2007 Optimist Champion Alex Ching Qualifies for Sony Open December 20, 2007
Alex Ching of Honolulu, Hawaii, the overall champion of the boys 16-18 division
of the 2007 Optimist International Junior Golf Championships, has qualified
to play in the PGA TOUR's Sony Open.
Ching, who has signed a National Letter of Intent to play college golf at the
University of San Diego next fall, prevailed on the second playoff hole of the
local qualifier over another past Optimist champion, 13-year-old Lorens Chan.
The Sony Open will take place January 10-13 at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu,
College Golf News: Early Signees Include Several Optimist Golfers November 30, 2007
It’s been a busy fall for some of the young golfers who participated in the Optimist
International Junior Golf Championships last summer and the Tournament of Champions
earlier this month. Several Optimist golfers who will graduate this spring have
signed letters of intent to play collegiate golf beginning in the fall of 2008.
Kristen Dorsey (Gulf Breeze, FL) - Kansas State
Jennifer Gartin (Port St. Lucie, FL) – Stetson
Kathleen Glavin (Dayton, OH) – Memphis
Kristen Hill (Weston, FL) – Akron
Catherine O’Donnell (Ponte Vedra Beach, FL) – North Carolina
Katelyn Poplawski (Lincoln, VT) – Idaho
Lady Samson (Santa Clarita, CA) – Cal-Northridge
Evelina Santillan (Aguascalientes, Mexico) – Oral Roberts
Heather Smith (Ft. Worth, TX) – Missouri State
Mark Alvarez (Pomona, CA) – UC-Riverside
Mauricio Azcue (Mexico City) – UCLA
Ryan Black (Port St. Lucie, FL) – West Florida
Alex Ching (Honolulu, HI) – San Diego
Carlson Cox (Church Hill, TN) – Memphis
Drew Evans (Dallas, TX) – Texas A&M
Oliver Grabb (Boulder, CO) – Gonzaga
David Harper, Jr. (Louisville, KY) – UNC-Charlotte
Taylor Hulbert (Arvada, CO) – Regis University
Joseph Rice (Dunkirk, MD) – Maryland
Adam Stephenson (Greenville, NC) – East Carolina
Zac Treash (Plainfield, IN) – Ball State
David Watkins (Hamlet, NC) – East Carolina
Johnny Widmer (Cayman Islands) – Colorado
Charlie Winegardner (Lothian, MD) – Coastal Carolina
Michael Wuertz (Davenport, IA) – Iowa State
Florida Junior Golfers Have Strong Showing at Optimist International Tournament of Champions November 18, 2007
Top finishers at this weekend's Optimist International Tournament of Champions felt
at home on the Champion course at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach
Gardens, Florida. With just a few exceptions, those placing in the event's
three age divisions hailed from within the state.
In the boys 16-18 age division, it was Fernandina Beach's Micah Jacobsen who took top honors.
After entering the day tied for first, Jacobsen shot a 73 to hold on to the
lead and finish in the top spot in his division. A two-day 69-73—142 solidified
the championship, his second first-place finish in just three weeks.
One under for the day and climbing into second place was Cyril Suk of Bradenton, Florida, with
a 75-71—144. Entering the day tied for first, Taylor Szyndlar of Jupiter,
Florida, shot 69-78—147 to take third place, five shots out of first.
M.J. Maguire of St. Augustine, Florida, had the low round of the day with 69,
and his two-day 79-69—148 put him in a tie for fourth place with West
Palm Beach's Mateusz Jedrzejczyk. Jedrzejczyk, the boys 14-15 champion
in 2006, finished with 71-77—148.
In the boys 14-15 age division, junior golfer Shun Yat Hak of Lake Mary, Florida, maintained his
established lead and was even for the day to finish in first place with a two-day
74-72—146. Four strokes behind and coming in second was Matthew Mabrey
of Little Rock, Arkansas, with a two-day 75-75—150. Competition was close
in the 26-player field, and three players finished in a tie for third place.
Finishing in third were Adam Schenk of Vincennes, Indiana, with 79-75—154;
Daniel Berger of Jupiter, Florida, with 77-77—154; and Roberto de Biase
of Barquisimeto, Venezuela, with 75-79—154.
In the girls 14-18 age division, Luz Alejandra Cangrejo of Bogota, Colombia, showed the out-of-state
contingency how it was done. Cangrejo entered the day in a four-way tie for
second and captured the championship with a 79-75—154, three strokes ahead
of the field. Also tied for second entering the day and maintaining sole possession
of the spot to end the tournament was Brighid Hourihan of Ponte Vedra Beach,
Florida, with a 79-78—157.
Entering the day in first place and finishing up in third was Monica Miller of Davie, Florida,
with a 78-80—158. Rounding out the top five were Kelsey Gibson of Thonotosassa,
Florida, with 82-77—159 and Kristen Hill of Weston, Florida, with 79-80—159.
Golfers from 24 states, the District of Columbia, three Canadian provinces and nine other nations
competed in this weekend's 36-hole, stroke-play event, which is ranked
by Junior Golf Scoreboard and Golfweek and is included in the AJGA Performance
Based Entry process. All players are competing on the Champion course, which
is home to the PGA Tour's Honda Classic in March.
In conjunction with the Junior Golf Scoreboard, Live!Scoring regularly updated scores throughout
the Tournament of Champions. Complete playing fields and scorecards are also
available. Viewers can keep updated about the tournament by going to www.optimist.org,
selecting "Junior Golf" and clicking on "Live!Scoring"
on the screen that follows or by going to www.juniorgolfresults.com and clicking
on the tournament name.
Two Junior Golfers Claim Top Spots at Optimist Championships July 29, 2007
Honolulu, Hawaii, junior golfer Alex Ching and Catherine O'Donnell of Ponte Vedra,
Florida, maintained their established leads to take the boys and girls 16-18
titles at the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships on Sunday at
PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Ching has been competing in the tournament since 2002, and this was his year to take home the
championship. He was 1 under for the day on the challenging Champion course
at PGA and completed the tournament with 71-73-68-71—283, seven strokes
ahead of the competition. Five birdies for the day helped Ching hold on to his
In a three-way tie for second were Micah Jacobsen of Fernandina Beach, Florida; Stewart Hagestad
of Newport Beach, California; and Brandon Heinkel of Boynton Beach, Florida.
Jacobsen started the day tied for seventh, but the field was close and a 72
for the day was all it took. Jacobsen's total for the tournament was 72-73-73-72—290.
Hagestad shot a 1-over 73 for the day to keep near the top of the field. His
four-day total was 72-73-72-73—290. Heinkel began the day tied for second,
and a 74 for the round kept him in that position. His score for the championships
Catherine O'Donnell's lead in the girls' division was just as substantial as Ching's was
in the boys' division, and a steady day on the course helped her keep
her spot at the top of the field. Even for the day, O'Donnell finished
the tournament with a 70-74-71-72—287, nine strokes ahead of the other
golfers. Success at the Optimist is not new to O'Donnell, who finished
in third place at the 2006 championship event.
Also even for the day and jumping to second place for the championships was Yupaporn Kawinpakorn
of Thailand. Kawinpakorn, the 2006 girls 14-15 champion, finished this year's
event with 72-76-76-72—296.
Remaining near the top throughout the tournament and finishing in third was Luz Alejandra Cangrejo
of Colombia with 72-71-75-80—298.
One stroke back and finishing in fourth was Kristen Hill of Weston, Florida. Hill's four-day
score was 78-75-72-74—299. Rounding out the leaders and finishing in a
three-way tie for fifth were Christina Miller of Bradenton, Florida (80-77-74-70—301);
Maria Victoria Villanueva of Argentina (74-74-80-73—301); and Kelly Fuchik
of Tulsa, Oklahoma (71-73-78-79—301).
Six Junior Golfers Earn Title of Champion at the Optimist July 23, 2007
Six new Optimist champions were decided this week during the Optimist International Junior Golf
Championships at PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
In the boys 14-15 age division, it was Emiliano Grillo of Argentina who came out on top with a
solid three rounds of golf. Grillo's three-day total of day 72-68-73—213
placed him three strokes ahead of the competition. Coming in second and even
par over three days was Roberto Ballesteros of Mexico with 71-71-74—216.
Mitch Sutton of London, Ontario, rounded out the top three with a three-day
In the girls 14-15 age division, a 66 on the second round helped Soo Jin Yang of South Korea establish
a formidable lead. Her three-round total of 71-66-72—209 was 7 under par
and five strokes ahead of the competition. In second place was Tanaporn Kongkiatkrai
of Thailand with 72-73-69—214. Working her way into third place with a
low round of 68 for the day was Sei Young Kim of South Korea. She finished with
The competition made great strides in round three of the boys 12-13 division but could not catch
up with Thailand's Akarinth Addison, who had a substantial lead throughout
the three-day event. Addison claimed the championship with a 7-under-par 67-69-73—209.
Junior golfer Richard Le of Bellaire, Texas, shot a 1-under-par 71 in his final
round to capture second place in the division. Coming in tied for third and
just a stroke behind Le were Haydn Porteous of South Africa and Jack Maguire
of St. Augustine, Florida. Porteous finished with 74-69-71—214, while
Maguire's three-day total was 70-69-75—214.
Leading the way throughout the tournament and capturing the championship title in the girls
12-13 division was Thailand's Moriya Jutanugarn, who finished 4 under
par with a three-day 68-73-71—212. Second place went to fellow Thailand
participant Pavarisa Yoktuan, who shot a 66 on the final day to jump within
three strokes of the winner. Her final score was 77-72-66—215. Third place
also went to a golfer from Thailand – Suchaya Tangkamolprasert, who finished
5 over par with 78-74-69—221.
Junior golfer Jim Liu of Smithtown, New York, played a steady two rounds of golf this week to
capture the boys 10-11 first-place title in the tournament. Liu had a two-day
70-70—140 and finished the tournament on Monday 4 under par and four strokes
ahead of the competition. Korntawach Julamool of Thailand took second place
with 74-70—144, and Kwanchai Kongtavee of Thailand came in third with
74-72—146. Due to inclement weather, the tournament was reduced to a 36-hole
event for the boys 10-11 division.
Just as her sister led the way in the girls 12-13 division, Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand set the
pace in the girls 10-11 age division. She took home first place with 72-71-72—215.
Ashlan Ramsey of Augusta, Georgia, shot a 73 for the final round and finished
with a 76-72-73—221 to take second place in the division. Coming in third
was Giovana Maymon of Mexico with 78-74-77—229.
Hundreds of golfers ages 10 to 18 have traveled from throughout the world to play in the annual
tournament, now in its 12th year at PGA National. Golfers ages 10 to 15 played
through July 23 in three age divisions each for boys and girls: 10-11, 12-13
and 14-15. The older golfers, ages 16 to 18, will have their turn July 26 through
29. The tournament showcases some of the most talented young players in the
world, many of whom could be the leading collegiate and professional golfers
The junior golfers' progress can be tracked online with FootJoy Live!Scoring, which returns to this
year's tournament in cooperation with the Junior Golf Scoreboard. The
live scoring system records players' scores as they happen, continuously
updates the leaderboard and provides tee times for the following round after
play concludes each day. Viewers can go to www.juniorgolfresults.com and select
the tournament's name or go to www.optimist.org/golf, look under "Junior
Golf" and select the tournament name. General photos and news updates
about activities on and off the golf course are updated regularly on the Optimist
website throughout the tournament.
Golf Participant Qualifies for U.S. Women's Open
This week 12-year-old Alexis Thompson of Coral Springs, Florida, became the youngest
golfer to ever qualify for the U.S. Women's Open. Thompson has competed
in Optimist Junior Golf tournaments for the past several years.
Thompson qualified for the U.S. Women's Open on June 11 with a 72-71 at
Heathrow Country Club in Heathrow, Florida. The championship event will take
place June 28 through July 1 at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in Southern
Pines, North Carolina.
In 2005, Thompson
finished tied for third in the girls 10-11 age division of the Optimist International
Junior Golf Championships. Last summer, at the age of 11, she qualified to compete
in the girls 16-18 age division and finished third in a field of 80 players.
Thompson participated in the 2006 Tournament of Champions last November and
finished tied for fourth place.
Optimist Junior Golf Announces Members of All-Scholastic Team May 16, 2007
Optimist Junior Golf recently announced an addition to its program to recognize
junior golfers who excel not just on the golf course but also in the classroom.
After reviewing the qualifications of a number of impressive applicants, the Optimist
Junior Golf Committee selected four students for the new Optimist International
Optimist Junior Golf bestowed the honor on four exceptional student athletes – Daniel
Maurer of Longmont, Colorado; Chris Olson of Midlothian, Virginia; Alyssa Roland
of Newtown Square, Pennsylvania; and James Rowland of Bolivar, Ohio.
"The selection committee faced a most difficult task when considering the applications,"
said Optimist Junior Golf Committee Member Steve Feinstein. “This was the very
first year of the Optimist All-Scholastic Team, and the quality of the applicants
was extremely high. We are proud of those selected and commend all who
Applicants were required to be 16 to 18 years old and past participants of the Optimist
International Junior Golf Championships, Optimist International Tournament of
Champions or Optimist District qualifiers. A number of junior golfers from throughout
North America applied. Those making the team exemplified an impressive balance
between golf and academics.
Daniel Maurer is a senior at Alexander Dawson School in Colorado who maintains a 3.7
grade point average. He has performed well on the SAT and the ACT, particularly
in the areas of math and science, and balances academics with four varsity sports.
Maurer competed in the 2005 and 2006 Colorado-Wyoming District qualifiers and
the 2005 Optimist International Junior Golf Championships.
Chris Olson is a senior at Clover Hill High School in Virginia and maintains a 4.4
(weighted) grade point average. He successfully balances golf with a course
load of honors and AP classes, a part-time job and volunteer work. Olson competed
in the 2004 Optimist championship event and once again qualified in 2006.
Alyssa Roland is finishing up her senior year at The Agnes Irwin School in Pennsylvania
and has a 3.94 grade point average. She scored in the 99th percentile on the
ACT, with similar results on the SAT. Roland placed first in the Pennsylvania—Upper
Delaware District qualifier in 2006 and went on to compete in the 2006 Optimist
International Junior Golf Championships.
James Rowland is a sophomore at Tuscarawas Valley High School in Ohio and has a 4.0
grade point average. He is ranked first in his high school class. Rowland competed
in the Ohio District Qualifier in 2005 and 2006 and went on to play in the Optimist
International Junior Golf Championships in 2006.
As members of the 2007 Optimist International Junior Golf All-Scholastic Team,
the four junior golfers will receive an automatic exemption into the 2007 Optimist
International Junior Golf Championships July 24 through 29 at PGA National Resort
and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. They will also be recognized for the
honor at the tournament’s opening ceremonies on July 25.
New 'FAQ' page on optimist.org March
A new "Frequently Asked Questions" page has been created for the
Junior Golf section of the Optimist International website. The page is designed
to provide answers to common questions about the Optimist Junior Golf program
that are asked by golfers, parents and other junior golf enthusiasts. To view
the page, go to www.optimist.org/golf and then click on
the "The Optimist International Junior Golf Championships" link.
Or, to go directly to the FAQ page, click