Top junior golfers tee off next week
ASPEN The next Tiger Woods might be in Aspen next week.After a four-year hiatus, the Aspen Junior Golf Foundation is bringing back its national junior all-star tournament – a three-day event that will attract 95 young golfers from 26 different states.The 54-hole tournament – sanctioned by the American Junior Golf Association – kicks off Tuesday and runs through Thursday at the Aspen Golf Club.Several professional golfers, including Woods and Phil Mickelson, were first noticed while playing in AJGA events as juniors.The AJGA sanctions between 70 and 80 junior tournaments (ages 12-18) throughout the country annually, said tournament director Katie French.Junior all-star tournaments such as the Aspen stop are for younger juniors (ages 12-15) who want to build their resumes so they can gain entry into open events.”To fill our all-star tournaments, we use performance-based entry,” French said. “Kids play in other AJGA events and other events that are worthy of receiving status, then they have to apply. The kids with the most status get in.”Entrants in the Aspen tournament hail from as far away as New York, North Carolina and Washington state. There are also golfers from Mexico and Canada and one from Taiwan, French said.Thirteen of the golfers are from Colorado, including valley locals Micah Evonitz and Bobby Moyer. The field consists of 80 boys and 15 girls.”They don’t win any money or anything like that, just the chance to compete against the nation’s best juniors,” French said. “Our whole purpose is to get these kids to college. We don’t get as many college coaches at the junior all-star events, but at the tournaments for the older juniors, there’s always plenty of them.”Aspen had been a stop on the AJGA junior circuit for 14 years up until 2002. To get the tournament back, Aspen Junior Golf Director Alden Richards secured sponsorship money from real estate giant Morris & Fyrwald and the R.H. Crossland Foundation – a local non-profit that supports a number of philanthropic causes.”The biggest thing we need for our tournaments is local support,” French said. “Alden is a huge supporter and everybody else at the Aspen Golf Club has been great, just allowing us to come and take over their golf course for a few days.”For results from next week’s tournament, check back in The Aspen Times.Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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