kellee Booth in 1999 and the youngest since Cristie Kerr in 1995.

Junior Tour of Northern California Hannah O'Sullivan

Hannah O’Sullivan with the hardware from last year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur.

Set to become a freshman at USC this fall, O’Sullivan also earned victories in the 2015 Rolex Girls Junior Championship and 2015 Rolex Tournament of Champions. She’d partner with Robynn Ree to finish runner-up to Liu and Rinko Mitsunaga in the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball at Bandon Dunes, and she finished tied for 53rd in the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open at Lancaster (Pa.) Country Club.

Joining O’Sullivan on the USA squad will be:

  • Sierra Brooks, 17, of Sorrento, Fla.
  • Mariel Galdiano, 17, of Pearl City, Hawaii
  • Andrea Lee, 17, of Hermosa Beach, Calif.
  • Mika Liu, 17, of Beverly Hills, Calif.
  • Hannah O’Sullivan, 17, of Chandler, Ariz.
  • Bailey Tardy, 19, of Peachtree Corners, Ga.
  • Monica Vaughn, 21, of Reedsport, Ore.
  • Bethany Wu, 19, of Diamond Bar, Calif.

The Curtis Cup Match is a biennial international women’s amateur golf competition between eight-player teams from the United States of America and Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I). It consists of six foursomes (alternate-shot) matches, six four-ball matches and eight singles matches over three days of competition.

Robin Burke, the 1997 U.S. Women’s Amateur runner-up and a member of the victorious 1998 USA Curtis Cup Team, will serve as USA captain.

 

JTNC Has Been Force at First Tee Open

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Don’t be surprised if a player from the Junior Tour of Northern California is in the mix come this weekend’s Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach and Poppy Hills.

The last few years, the JTNC has been a force at the First Tee Open.

At the 2011 tournament, then-JTNC member Casie Cathrea won the Pro-Junior portion of the First Tee Open playing with Ben Crenshaw. Two years later at the 2013 First Tee Open, then-JTNC member Michelle Xie of Palo Alto won the Pro-Junior with professional partner Kirk Triplett.
That is, until The First Tee of Tucson member Christopher Meyers pulled off one of the greatest shots on the historic 18th hole at Pebble Beach—a double-eagle from 203 yards out—to give him and pro partner Lee Janzen the victory.At last year’s First Tee Open, meanwhile, JTNC member Joshua McCarthy and pro partner Peter Senior looked to have the Pro-Junior title sewn up.

Prior to Meyers’ miracle, McCarthy was already in the clubhouse with a day-low 64 that had pushed him and Senior to a total of 20-under 195. The tandem of fellow JTNC member Katie Horsford and pro Steve Elkington were also in at 195, but McCarthy would’ve won the tiebreaker due to having the lower round.

As for Meyers and Janzen, if they had come in at 195, they’d also have lost the tiebreaker, giving McCarthy and the JTNC back-to-back Pro-Junior titles.

With Meyers’ shot, the matter was settled. He and Janzen won the title with a total of 193.

“I was just stunned,” Meyers said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

While the JTNC’s bid for two wins in a row came up short, the Tour still had a fantastic showing. Nine out of the 13 JTNC members who played in the Pro-Junior made the cut.

This weekend, another 13 JTNC members—in this case, call them the Lucky 13— will have a shot at winning at Pebble Beach.
Considering how things have gone recently, one of the 13 will be in the title hunt on Sunday:

  • Daniel Connolly (exemption, San Francisco)
  • Jack Avrit (The First Tee of Central Coast, Arroyo Grande)
  • Noor Ahmed (The First Tee of Greater Sacramento, Folsom)
  • Austin Fox (The First Tee of Greater Sacramento, Folsom)
  • David Laskin (The First Tee of Greater Sacramento, Elk Grove)
  • Drake Mendenhall (The First Tee of Greater Sacramento, Granite Bay)
  • Nicole Schroeder (The First Tee of Greater Sacramento, Rocklin)
  • Clare Brady (The First Tee of Silicon Valley, Campbell)
  • Bibilani Liu (The First Tee of Silicon Valley, Cupertino)
  • Ronnie McDowell Jr. (The First Tee of Silicon Valley, San Jose)
  • Ryan Ramboyong (The First Tee of Silicon Valley, San Jose)
  • Tiffany Cha (The First Tee of the Tri-Valley, San Ramon)
  • Ardin Lo (The First Tee of the Tri-Valley, Pleasanton)

UC Davis Coach Taps JTNC For Talent

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Longtime UC Davis men’s golf coach Cy Williams first became aware of the Junior Tour of Northern California a few years back thanks to the players he was recruiting.

“They’d send me their schedule and it’d have Junior Tour of Northern California events on it,” said Williams, who’s in his 19th year at the UC Davis helm. “More and more guys had JTNC events.”

These days, when Williams find himself on the recruitment trail for future Aggies, one of his first stops is the JTNC website.

“I’ve now got it bookmarked,” Williams said. “Now, when I recruit, if a kid sends in a JTNC result I check the whole field. I think it’s picked up in notoriety and strength the last few years.”

It certainly has. The 2011 JTNC Player of the Year was 2015 U.S. Amateur champion Bryson DeChambeau. Last season’s NCAA Player of the Year Maverick McNealy, meanwhile, also was once a regular on the JTNC circuit.
As for how much Williams has invested in the JTNC, one only needs to look at the 2015-2016 Aggies’ roster. Eleven of the 12 Aggies on the current roster have a JTNC background– Quinn Carlsen (El Dorado Hills), Louie Chen (Fremont), Ben Corfee (Davis), Ryan Han (Hollister), Matt Klein (Lafayette), Evan Knight (Novato), Ryan Knop (Pleasanton), Nicholas Noya (South San Francisco), Jeremy Sanchez (Sacramento), Patrick Soli (San Carlos) and Luke Vivolo (Carmel).The caliber of players on the JTNC has become so good that today it even brings Williams out of his office. If he has time on his schedule, he now attends tournaments.

Corfee won the 2014 NCGA Four-Ball Championship playing with friend Scott Raber. Ryan Knop shot an 9-under 63 at Poppy Hills to win the 2014 JTNC Championship.

The only member of the 12-man squad that isn’t a JTNC product is Jesse Bratz—and that’s only because Bratz hails from Texas.

As far as Williams is concerned, college coaches—especially those in Northern California–don’t have to look too far outside of the region for talent.

“There are just so many great young players in Northern California. As a coach, I don’t think you need to go national,” said Williams, a native of Oakland. “The JTNC and JGANC (Junior Golf Association of Northern California) have done a great job. They are the ones you look at.”

When searching for recruits, Williams said for him it boils down to two categories: Scores and Potential.
Should Williams not exactly be sure what kind of potential player he might have, he’ll then examine some of the other intangibles.“Scores show that players can do it, or what they’re capable of doing,” Williams said. “The next thing is trying to figure out how good they’ll be in three years. One thing I look at is, do they do one thing well? For example, are they a good putter? A good ball striker? The key being that if they can establish the rest of their game, they’ll be a good player.”

“If someone is on the fence in my mind, and they have for example bad body language or a bad temper, that will sway me the other way,” Williams said. “As a coach, you don’t want to have to spend energy trying to modify negative behaviors.”

As for the latest crop of future Aggies, Williams said he’s already got his eyes on a number of current JTNC members.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we get some commitments in the fall,” he said.

JTNC Alum Wins U.S. Amateur Title

AS_15USAMAH8T3366

Clovis resident Bryson DeChambeau won the U.S. Amateur and joined an elite group.
DeChambeau, a senior at Southern Methodist University who honed his game on the Junior Tour of Northern California, captured the U.S. Amateur Championship Sunday with a 7 and 6 win over Derek Bard in the 36-hole final at Olympia Fields.
Among the feats that DeChambeau achieved with the victory:
He’s the first Northern California native to win the U.S. Amateur title or any USGA individual title since Ricky Barnes in 2002.
He joins Jack Nicklaus (1961), Tiger Woods (1996) Phil Mickelson (1990) and Ryan Moore (2004) as the only players to win both the U.S. Amateur and NCAA Championship in the same year.
It was the widest margin in a U.S. Amateur title match since Byeong-Hun An’s 7-and-5 victory over Ben Martin in 2009.
“”I can’t believe what I just did,” DeChambeau said. “I’m in golf history. I don’t understand it yet. It’s an honor to be in that field.”
Holding a 2-up lead after the morning portion, DeChambeau only turned up the heat in the afternoon round.
“I thought, ‘Keep pressing the pedal to the metal now, play Bryson golf,’” said DeChambeau, who made nine birdies over the 30 holes of the match.Holding a 2-up lead after the morning portion, DeChambeau only turned up the heat in the afternoon round.
Overall, DeChambeau went 20-under through his six matches. When Bard did take a lead in the morning portion, it marked the first time that DeChambeau had trailed since the Round of 16.
The win also gives the NCGA a sweep in this year’s U.S. Amateur championships. Hannah O’Sullivan, also a former JTNC member and member at The Olympic Club, won the U.S. Women’s Amateur last weekend.

JTNC Alum Wins U.S. Women’s Amateur

Hannah O'Sullivan with the Cox Trophy after winning the final round of match play at the 2015 U.S. Women's Amateur at Portland Golf Club in Portland, Ore. on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. (Copyright USGA/Steven Gibbons)
Former Junior Tour of Northern California member Hannah O’Sullivan has her second huge win of 2015.
O’Sullivan, who grew up in the Bay Area but now resides in Arizona, won the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship on Sunday after defeating Sierra Brooks, 3 and 2, in Sunday’s final at Portland Golf Club.
Back in February, O’Sullivan, then 16, became the youngest ever winner on the Symetra Tour when she captured the Gateway Classic.
“I can’t really describe how good it feels,” said O’Sullivan, whose year also a co-runner-up finish at the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship, where she played with partner Robynn Ree. “It was just such a tough match today, and to be able to come out on top, it’s just incredible. I just feel so blessed.”
2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur
Things didn’t look so good for O’Sullivan in the morning portion of the 36-hole finale. Through the first 14 holes, she trailed by three.
The tide began turning on the par-4 16th when O’Sullivan drained a 30-footer for birdie to cut Brooks’ lead to 2 up. Brooks then stumbled on the par-5 18th, finding a left fairway bunker off the tee that led to another O’Sullivan win to cut the deficit to one entering the break.
In the afternoon, O’Sullivan squared the match through 23 holes, took the lead on the 24th hole and later sank a 4-foot par putt on the 34th green to seal the victory.
With the victory, O’Sullivan, who will start playing for USC in the fall of 2016, earned exemptions into the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open at CordeValle, a 10-year exemption into the U.S. Women’s Amateur and one-year exemptions into the Ricoh Women’s British Open Championship, ANA Inspiration and Evian Championship
“I felt like I wasn’t playing very well at all the first 18, but I fought back and I still shot 1 under,” O’Sullivan said. “I knew the game was definitely there, and I had the opportunities.”

Players of the Year

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Justin Suh closed out his junior career by making history, while Sabrina Iqbal made it two in a row.
Both San Jose residents, Suh and Iqbal claimed JTNC Boys’ and Girls’ Player of the Year honors for the 2014-2105 season.
Suh, the first male to earn Player of the Year honors twice, took the top spot thanks to a first place finish at the annual season-ending JTNC Tour Championship at Poppy Hills GC. An 18-year-old freshman at USC, Suh finished the season with 2,260 points.
Fellow San Jose resident Thomas Hutchison, who lost to Suh in the finals of this year’s San Francisco City Amateur, finished second with 1,755 points.
“I’ve been a part of the JTNC for so long that it means a lot to me,” said Suh, who won the Tour Championship by two strokes after shooting a final round 1-under 70. “It’s not a bad way to go out.”
Along with his wins at Poppy Hills and the San Francisco City, Suh also captured titles at the JTNC Summer Series II and Fall Series VIII Championships and the Santa Clara County Championship. The Player of the Year in 2013, Suh also added a tie for second at the CIF State High School Boys’ Championship at Poppy Hills after returning as defending champion.
“Northern California events have such tough fields in general, so it’s a huge confidence booster moving on to the collegiate level,” Suh said.
With her title, Iqbal, who also won the honor in 2014, joined Casie Cathrea as the only females to win back-to-back Player of the Year honors. Cathrea’s record three Player of the Year titles came in 2010, 2011 and 2013.
A 14-year-old sophomore at Pioneer High, Iqbal finished the season with 3,955 points, nearly doubling the total of runner-up Yealimi Noh of Concord (2,307). In 2014, Iqbal tallied 4,003 points en route to earning the title.
“I’m proud. The JTNC means a lot to me. It’s helped me grow as a player and it’s fun,” Iqbal said. “I’m hoping to break some records.”
During the season, Iqbal racked up four JTNC wins at the Fall Series I, Spring Series VII, Spring Series VIII and Summer Series I Championships. She’d have a chance to match her own JTNC record of four wins in a row but settled for a 12th place finish at the Summer Series II Championship.
Other Iqbal victories came at the CIF State High School Girls’ Championship and the NCGA Junior Championship at Spyglass Hill. She also finished second at two other JTNC championships and the NCGA/CIF NorCal Girls’ Championship.
“I didn’t play very well early in the season because I was really busy with school stuff,” said Iqbal, who now has 14 career JTNC wins, just four shy of Cathrea’s record of 18. “In the spring I was able to get back into a groove.”
Both Suh and Iqbal picked up the game from their fathers.
Suh’s dad, Duk, took Justin out to the range and the course when he was younger. Iqbal’s dad, Shaheen, is a PGA professional at The Villages Golf and Country Club.

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