AJGA FJ Invitational Returns To Sedgefield Country Club

Posted by Don Moore on June 3, 2015 at 4:58 pm under Amateur, High School | Comments are off for this article

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Many of the best junior golfers in the world are set to play in the 14th annual AJGA FJ Invitational beginning Monday, June 8, 2014 at Sedgefield Country Club. After graduating from high school, the best junior golfers begin their transition to college golf by playing amateur events and usually don’t play junior events. In fact, more than 75 percent of this year’s FJ Invitational field is made up of rising seniors, juniors and sophomores. However, the 2015 AJGA FJ Invitational field boasts eight of the top-10 players in the class of 2016, six of the top-seven players in the class of 2017 and eight of the top-10 players in the class of 2018.

AJGA FJ Invitational Alumni Now On PGA TOUR: Forty golfers who played the FJ Invitational early in their careers, including 2015 Masters champion Jordan Spieth, 2011 Wyndham winner Webb Simpson and 2013 Wyndham Championship winner Patrick Reed, have gone on to play on the PGA TOUR. Several years from now, some of the golfers playing in this year’s FJ Invitational will also be playing on the PGA TOUR. PGA TOUR golfers who also played the FJ Invitational are listed below; the years they played the FJ follow the names.

?  Mark Anderson (2004)               ?  Blayne Barber (2008)         ?  Daniel Berger (2010)                                  
?  Zac Blair (2008)                   ?  Roberto Castro (2002)        ?  Bud Cauley (2006)                         
?  John Curran (2003)                 ?  Harris English (2005)        ?  Rickie Fowler (2006)                      
?  Bobby Gates (2003, ’04)            ?  Luke Guthrie (2008)          ?  Chesson Hadley (2006)      
?  Brian Harman (2002, ’03, ’04)##    ?  Russell Henley (2006)        ?  Morgan Hoffmann (2007)              
?  Tom Hoge (2007)                    ?  Billy Horschel (2005)        ?  Mu Hu (2004-’08)
?  Ryo Ishikawa (2006)                ?  Chris Kirk (2003)            ?  Kevin Kisner (2003)                                   
?  Brooks Koepka (2007)               ?  Colt Knost (2003)            ?  Ben Kohles (2007, ’08)                  
?  Scott Langley (2007)               ?  Danny Lee (2007)             ?  Luke List (2002)                             
?  Carlos Ortiz (2007)                ?  John Peterson (2006, ’07)    ?  Jonathan Randolph (2007)             
?  Patrick Reed (2006, ’07)           ?  Sam Saunders (2002-’04       ?  Webb Simpson(‘02,’03, ’04)                       
?  Jordan Spieth (2008, ’09)          ?  Kyle Stanley (2005)          ?  Robert Streb (2005)                        
?  Justin Thomas (2008-‘10) ##        ?  Brendan Todd (2002, ’03)     ?  Cameron Tringale (2004)               
?  Peter Uihlein (2007)**##

**Peter Uihlein, who won the FJ Invitational in 2007, is playing on the European PGA Tour where he won his first tournament, the Madeira Islands Open in Portugal, in 2013. He is not currently a PGA TOUR member.
##Won AJGA FJ Invitational.

Top North Carolina Juniors will play: Some of the top junior golfers in North Carolina will play this year’s AJGA FJ Invitational. There are no special criteria for North Carolina players to get into the FJ field; they gain entry into the field through the same eligibility standards as the rest of the golfers although this year, Sedgefield Country Club member Reilly Erhardt received an exemption. North Carolina golfers are listed below with the year of their high school graduation and their May 1 Carolinas Golf Association ranking. (The next CGA rankings will be released June 5.)
? Doc Redman, 2016, Raleigh (5)
? Stephen Franken, 2015, Raleigh (12)
? Reilly Erhardt, 2015, Greensboro (16)
? Michael Sanders, 2018, Davidson (40)

Future ACC Players in the field: Almost 10 percent of the golfers in the FJ Invitational field have made commitments to play their college golf in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The eight players are listed below with their year of high school graduation and their school. Those with a (v) have only made verbal commitments.

? Chandler Eaton, 2016, Duke University (v)           ? Stephen Franken, 2015, NC State University           
? Austin Hitt, 2016, North Carolina (v)               ? Tyler Joiner, 2015, Georgia Tech
? Andrew Orischak, 2017, University of Virginia (v)   ? Andy Ogletree, 2016, Georgia Tech (v)
? Doc Redman, 2016, Clemson University (v)            ? Tyler Strafaci, 2016, Georgia Tech (v)

The First Tee of the Triad in Junior Am: Like last year, The First Tee of the Triad will have a group in Monday’s AJGA Junior Am Fundraising tournament courtesy of Technology Concepts and Designs, a Piedmont Triad-based company founded in 1988 to provide business and government clients with advanced application and system design services. Today, the company is recognized as a leader in the litigation software and services market, serving many Fortune 500 companies and AmLaw 200 law firms who operate in some of the most complex legal environments in the world. The local kids from The First Tee of the Triad who will play in the Junior Am have not yet been determined.

Rolex Junior All-Americans: Fourteen of the players in the FJ Invitational field have received Rolex Junior All-American recognition. Andy Zhang from China and Reunion, Fla., is a first team All-American, and Norman Xiong from Canyon Lake, Calif., is second team. The other 12 golfers receiving Rolex All-American recognition were honorable mention: Phillip Barbaree from Shreveport, La., Garrett Barber from Stuart, Fla., Riley Casey from Abilene, Texas, Will Chandler from Atlanta, Timothy Colanta from Reunion, Fla., Cooper Dossey from Austin, Texas, Chandler Eaton from Alpharetta, Ga., Triston Fisher from Southlake, Texas, Tyler Moore from Escondido, Calif., and Spencer Soosman from Westlake Village, Calif.

International Players: Ten of the golfers in the 2015 AJGA FJ Invitational field represent five foreign countries. Zhengkai Bai, Zhijie (Tony) Jiang, Youxin (Robin) Wang, Wocheng (Aden) Ye and Andy Zhang are natives of China. Charles Kim and Won Jun Lee are from South Korea, William Buhl is a native of Norway, Isidro Benitez is from Mexico and Sachin Kumar hails from Trinidad and Tobago.

2014 Tournament Recap: Austin Connelly from Irving, Texas won the 13th annual AJGA FJ Invitational in a relative blowout. He fired a three-under-par 67 in the final round to win the tournament by six strokes. Connelly, who now attends Southern Methodist University, entered the field ranked sixth nationally in the Golfweek Junior Rankings and eighth in the nation in the AJGA Polo Golf Rankings. Benjamin Griffin, a Chapel Hill native now attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was the highest-finishing North Carolina player; he finished tied for third at one over par. Burlington’s William Register, who joined Griffin at the University of North Carolina, finished tied for fifth at three over par. Winston-Salem’s Gray Townsend, who is also now attending Southern Methodist University in Dallas, finished tied for seventh at five over par.

Previous Winners: The AJGA began playing in Greensboro in 1988; the FJ Invitational was created in 2002 by taking an existing AJGA event for both boys and girls and creating a boys-only Major event. The 2015 tournament will be the 14th AJGA FJ Invitational, but only 12 players have won the 13 previous tournaments. Previous winners are:

? 2002:  Steve Han             ? 2003:  Brian Harman         ? 2004:  Brian Harman
? 2005:  Daniel Woltman        ? 2006:  Andrew Yun           ? 2007:  Peter Uihlein
? 2008:  Cameron Peck          ? 2009:  Justin Thomas        ? 2010: Tanner Kesterston     
? 2011:  Billy Kennerly        ? 2012: Matthew NeSmith       ? 2013: Matt Gilchrest
? 2014: Austin Connelly

Make the cut: Again this year, the 84-player FJ Invitational will have a cut following the third round of play. The top-50 golfers and ties will advance to the final round. Other AJGA events that utilize a cut make it after 36 holes, but the FJ uses a 54-hole cut so every player is guaranteed at least three rounds. Golfers will play in threesomes on Friday, and a tie after 72 holes will be decided by sudden-death playoff.

FJ Live Scoring and Tournament Results: The AJGA website, www.ajga.org, provides live scoring during tournament play. In addition, after play is complete each day, full-field results, a tournament recap and pairings for the next round are posted on the website.

Wyndham Exemption History: For five years, FJ Invitational winners earned a sponsor’s exemption into the Wyndham Championship. However, when the PGA TOUR changed the structure of its season in 2013, that practice could no longer happen. The Wyndham Championship now not only sets the field for the FedExCup Playoffs, but it also ends the 2013 season. After the Wyndham, the top-125 players in points will enter the playoffs while the next 75 will play four tournaments with the top-75 finishers from the Web.com Tour. When golf resumes in October, the following FedExCup regular season will begin. With PGA TOUR golfers trying to keep their cards, the Wyndham could no longer give an exemption to the winner. The following five FJ Invitational winners took advantage of the Wyndham exemption:
? 2008: Cameron Peck
? 2009: Justin Thomas
? 2010: Tanner Kesterson
? 2011: Billy Kennerly
? 2012: Matthew NeSmith

Thank You Volunteers: More than 100 people, many of them Sedgefield Country Club members representing both the Ross and Dye facilities, volunteer at the FJ Invitational. Primary functions for FJ volunteers are live scoring, player hydration, pace of play timing, standard bearers and spotters.

AJGA interns housed at Sedgefield: Each year, AJGA interns manage tournament operations for all AJGA events nationwide. In Greensboro, those interns stay with families who live in the Sedgefield area.

AJGA Alumni: AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 600 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Jordan Spieth, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Stacy Lewis, Vicky Hurst, Inbee Park, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Brittany Lincicome and Morgan Pressel.

FJ Invitational Tournament Schedule:
– Monday: Morning practice rounds (8 a.m.); BB&T Junior-Am Tournament at 1:30 p.m.
– Tuesday: First-round tee times 7 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.
– Wednesday: Second-round tee times 7 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.
– Thursday: Third-round tee times 7 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.
– Friday: Final-round tee times 7 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
– Awards Ceremony following play.

The 14th annual FJ Invitational is set for June 8-12 at Sedgefield Country Club. Admission is free. Practice rounds begin Monday morning, June 9 with the AJGA Junior-Am tournament Monday afternoon. Tournament play begins Tuesday, June 9 and concludes Friday, June 12. For additional information on the event, please visit www.ajga.org.

The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls, ages 12-18) of more than 6,300 members from 48 states and more than 50 foreign countries. Through initiatives like the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant, a financial assistance program, and Leadership Links, a service-oriented platform that teaches juniors charitable-giving skills, the AJGA fosters the growth of golf’s next generation.

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