2009 News Archives

Three Junior Golfers Crowned Champions of the 2009 Tournament of Champions
November 9, 2009
The competitors in the 2009 Optimist International Tournament of Champions battled it out November 7 and 8 on the Crooked Cat course at Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge in Winter Garden, Florida. All three playing fields finished with close scores as some of the most talented young golfers around aimed for the top spots.

Jason Roets of Johannesburg, South Africa, went 2-under for the day and 3-under for the tournament to jump ahead of the field and claim the championship in the boys 16-18 division. With 71-70—141, Roets finished two strokes ahead of the competition. Finishing in second were Hayden Squadrito of Oviedo, Florida, with 74-69—143 and Joshua Lee of Orange Park, Florida, with 70-73—143. One stroke back and finishing in fourth place was Stephane Dubois of Brantford, Ontario, with an even 72-72—144.


Taking first place in the 2009 Tournament of Champions are (from left) Nicole Quinn (girls 14-18), Clancy Waugh (boys 14-15) and Jason Roets (boys 16-18).

Longtime Optimist participant Clancy Waugh of North Palm Beach, Florida, shot a 75-74—149 to take first place in the boys 14-15 division. The championship comes a year after Waugh competed in a sudden-death playoff and finished in second place at the 2008 event. Waugh earned this year’s championship with two rounds of steady golf and finished one stroke ahead of the field. Coming in second was Sheldon Statkewicz of Mobile, Alabama, with 77-73—150. Finishing in a tie for third were Austin Eoff of Benton, Arkansas (76-75—151), and Evan Deroche of Key West, Florida (73-78—151).

Local golfer Nicole Quinn of Windermere, Florida, scored the low round both days to capture the girls 14-18 division title. Quinn, another familiar name in Optimist golf tournaments, shot 71-75—146 to claim the championship. Also shooting 75 for the day and finishing in second place was Katie Petrino of Fayetteville, Arkansas, with 72-75—147 for the tournament. Finishing the tournament in a tie for third were Juliana Herrera of Weston, Florida (75-78—153), and Kailey Walsh of Boca Raton, Florida (75-78—153).

For overall tournament results, hole-by-hole scores for all players and photos of all tournament participants, go to the FootJoy Live!Scoring website.


Top junior golfers to compete in Optimist International Tournament of Champions
October 29, 2009
More than 100 junior golfers from across the United States and around the world will compete in the fifth annual Optimist International Tournament of Champions November 7 and 8 at Orange County National Golf Center & Lodge in Winter Garden, Florida.

This year’s Tournament of Champions is a 36-hole, stroke-play invitational that will showcase some of the most talented young players in the world. Golfers from 19 states in the United States, two Canadian provinces and 10 other nations will compete in the fifth annual tournament, which will be ranked by Junior Golf Scoreboard and Golfweek and is included in the AJGA Performance Based Entry process.

Sixty boys will compete in the boys 16-18 division; 23 boys will compete in the boys 14-15 division; and 18 girls will compete in the girls 14-18 division. All players will compete on the Crooked Cat course. Orange County National hosted the PGA TOUR’s Q-School Finals in 2003, 2005 and 2007 and will host the event again in 2010. Orange County National has also hosted the North Florida PGA Section Championship, the GCSA National Superintendents Championship, Golfweek Magazine's GOLFEST, numerous USGA qualifiers, and several other national championship events.

Players were invited to apply for a spot in the tournament based on their performance in Optimist-sponsored tournaments and other leading tournaments on the junior golf circuit. The Optimist Junior Golf Program has made a name for itself over the past 15 years with the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships played each July at PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. More than 650 players ages 10 to 18 compete in the event each year. Top players from the summer event and its qualifying tournaments, top players from the 2008 Tournament of Champions as well as leading players from other selected tournaments were extended invitations to apply for the Tournament of Champions. The top applicants were then accepted to compete.

In conjunction with the Junior Golf Scoreboard, Live!Scoring will regularly update scores throughout the Tournament of Champions. Tee times and complete playing fields will also be available.

For information or to arrange interviews, please call (800) 500-8130 before Nov. 6 or (314) 881-1309 during the tournament.

Two Junior Golfers Named Optimist Champions
August 2, 2009
A.J. Crouch of Jacksonville, Florida, was two strokes behind heading into the last two holes but remained steady to win the 2009 Optimist International Junior Golf Championships. Crouch finished one stroke out in front with a four-round total of 71-68-71-71—281, seven under par.

The leader by two strokes coming into the day, Leandro Marelli of Casilda, Argentina, had a triple bogey on the 17th hole and could not recover. He finished in second place with a 66-70-72-74—282.

With a low round of 69 for the day, Adam Schenk of Vincennes, Indiana, claimed third place in the boys division with 68-75-72-69—284.

Tied for fourth were Andy Schonbaum (71-72-72-72—287) of Alta Gracia, Argentina, and Agustin Tarigo (71-75-70-71—287) of Montevideo, Uruguay.

Finishing tied for sixth were Chen-Lin Liu of Beaumont, California (71-71-74-73—289), and Alvaro Vargas (73-70-72-74—289) of Montevideo, Uruguay. Colin Gunstream of Missoula, Montana, finished eighth with 74-75-67-74—290. Bradley Shigezawa of Honolulu, Hawaii, placed ninth with 72-72-74-73—291. Tied for 10th were Andrew McCracken (72-74-70-76—292) of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Julio Palau (75-72-72-73—292) of Garza Garcia, Mexico.

In the girls 16-18 division, Chihiro Ikeda of Calamba, Philippines, shot a 73 in the final round to maintain her lead and capture the Optimist Championships. Her four-round total was 72-72-66-73—283. Thanks to an amazing third round, she finished the tournament five under par and six strokes ahead of the field.

Coming in second was Patricia Garcia of Puerto Rico, with 73-71-72-73—289. In third place was another Philippines golfer, Maria Piccio, with 75-73-73-73—294.

Kelly Drack of Melbourne, Florida, had the low round of the day with a 72, which put her in fourth place overall with 74-73-76- 72—295. Rounding out the top five was fellow Florida golfer Nicole Agnello of Longwood with 73-75-73-75—296.

Finishing in sixth place was Manuela Carbajo Re (76-77-70-74—297) of Necochea, Argentina. Three strokes back and tied for seventh were Szu-Han Chen (73-73-75-79—300) of Beaumont, California, and Juliana Herrera (73-78-74-75—300) of Bogota, Colombia. Thailand’s Sasikarn On-Iam came in ninth with 73-73-75-80—301. Rounding out the top 10 were three young golfers: Chant Chanpalangsri (75-76-77-77—305) of Pathumthani, Thailand; Lou Isabelle Manalo (78-78-73-76—305) of Canlubang, Philippines; and Paola Valerio (72-79-76-78—305) of Mexico.

Junior Golfers to Compete in Final Round at Optimist Championships on Sunday
August 1, 2009
Chihiro Ikeda of Calamba, Philippines, was 6 under for the day to jump 6 strokes ahead of the competition entering the final round of the girls 16-18 division of the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships at PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Ikeda’s three-day total of 72-72-66—210 puts her in a comfortable spot entering the fourth and final round on Sunday.

In second place and even for the day was Patricia Garcia of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, with 73-71-72—216.

In a four-way tie for third place entering the final round are Nicole Agnello (73-75-73—221) of Longwood, Florida; Szu-Han Chen (73-73-75—221) of Beaumont, California; Sasikarn On-Iam (73-73-75—221) of Nonthaburi, Thailand; and Maria Piccio (75-73-73—221) of Philippines.

A cut took place after the third round, and the top 35 girls (those scoring 241 or lower) will compete in the final round tomorrow.

In the boys 16-18 division, Argentina’s Leandro Marelli enters the final round with a 2-stroke lead. Marelli has held the top spot in his division throughout the tournament and has a three-round total of 66-70-72—208.

A.J. Crouch of Jacksonville, Florida, went 1-under for the day and enters the final round with 71-68-71—210.

Bobby Baysden of Ernul, North Carolina, shot a 68 in the third round to jump into a tie for third place. His three-day total is 75-71-68—214. Sharing third place with Baysden is Byoung Jun Chung of Rosario, Argentina. He had a 69 in the third round, with a total of 71-74-69—214.

In a three-way tie for fifth are Adam Schenk (68-75-72—215) of Vincennes, Indiana; Andy Schonbaum (71-72-72—215) of Argentina; and Alvaro Vargas (73-70-72—215) of Uruguay.

The top 54 boys (those scoring 229 or lower) will advance to the fourth and final round on Sunday.

Leaders Remain Close After Two Rounds at Optimist International Championships
July 31, 2009
The leaders in the boys and girls 16-18 divisions held steady today during the second of four rounds at the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships at PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Leandro Marelli of Casilda, Argentina, shot a two-under 70 for the day to maintain his first-round lead in the boys 16-18 division of the championship event. Marelli has a two-round 66-70—136. He is eight under par and is three strokes ahead of the rest of the field.

Tied for second are A.J. Crouch of Jacksonville, Florida, with 71-68—139 and Christian Rivera of Guayama, Puerto Rico, with 68-71—139. Chen-Lin Liu of Beaumont, California, enters the third round in fourth place with 71-71—142.

Four young golfers are tied for fifth place: Eduardo Castiello of Mexico (71-72—143); Adam Schenk of Vincennes, Indiana (68-75—143); Andy Schonbaum of Alta Gracia, Argentina (71-72—143); and Alvaro Vargas of Montevideo, Uruguay (73-70—143).

Competitors in the boys division play the Champion course twice and the Palmer course once before a cut. At that time, the top 50 boys, plus ties, will compete in the fourth and final round on Sunday.

After two rounds in the Optimist Championships, two young golfers share the top spot in the girls 16-18 division. Chihiro Ikeda (72-72—144) of Calamba, Philippines, and Patricia Garcia (73-71—144) of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, lead the girls division after the first two rounds.

Two strokes back and tied for third place are Szu-Han Chen of Beaumont, California (73-73—146) and Sasikarn On-Iam of Nonthaburi, Thailand (73-73—146). In fifth place is Kelly Drack of Melbourne, Florida, with 74-73—147.

The girls are competing on the Haig course at PGA National and will play a third round tomorrow before a cut. At that time, the top 35 girls, plus ties, will compete in the final round on Sunday.

Junior Golfer Records Double Eagle During First Round of Optimist Championships
July 30, 2009
A rarity happened today during the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships at PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens. Boys 16-18 golfer Matias Calderon of Santiago, Chile, had a double eagle on the par-5 #6 of the Champion course.

Calderon is competing in a field of 141 junior golfers from throughout the world. With help from his double eagle, he shot a 4-over 76 for the first round.

Leandro Marelli of Casilda, Argentina, shot a 66 for the day to take the first-round lead in the boys 16-18 division.

Tied for second and just two strokes behind were Christian Rivera of Guayama, Puerto Rico, and Adam Schenk of Vincennes, Indiana. Three under for the day and three strokes back was Shane Stewart of Dublin, Ohio, with 69. Rounding out the top five was Patrick Cansfield of Port Huron, Michigan, with a 2-under 70.

Competitors in the boys division play the Champion course twice and the Palmer course once before a cut. At that time, the top 50 boys, plus ties, will compete in the fourth and final round on Sunday.

Chihiro Ikeda of Calamba, Philippines, and Mexico’s Paola Valerio shot an even 72 for the day to tie for the lead of the girls 16-18 division of the Optimist Championships. Ikeda finished in second place at the 2008 tournament.

Five golfers were just one stroke back after the first round. Tied for third with 73 were Nicole Agnello of Longwood, Florida; Szu-Han Chen of Beaumont, California; Patricia Garcia of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico; Juliana Herrera of Bogota, Colombia; and Sasikarn On-Iam of Nonthaburi, Thailand.

Seventy-nine girls are competing in the girls 16-18 division this week. They will play rounds on July 31 and August 1 before a cut. At that time, the top 35 girls, plus ties, will compete in the final round.

Six Golfers Earn Title of Optimist Champion at International Tournament
July 27, 2009
Hundreds of junior golfers competed in this week’s Optimist International Junior Golf Championships, but only six could walk away as Optimist champions. Junior golfers played the third and final round today at PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
 
Golfers competed in boys and girls divisions for 10-11, 12-13 and 14-15.
 
In the boys 14-15 division, Jonathan Sanders of Chatsworth, California, shot a 73 in the final round to claim the title. Sanders’ three-day total was 73-68-73—214. Three strokes behind and shooting the low round of the day was Victor Wiggins of Gastonia, North Carolina. Wiggins, a longtime Optimist competitor, had a total score of 73-74-70—217. Tied for third and one stroke behind Wiggins were Cristobal del Solar of Chile (72-72-74—218) and Somprat Rattanasuwan of Thailand (70-73-75—218).
 
In the girls 14-15 division, Panitta Yusabai of Thailand led from the start and finished the final round three strokes ahead with 69-68-72—209. In second was another golfer from Thailand, Pavarisa Yoktuan, with 71-67-74—212. In third with 71-68-74—213 was Jo Ee Kok of Singapore.
 
Jacob Choi of Collierville, Tennessee, shot a 1-over 73 on Monday, which was enough to take first place in the boys 12-13 division. Choi’s three-day total was 67-66-73—206, and he finished five strokes ahead of the competition. Finishing in a tie for second were Daniel Santiago Rico of Bogota, Colombia, with 70-70-71—211 and Ignacio Marino of Rio Cuarto, Argentina, with 67-70-74—211.
 
In the girls 12-13 division, Natalia Forero established herself as the leader early on with a 66 in the first round. She captured the championship title with 66-72-74—212. Coming in second place was Tatiana Wijaya of Jakarta, Indonesia, with 77-69-69—215. Aliea Clark of Carlsbad, California, took third place with 72-72-74—218.
 
In the boys 10-11 division, three golfers entered the final day tied for first. But Terrence Zhang of Orlando, Florida, went even for the day and jumped ahead of all of them to take first place. He won by a stroke with a three-day 73-75-72—220. Coming in second was Piyachad Yusabai of Chonburi, Thailand, with 71-76-74—221. Finishing in a tie for third were Philip Barbaree of Shreveport, Louisiana, with 77-75-70—222 and Issei Tanabe of Huntington Beach, California, with 73-74-75—222.
 
In the girls 10-11 division, Clare Amelia Legaspi of the Philippines led throughout the week and claimed the top spot with a total of 72-72-73—217. Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ontario, shot a 68 on the final day to jump into second place with a three-day 75-75-68—218. Coming in third was Sierra Brooks of Sorrento, Florida, with 73-73-75—221.
 
Each year hundreds of golfers from more than 35 states, five Canadian provinces and 30 nations meet at the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships for a week of competition and fun.
 
Play begins July 30 and runs through Aug. 2 for golfers in the 16-18 age divisions. Scores, tee times, news releases and photos will be updated daily throughout the tournament.

Optimist Championships to Enter Final Round on Monday at PGA
July 26, 2009
With just one round left for the younger age divisions at the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships at PGA National Resort and Spa, six championship titles are up for grabs. The final round in each age division will take place Monday, and a number of golfers have their eye on the top spot.

The boys 10-11 division promises some final-day drama with three junior golfers tied for first entering the last round. A 2-under 70 helped lift Luis Gagne of Orlando, Florida, into the top spot with a two-day 77-70—147. Sharing the lead are Issei Tanabe of Huntington Beach, California, with 73-74—147 and Piyachad Yusabai of Thailand with 71-76—147. Just one stroke back is another Florida golfer, Terrence Zhang of Orlando, with 73-75—148. In fifth entering the final day is Andy Ogletree of Little Rock, Mississippi, with 75-74—149.

For a look at consistency, try the girls 10-11 division. First-day leader Clare Amelia Legaspi of the Philippines remains in first place going into the final round with an even two-day 72-72—144. Two back is Sierra Brooks of Sorrento, Florida, equally consistent with 73-73—146. In third place is Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ontario, with 75-75—150, and in fourth place with a 76-76—152 is Abbey Carlson of New Lenox, Illinois. Shaking scores up a bit, Alejandra Merchan of Venezuela rounds out the top five with 79-75—154.

Jacob Choi of Collierville, Tennessee, has a four-stroke lead entering the final round of the boys 12-13 division. Choi began the day tied for first but shot a 66 on the Palmer to take sole possession of the lead. Choi is 11 under for the tournament with a two-day 67-66—133. Four strokes back and tied for second are Claudio Correa of Chile (70-67—137) and Ignacio Marino of Argentina (67-70—137).

In the girls 12-13 division, Natalia Forero maintained her 6-stroke lead with an even 72 on the Squire at PGA National. Forero has a two-day 66-72—138. Six off the lead and in second place is Aliea Clark of Carlsbad, California, with 72-72—144. In third place is Mexico’s Giovana Maymon with 75-70—145.

With a low-round 68 for the day, Jonathan Sanders of Chatsworth, California, jumped into first place Sunday in the boys 14-15 division. Chatsworth has a two-day 73-68—141 and is 2 strokes ahead going into the final round on Monday. Tied for second and two behind are Sean Elliott of Westfield, New Jersey, with 70-73—143, and Somprat Rattanasuwan of Thailand, also with 70-73—143. Rounding out the top five are Cristobal del Solar of Chile (72-72—144) and Nicolai Kja Kokholm of Denmark (75-70—145).

After two rounds, the competition is tight in the girls 14-15 division. In the lead by just one stroke is Panitta Yusabai of Thailand with a two-day 69-68—137. Panitta is the older sister of boys 10-11 co-leader Piyachad Yusabai. In second place is another golfer from Thailand, Pavarisa Yoktuan, with a score of 71-67—138. With a 68 for the day and two strokes out of the lead is Jo Ee Kok of Singapore with 71-68—139. Rounding out the top five are Paveenuch Sritragul of Thailand with 71-71—142 and Jae Hee Choi of Surrey, British Columbia, with 73-72—145. Each of the girls will return to the Haig course at PGA National Monday morning in the hopes of becoming an Optimist champion.

Hours-Long Weather Delay Fails to Soak Spirits at Optimist Championships
July 25, 2009
A weather delay of several hours did nothing to dampen spirits during today’s first round of the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships. After waiting out an afternoon of bad weather, junior golfers ages 10 to 15 returned to the courses of PGA National Resort and Spa to complete some impressive rounds.

In the boys 14-15 division, four junior golfers ended the day sharing the top spot. Scoring a 2-under 70 on PGA National’s Champion course were Cameron Davison of Duncan, British Columbia; Sean Elliott of Westfield, New Jersey; Sompra Rattanasuwan of Thailand; and Cory Sciupider of Etowah, North Carolina. Just a stroke behind and tied for fifth were John Jonas of Jacksonville, Florida, and Jason Park of Richmond, Virginia.

In the girls 14-15 division, Panitta Yusabai of Thailand jumped to an early lead with a 3-under 69 for the day. Two strokes behind and scoring 71 for the first round on the Haig course were Silvia Garces of Colombia; Jo Ee Kok of Singapore; Paveenuch Sritragul of Thailand; and Pavarisa Yoktuan of Thailand.

On PGA National’s Palmer course, two golfers in the boys 12-13 division were 5 under for the day and tied for the lead with 67. Jacob Choi of Collierville, Tennessee, and Ignacio Marino of Argentina enter the second round three strokes ahead of their fellow participants. In a tie for third with 70 for round one were Claudio Correa of Chile; Zecheng Dou of China; and Daniel Santiago Rico of Colombia.

Not to be outdone by the boys, Natalia Forero of Colombia finished off the day with a 66 to take a 6-stroke lead in the girls 12-13 division. Aliea Clark of Carlsbad, California, was even for the day and in second place. One stroke behind Clark was Fabiana Yu of Argentina with 73.

In the boys 10-11 division, Piyachad Yusabai of Thailand shot a 1-under 71 to take a two-stroke lead into the second day of play. A number of young golfers, however, are not too far behind. Tied for second entering the second round are Henry Lee of Coquitlam, British Columbia; Issei Tanabe of Huntington Beach, California; and Terrence Zhang of Orlando, Florida.

With so much time spent waiting out the weather, a number of players in the girls 10-11 division were unable to complete their first round before dark. They will complete their first round on Sunday morning.

Optimist Championships to Honor District Winners at Banquet Sponsored by GolfRing
Tonight's event to feature keynote by Matt Denzer of the David Leadbetter Academy
July 25, 2009
As part of this weekend’s Optimist International Junior Golf Championships at PGA National Resort and Spa, the tournament will recognize junior golfers who advanced to the event by winning their local district qualifier. The recognition will take place at 6:30 p.m. today at a District Winner Banquet presented by The GolfRing, on site at PGA National.

Thousands of junior golfers competed in more than 53 district qualifying tournaments for the opportunity to be among the 570 golfers participating in this year’s international championships. This week more than 150 district winners are in attendance at the event as they compete in three age divisions each for boys and girls – 10-11, 12-13 and 14-15. Their three-round tournament runs July 25 through 27. An additional 90 district winners will attend a similar banquet July 30 as they compete in the boys and girls 16-18 divisions July 30 through Aug. 2.

This evening’s banquet will include a dinner as well as keynote speaker Matt Denzer, director of instruction at the David Leadbetter Academy at PGA National. Denzer has combined a teaching career with his love of golf and has been with the Leadbetter Academy since 2003. He has had the opportunity to teach at several of the academy’s locations.

As banquet sponsor, The GolfRing wishes to recognize young golfers at the top of their game and strives to help golfers of all ages improve their short game. The GolfRing is a short game practice system designed to help golfers visualize the 3-foot radius around the pin, making it easier for golfers to improve their short game. The GolfRing was developed by a golfing father for his son and has helped lower scores for golfers at all levels of the game. For information about The GolfRing, visit www.thegolfring.com.

PGA National is one of seven locations of the David Leadbetter Academy in the United States. For more than 25 years, the Leadbetter Academy has focused on golf instruction that improves the game for golfers of all ages and abilities and has served as instructor for some of the world’s leading players.

More than 570 junior golfers ages 10-18 are competing in the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships this year on the courses of PGA National. The young golfers represent more than 35 states and 30 other nations. Information about the District Winner Banquet sponsored by The GolfRing and other activities during the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships is available at www.optimist.org/golf. In addition, the junior golfers’ progress throughout the tournament can be tracked online as well. Scores, photos, news stories and tee times will be updated daily throughout the tournament.

Optimist International Junior Golf Championships to Return to South Florida
PGA National Resort & Spa to Host Premier Junior Golf Tournament
July 6, 2009
In late July, more than 575 of golf’s top young players will compete in the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The tournament will bring together some of the world’s most talented young competitors, many of whom have the potential to become leading collegiate and professional golfers in the future.

Junior golfers ages 10 to 18 will travel from throughout the world to play in the annual tournament July 25 through Aug. 2. Golfers ages 10 to 15 will play July 25 through 27 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 30 through Aug. 2.

The Optimist prides itself as an international event each year, with players representing more than 35 states, five Canadian provinces and 30 nations. Quite a few recognizable names are past champions of the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships, including Beth Bauer, Jonathan Byrd, Bubba Dickerson, Brittany Lincicome, Jeff Overton, Stacy Prammanasudh and Jennifer Rosales. A number of other well-known professional golfers have participated in Optimist-sponsored championships such as Ernie Els, Nancy Lopez, Davis Love III, Michelle McGann, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.

The Optimist will return to PGA for the 14th consecutive year. Four of PGA National’s championship layouts will be used for the event – the Champion, Palmer, Haig and Squire courses. PGA National is home to the PGA TOUR’s Honda Classic and has been host to the PGA Seniors Championship, the 1987 PGA Championship and the 1983 Ryder Cup.

Optimist International is one of the world’s largest service club organizations with more than 110,000 adult and youth members in 3,600 clubs worldwide. Carrying the motto “Bringing Out the Best in Kids,” Optimists conduct positive service projects that reach more than 6 million young people each year. The Optimist Junior Golf program is one of the organization’s most prominent projects.

Scores, photos, news stories and tee times will be updated daily throughout the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships. Results will be available under the tournament’s information at www.optimist.org/golf.

The Optimist Offers Entertainment and Learning Experiences for All
Tournament Focuses on ‘Bringing Out the Best in Kids’ On and Off the Course
July 6, 2009
With a motto of “Bringing Out the Best in Kids,” Optimist International takes its focus to heart when organizing the annual Optimist International Junior Golf Championships at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. On the course, more than 575 young golfers ages 10 to 18 will put their golfing skills to the test July 25 through Aug. 2 at a level of international competition that many of them have never before experienced. Off the course the tournament will provide family-friendly entertainment for players and guests to enjoy and learning opportunities for the golfers to enhance their game.

Golfers ages 10 to 15 will take part in the Optimist July 25 through 27, while golfers ages 16 to 18 will compete July 30 through Aug. 2. With many junior golfing families moving from tournament to tournament during the summer, the Optimist offers up a vacation atmosphere amid the continual rounds of golf. Each year more than 800 guests join the golfers at the tournament. With golfers and their guests staying onsite, parents, siblings and friends can enjoy the amenities at PGA National Resort & Spa during the day, and the Optimist Junior Golf Program provides activities most evenings for golfers and their families.

Golfers will be able to participate in the Palmer Golf Long-Drive Contest Preliminaries before or after their practice rounds on July 24 and 29 on the Champion Range. Finalists in the competition promise to give an impressive show at 7 p.m. July 26 and 31 as they vie for the title of Long-Drive Champ. At the Opening Ceremony at 8:30 p.m. July 24 and 29, junior golfers representing various nations will take part in a parade of flags as the participating nations are introduced. As the competition gets under way, golfers and their siblings will crowd the main putting green at 8 p.m. July 26, 27 and 31 in a challenge strictly for fun – the annual “Glow Ball” Putting Contest, a round of miniature golf in the dark. Throughout the tournament, a game room and lounge will be open in the evenings to give golfers a chance to relax and socialize.

Advancing to the championship tournament as a District Qualifying Tournament winner is an honor. District winners will be recognized at a special District Winner Banquet present by The GolfRing at 6:30 p.m. July 25 and 30.

Off-hours will not be all fun and games, as the junior golfers will also be offered some opportunities for learning. For the younger golfers, the week will begin with a “Rules of Golf Clinic” at 6 p.m. July 23 on the main putting green. Junior golfers will be presented with several different situations and the rules that apply to each. For the older golfers, the Optimist Junior Golf Program has lined up “The College Golf Experience Seminar” at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 1 in the Bella Lago room. The seminar will feature David Leadbetter Golf Academy’s Shane Reiser, who will speak to junior golfers about finding a college that is the correct academic and athletic fit and what needs to be done at each level of a junior golfer’s career. Reiser will also address how to attract a coach’s attention, what junior tournaments to focus on, and how to handle college golf signing periods.


GolfRing Supports Optimist Championships as Presenting Sponsor of District Winner Banquet
Event will feature keynote by Matt Denzer of the David Leadbetter Academy at PGA National
March 27, 2009
Wishing to recognize young golfers at the top of their game, The GolfRing has signed on as the presenting sponsor of the District Winner Banquet at this summer’s Optimist International Junior Golf Championships at PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Each year thousands of junior golfers attempt to qualify for the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships through more than 60 District qualifying tournaments. The winners of these qualifying tournaments are honored each year at a banquet during the championship event. The District Winner Banquet presented by The GolfRing will take place July 25 for winners in the 10-15 age divisions. Winners in the 16-18 age divisions will be honored at a District Winner Banquet presented by The GolfRing on July 30.

The keynote speaker for each evening will be Matt Denzer, director of instruction at the David Leadbetter Academy at PGA National. Denzer has combined a teaching career with his love of golf and has been with the Leadbetter Academy since 2003. He has had the opportunity to teach at several of the academy’s locations.







More than 650 junior golfers ages 10-18 compete in the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships each year on the courses of PGA National. The young golfers represent more than 35 states and 30 other nations. This year golfers ages 10-15 will compete July 25 through 27 in three age divisions each for boys and girls, while golfers ages 16-18 will have their turn July 30 through Aug. 2. In addition to tournament play, golfers have the opportunity to participate in a number of events that recognize and enhance their golf skills, including the District Winner Banquet presented by The GolfRing.
The GolfRing is a short game practice system designed to help golfers visualize the 3-foot radius around the pin, making it easier for golfers to improve their short game. The GolfRing was developed by a golfing father for his son and has helped lower scores for golfers at all levels of the game. For information about The GolfRing, visit www.thegolfring.com.

PGA National is one of seven locations of the David Leadbetter Academy in the United States. For more than 25 years, the Leadbetter Academy has focused on golf instruction that improves the game for golfers of all ages and abilities and has served as instructor for some of the world’s leading players. For information visit www.davidleadbetter.com.

Optimist International is one of the world’s largest service club organizations with more than 113,000 adult and youth members in 3,700 clubs in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico and throughout the world. Carrying the motto “Bringing Out the Best in Kids,” Optimists conduct positive service projects that reach more than six million young people each year. The Optimist Junior Golf program is one of the organization’s most prominent projects.

Palmer Golf Supports Optimist Championships as Sponsor of Long-Drive Contest
February 18, 2009
Showing its support of aspiring young golfers, Arnold Palmer Golf Management has signed on as the exclusive sponsor of the Long-Drive Contest at this summer's Optimist International Junior Golf Championships at PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Each summer more than 650 junior golfers ages 10-18 come to the courses of PGA National to compete in the Optimist championship event. Throughout their stay, golfers have the opportunity to participate in a number of competitive and entertaining events in addition to tournament play. The Palmer Golf Long-Drive Contest is the pinnacle of these events, with golfers, their families and guests gathering to watch the competition as finalists combine power and control at the tee.

Junior golfers will attempt to qualify for the 2009 finals during their practice rounds on July 24 for ages 10-15 and July 29 for ages 16-18. The Palmer Golf Long-Drive Contest finals will take place on July 26 and 31 for ages 10-15 and 16-18, respectively.
Each year thousands of junior golfers attempt to qualify for the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships, which attracts 650 young golfers from more than 35 states and 30 other nations. Golfers ages 10-15 will compete July 25 through 27 in three age divisions each for boys and girls, while golfers ages 16-18 will have their turn July 30 through Aug. 2.





Arnold Palmer Golf Management operates more than 50 golf courses across the United States, including PGA National. In the spirit of the company's namesake, Palmer Golf strives for perfection on all of its courses, from course condition and service to pace of play and player development. For information about Palmer Golf, visit www.palmergolf.com.

PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, has been Host Partner and home to the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships for 14 years. Junior golfers stay on site during the tournament and the event uses four of the resort's five courses throughout the competition. For information about PGA National, visit www.pgaresort.com.

Optimist International is one of the world's largest service club organizations with more than 113,000 adult and youth members in 3,700 clubs in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico and throughout the world. Carrying the motto "Bringing Out the Best in Kids," Optimists conduct positive service projects that reach more than six million young people each year. The Optimist Junior Golf program is one of the organization's most prominent projects.

2009 Qualifying Tournament Schedule Finalized
February 4, 2009
The dates of the official Optimist qualifying tournaments have been finalized. In 2009, there will be 56 Optimist District qualifying tournaments in 34 states and four Canadian provinces. There will also be several international qualifying tournaments in various nations. The Optimist District qualifying season kicks off in the Atlantic Central District on April 25 with a qualifier for all age divisions at Greate Bay Country Club in Somers Point, NJ. Qualifying tournaments continue throughout April, May and June, with the majority taking place the last half of June. Many Districts also hold a series of local pre-qualifying tournaments that determine which golfers advance to the District finals.

Junior golfers who participate in Optimist District tournaments compete for the opportunity to qualify for the summer Optimist International Junior Golf Championships at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. A set number of qualifying spots in each age division are granted to each District tournament.

In addition, each participating Optimist District will sponsor the first-place boy and girl winner in the 16-18 age division from their own District to the championships at PGA National Resort & Spa. This sponsorship includes the payment of championship registration fees (inclusive of practice round, tournament rounds, driving range & putting green privileges, five nights lodging, breakfast & dinner during the championships, and access to all Optimist-sponsored recreational activities and special events). Many Optimist Districts pay for transportation and incidental costs and may sponsor winners of other age divisions if funds allow.

Junior golfers who live in an Optimist District that offers an official qualifying tournament are required to participate in a District tournament to attempt to qualify for the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships.  Golfers are encouraged to participate in their home District's event but may travel outside of their District if they choose.

Junior golfers who are interested in participating in a qualifying tournament should locate their District’s information on the Optimist International website and download an entry form (if available). Contact the District Chairperson listed for additional event details and questions.  To view a master list of qualifying tournaments, click here.

At Large Application Now Available
January 30, 2009
The At Large and International At Large application packets are now available. Junior golfers from the United States and Canada (in the boys & girls 10-11 and 12-13 division only) who live in an Optimist District that does not offer an official qualifying tournament or does not offer their age division may submit an application for consideration directly to Optimist International.  Junior golfers who live in nations that do not send official international designates may also submit an application. A limited number of golfers in each age division will be accepted through the At Large method based on the number of golfers advancing to the championships through qualifiers and anticipated field sizes. Submission of an application does not guarantee acceptance into the playing field. Applications will be accepted beginning February 4, 2009 and must be submitted by April 22, 2009. For more information and to download an application packet, click here.

The 2009 Hugh Cranford All-Scholastic Team
January 23, 2009
The 2009 Hugh Cranford All-Scholastic Team is a special award recognizing the academic accomplishments of junior golfers who are past participants of Optimist International championship tournaments or District qualifiers. The team will consist of four golfers who will be between the ages of 16 and 18 as of the last day of the 2009 Optimist International Junior Golf Championships. Junior golfers selected to the team will receive an automatic exemption into the championships, complimentary tournament registration, and will be recognized during the opening ceremony event at the Optimist championships in July.

Optimist Junior Golf bestowed the honor on four exceptional student athletes – Adam Carpenter of Little Rock, Arkansas; Katherine Jean of Rantoul, Illinois; Patrick Rodgers of Avon, Indiana; and Mark Wehner of Cincinnati, Ohio – for the second annual team in 2008. To read more about last year’s Optimist International All-Scholastic Team, click here.

For additional information and to download the application for the 2009 Hugh Cranford All-Scholastic Team, click here.


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