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JTNC News

2020 JTNC Challenge Cup Roster Named

2020 JTNC Challenge Cup Roster Named

Nov. 7, 2019

One of the two teams will walk away with a lead in the overall series.

Come Jan.3-4, what will be the fifth annual Challenge Cup will get underway at Poppy Hills GC. The Challenge Cup is a two-day competition featuring 12 of the best JTNC players (eight boys, four girls) taking on 12 of the best from the PGA Southern California Junior Tour in a Ryder-Cup like format.

The series is tied at two wins apiece following the SCJT’s 14-10 last January, but it’s about more than just the scores. For the juniors, the Cup is a rare opportunity to not only play match play, but to compete as a team.

It’s the team component—along simply with the talent—that has made the Cup a hotbed for college coaches looking for their next stars.

“The Challenge Cup only just keeps growing in stature,” said JTNC Director Aaron Hartesveldt. “Now in its fifth year, it generates more and more excitement among the players, both from the North and South.”

Who’ll be representing the JTNC: (Stats as of Nov. 7)

Girls: 

Madelyn Gamble: The 2018-2019 Girls’ Player of the Year, Gamble had three wins, at the Fall Series IV, Spring Series II and Summer Series I Championships. The Pleasant Hill resident also had two runner-ups (Summer Series II, Holiday Series II) and was third at the Fall Series VI Championship.

Kiara Romero: Romero is a two-time winner already this season (Fall Series IV and VI Championships). Also has a third place finish at the Fall Series III and T-9 at the Fall Series V.

Andrea Gomez: Gomez won the Fall Series V Championship. She also was T-7 at the Fall Series IV and IX Championships.

Vani Karimanal: Karimanal has five top 5 finishes this season. She has two runner-ups (Fall Series II and III), a third at the Fall Series VI and fifth place finishes at the Fall Series VIII and IX Championships.

Boys: 

Dylan McDermott: The 2018-2019 Boys’ Player of the Year posted wins at the Fall Series II and IV Championships and later added a runner-up place finish at the annual NCGA Junior Championship. For extra measure, McDermott also had three third place finishes—Spring Series VI, Summer Series III and the Tour Championship.

Sam Sommerhauser: The winner of the Boys’ title at the PURE Insurance Championship Impacting The First Te, Sommerhauser has two wins this season, at the Fall Series IV and IX Championships. Was runner-up in last year’s Player of the Year race.

Paramdeep Sodhi: The current leader in the 2019-2020 Player of the Year standings, Sodhi has a win at the Fall Series VI Championship. He also has two runner-ups at the Fall Series I and VII Championships. Also a T-3 (Fall Series IX) and a fifth (Fall Series IV).

Zachery Pollo: Pollo has a win at the Fall Series II Championship, and a pair of runner-up finishes at the Fall Series I and Fall Series VI Championships. Other highlights include a T-7 finish at the Fall Series IX and a T-9 at the Fall Series IV.

Ben Soicher: Soicher’s season includes a win at the Fall Series V and a T-6 at the Fall Series VI. He also reached the quarterfinals of the 2019 NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship.

Baron Szeto: Szeto’s season features a win at the Fall Series VIII Championship and a third place finish at the Fall Series II. He also has a fifth place finish at the Fall Series I and a T-7 finish at the Fall Series IV.

Jackson Koivun: Koivun has a pair of runner-up finishes at the Fall Series II and III Championships.

Ryan Meyer: Meyer’s season includes a T-3 finish at the Fall Series IV Championship. He also placed T-2 at the NCGA Valley Amateur Championship.

 

JTNC Alum Yealimi Noh Qualifies for LPGA Tour

November 4, 2019

Concord resident and former JTNC Girls’ Player of the Year Yealimi Noh is now living the dream.

Still just 18, Noh, the winner of the 2018 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at Poppy Hills, earned her 2020 LPGA Tour card by finishing third at the recent LPGA Qualifying Tournament. Noh shot 15-under 557 (69-69-66-77-67-69-71-69) in the grueling, eight-round event.

Having turned pro in 2019, her best finish this season was a second at the Cambria Portland Classic, where she Monday qualified as a non-member.

“I’m just really happy that I’m finally done and will get to play next year,” Noh said.

 

JTNC Members Qualify for Drive, Chip and Putt Finals

JTNC Members Qualify for Drive, Chip and Putt Finals

October 11, 2019

A  pair of JTNC members will be at famed Augusta National Golf Club come April 5, 2020 for the Finals of the annual Drive, Chip and Putt Championship.

Both Howard Shu, of Saratoga, and Ethan Lien, of Cupertino, earned spots by winning at the Regional qualifier held at Chambers Bay. Shu won the Boys’ 14-15 Division with 155 points. Lien, meanwhile, won the Boys’ 12-13 division with a score of 156 points.

The two could end up being joined by yet another JTNC member. Riley Yang, of San Jose, was the first alternate in the Girls’ 14-15 division.

JTNC’s Sam Sommerhauser Wins PURE Insurance Championship Crown

September 30, 2019

JTNC member Sam Sommerhauser has joined the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as a champion at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Sommerhauser, a 17-year-old senior at Whitney High in Rocklin and member of The First Tee of Greater Sacramento, won the Boys’ Pro-Junior title at the PGA Tour Champions PURE Insurance Championship Impacting The First Tee on Sunday with pro partner and winner Kirk Triplett after coming in with a 54-hole score of 23-under 192 (63-66-63).

Ashley Menne, a member of The First Tee of Phoenix and Youth on Course, won the Girls’ title with partner Tom Lehman with a score of 18-under 197 (64-68-65).

Fittingly, Sommerhauser finished with a tap-in in birdie on the par-5 18th after a huge drive.

“It was a great experience,” said Sommerhauser, who’s committed to University of Arizona. “I’m just thankful I got to play and played well.”

“What didn’t impress me about Sam?,” replied Triplett when asked about his partner. “He’s a fabulous player with a fabulous swing. He’s also got tremendous poise and has the ability to bounce back.”

Sommerhauser joins a list of other JTNC players who’ve captured the title: Matthew Sutherland (2018), Jack Avrit (2015), Michelle Xie (2013) and Casie Cathrea (2011).

Other JTNC members who made the cut at the PURE were Lauren Garces (T-9), defending Player of the Year Dylan McDermott (T-12) and Jasmin Krishna (T-14).

 

JTNC Alum John Scott Senz Wins Again

September 16, 2019

JTNC alum John Scott Senz won the Special Olympics of Northern California (SONC) 2019 Folsom Golf Regional Tournament on Sunday, Sept. 15 at Empire Ranch Golf Course.

Senz, who has now won this event three years in a row, shot a 75. Congrats John!

Watch Out for JTNC at Upcoming PURE Insurance Championship

September 6, 2019

Watch Out for Junior Tour of Northern California at Upcoming PURE Insurance Championship

Don’t be surprised if a Junior Tour of Northern California player walks away with the Pro-Junior title at the upcoming PGA Tour Champions PURE Insurance Championship Impacting The First Tee.

The event, set to tee off Sept. 27-29 at Poppy Hills Golf Course and Pebble Beach Golf Links, has been a good luck charm for JTNC players.

Last year, Carmichael resident Matthew Sutherland (a member of The First Tee of Greater Sacramento) won the Pro-Junior crown playing with his uncle, former NCGA Amateur Match Play champ Kevin Sutherland.

Other JTNC winners have been:

  • 2011 Casie Cathrea, who won with Masters champ Ben Crenshaw
  • 2013 Michelle Xie, who won with Kirk Triplett
  • 2015 Jack Avrit (pictured), who won with co-record five-time AT&T Pro-Am champ Mark O’Meara

There was also former JTNC Player of the Year Josh McCarthy’s close call at the 2014 First Tee Open. That year, McCarthy and partner Peter Senior appeared to have the title won. That is, until The First Tee of Tucson’s Christopher Meyers pulled off one of the greatest shots on the historic 18th hole at Pebble Beach by any player–he’d make a double-eagle from 203 yards out—to give him and pro partner Lee Janzen the victory. Meyers is the only player EVER to win an official event at Pebble by holing out for double-eagle on 18.

***In a twist, this year’s event will feature both a Boys’ and Girls’ champion

JTNC players who’ll be in the field for this year’s Pro-Junior:

  • Yusuf Ahmed
  • Ashley Knepshield
  • Dylan McDermott (2018-2019 JTNC Boys’ Player of the Year)
  • Mikaela Paracuelles
  • Sam Sommerhauser
  • Alexander Iniakov
  • Lauren Garces
  • Ralph Kho
  • Jasmin Krishna

There is no admission fee to attend the PURE Championship, but spectators still need to register. For more info on the event and to register, please visit pureinsurancechampionship.com

JTNC Alum Yealimi Noh Runner-up at LPGA Event

September 3, 2019

Former JTNC standout Yealimi Noh once again made her presence felt on the LPGA Tour.

Noh, who’s second on the all-time Girls’ career win list (19), finished second at the Cambia Portland Classic, losing to winner Hannah Green by just a stroke. It was the second time that Noh, who won the 2018 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at Poppy Hills, was in contention on the LPGA Tour. In July, she tied for sixth at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic.

Still just 18, Noh is currently entered in Stage II of the LPGA’s Qualifying School, which takes place Oct. 12-17 at Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Fla. Noh said this week is her final LPGA Tour appearance of 2019, as she has other sponsor obligations and tournaments in Korea and Japan over the coming weeks. Should she play well in those other events and jump into the top 75 of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, she could skip Stage II and go directly to LPGA Q-Series, a two-week final stage that will be held Oct. 23-26 and Oct. 30 to Nov. 2 at Pinehurst No. 6 and Pinehurst No. 9 in North Carolina.

“After playing a couple of events, [I’m] kind of used to or kind of know what’s going on at the events here,” Noh said. “I’m really excited for next year. Hopefully I can win next year.”

JTNC Alum Josh McCarthy Wins NCGA Am Match Play Title

August 16, 2019

While progressing through the ranks, including winning Junior Tour of Northern California Player of the Year honors in  2014, Danville resident Josh McCarthy has always had his eyes on the NCGA’s biggest prize.

It’s now his.

McCarthy, now a 22-year-old senior at Pepperdine University, captured the 116th NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship on a suddenly chilly Friday at par-71 Spyglass Hill after defeating runner-up Toby Briggs, 7 and 5, in the 36-hole finale.

It’s the first NCGA title for McCarthy, who was a mutiple winner on the JTNC. Also a Youth on Course member, McCarthy joins the ranks of Lawson Little Jr., Roger Maltbie and Kevin Sutherland as champions of the prestigious event.

“This win is really important to me, everything this event means” said McCarthy, who closed things out by holing out a pitch shot for birdie on the 31st hole. “I’ve always hoped to win it. Growing up, you see the age groups ahead of you and the guys who’ve won it. It’s something I’ve always aspired to.”

The first medalist to go wire-to-wire since 2015 champ Maverick McNealy, the No.1 seeded McCarthy sewed things up with a solid stretch to kick off the afternoon round. Already holding a 1-up lead, McCarthy would win five of the first six holes to open a commanding 6-up lead through 24 holes.

With wind suddenly a factor, on both the 19th (par-5 1st) and 20th holes McCarthy won with pars. Following another win on No.22 (hole 4), Briggs on the par-3 23rd couldn’t escape the greenside bunker. He’d eventually just concede the hole. On the ensuing 24th hole, Briggs missed a short putt while McCarthy had a great up-and-down for par to increase the lead to 6-up.

“The weather turned bad there. I knew that pars were the goal,” said McCarthy, who called the win his biggest so far. “I went into that grind it out mentality. That’s really when the match went to my favor.”

Briggs, a junior at University of San Francisco and the No.6 seed, was never able to recover. The England native did cut the lead to 4-up with wins on the 26th and 28th holes, but McCarthy bounced back with a birdie on the 29th hole (No.11) to again make it 5-up.

“Josh is a class player,” said Briggs, who had never played Spyglass Hill prior to the championship. “He’s not going to give you any breaks.”

Having been hampered by blisters since Tuesday’s play, Briggs at least had a caddie this time around. His girlfriend’s brother, Colby. And while he came up short, Briggs was nothing but smiles afterwards.

“Can you complain? This week was about getting in some reps before the season,” Briggs said. “I’d wanted to see where my game was.”

McCarthy had help all week on the bag from his father, John.

Looking ahead, McCarthy still has his senior season left. After that, it’ll be on to turning professional.

“I’m thinking I’ll possibly turn pro next June,” McCarthy said. “It depends on how the year goes.”

So far, it’s going very well.

Dylan McDermott, Madelyn Gamble 2018-2019 Players of the Year

July 31, 2019 

Boys’ Player of the Year—Dylan McDermott

From the moment the season started, Dylan McDermott had his sights set on Player of the Year honors.

While there’d admittedly be some ups and downs, he accomplished his goal. The Granite High junior won the title with a total of 2,124 points. His good friend, Sam Sommerhauser, would place second at 1,971.

“It means a lot to me to be Player of the Year,” McDermott said. “I had some events where I played really well and some where I didn’t play well. But I played good enough and consistent enough to keep my points up.”

He’d post wins at the Fall Series II and IV Championships and later added a runner-up place finish at the annual NCGA Junior Championship. For extra measure, McDermott also had three third place finishes—Spring Series VI, Summer Series III and the Tour Championship. It was his finish at the Tour Championship that sealed his crown.

He joins great company as a Player of the Year winner. Past champs include PGA Tour winner Bryson DeChambeau (2011) and former USC standout and No.1 world-ranked amateur Justin Suh (2013, 15’).

“I really want to follow in the footsteps of those guys,” McDermott said. “Hopefully I’ll be playing with them in the future.”

Girls’ Player of the Year—Madelyn Gamble

It seemed headed this way.

In 2017, Madelyn Gamble finished tied for 44th in the Girls’ Player of the Year standings. A year later, she quickly ascended to the No.5 spot.

For the 2018-2019 season, she finished No.1.

Still just a junior at Carondelet High, Gamble ended the season with 2,193 points. She’d edge runner-up Danielle Suh, who finished at 2,136.

“It’s an honor to win this award and join the company of some great golfers,” Gamble said. “I have worked really hard and am excited to see improvement in many aspects of my game.”

Gamble had a season to remember. She’d rack up three wins, at the Fall Series IV, Spring Series II and Summer Series I Championships.

The Pleasant Hill resident also had two runner-ups (Summer Series II, Holiday Series II) and was third at the Fall Series VI Championship.  Outside the JTNC, Gamble reached the semifinals of the 2019 San Francisco Women’s City and the quarterfinals of the California Junior Girls’ State Championship.

“The season I had has been very special,” Gamble said. “At the beginning of the season, I outlined some of the goals I had and, for the most part, I accomplished them. Overall this season was full of many positive and unforgettable experiences.”

 

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