2007 News Archives

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, Hawaii.

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. They include:
    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 lead.

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 was 73-73-70-74—290.

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 70-75-72—217.

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 74-74-68—216.

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 of tomorrow.

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.

Optimist 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 All-Scholastic Team.

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 applied."

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 9, 2007
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 here.

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