A Banner Year
by Hayden Lewis, PGA / Monday, August 2, 2021
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (August 2, 2021) – The Alabama–NW Florida PGA Junior Tour ended its twelfth season on Monday at Pine Tree Country Club, hosting the 2021 Junior Tour Championship. A natural mark to the end of summer as many players begin school in the next two weeks, the Junior Tour Championship invites the top fifteen players from each age division to compete for the title. Players earned Tour Championship points, shot by shot and hole by hole throughout the twenty-two-event season in hopes to claim a spot come the end of summer.
This season was a memorable one for the Alabama–NW Florida Section as junior golf participation soared in 2021. Total registration for the Junior Tour was up 19.8% in 2021. Additionally, the Tour saw an increase of 15% in membership registration compared to 2020. “This year is momentous for us in many ways,” says Hayden Lewis, PGA Manager of Communications & Foundation Development. “The Junior Tour continues to provide a place for young players to get exposed to competitive golf, and it’s clear more and more juniors are becoming interested and want to get involved in the game. The Junior Tour plays an important role in getting young players on the right path to a lifetime of enjoyment in the game and we are thrilled to carry the success from 2021 in the years ahead.”
The day got started with lower-than-average temperatures and an overcast sky as players arrived at Pine Tree. Tee times would begin at 8:00 a.m. off Holes 1 and 10 to get the Championship underway. In the Boys 16-18 division, Jackson Williams of Salem, Ala. got off to a hot start making birdies on three of his first four holes. He would bogey three holes on his front nine and finish at one-under-par 35 as he made the turn to the back-nine. Meanwhile, Sebastian Whitten of Townley, Ala. got off to a slower start making three bogies and one birdie in his first four holes. He made the turn at three-over-par 38. He was able to crank out two more birdies on the back nine and finish his round at one-over-par 73. This would be good enough to take the title for the Boys 16-18 division. Rounding out the top five in the Boys 16-18 division would be Jackson Hill from Florence, Harris Bennett from Eufaula, Charlie Wilson from Auburn and Case Hagood from Athens.
In the Girls 16-18 division, Abbey Crowe from Auburn beat out Lily Johnston from Dadeville in a scorecard playoff as each fired a round of 83. Laura Burch of Mobile began her round strong with an eagle three on the par-five first hole and would finish alone in third place with a score of 84. Finally, Ella Kate Hewes of Daphne rounded out the top five finishing alone in fourth place with a score of 85. Kyleigh Gibson from Smiths Station led the Girls 13-15 with a score of 87 and Elizabeth Palmer from Pensacola beat out Corrine Laferrera from Athens in the Girls 10-12 division by one shot with a nine-hole score of 46.
Representing the Boys 13-15, division Sam Rice of Huntsville and Cameron Rockett of Hoover both got off to hot starts. Rice made two birdies on his first four holes while Rockett did the same. They both made the turn in one-under-par 35 to have a real chance at making a run at the title. Rockett faltered some and made one bogey and eight pars on the back nine while Rice made two bogies and a birdie on holes 10, 11 and 13. They would both finish in a tie for second place at even-par 72. Meanwhile, Jake Monk of Hoover remained steady during his front nine, only making one birdie and one bogey on holes three and seven. He was able to tack on three more birdies during the back nine on holes 12, 13 and 18 to finish one stroke ahead of Rockett and Rice and take the title. Finally, Ryan Champion would win the Boys 10-12 division with a nine-hole score of 45. Hampton Doobrow and Christopher Sannes filed in behind at a tie for second with scores of 49.
The Alabama–NW Florida PGA would like to thank Paul Whitman, PGA Director of Golf, and his staff at Pine Tree Country Club for all their support for the Junior Tour. Paul also serves as a Junior Tour Coordinator during the regular season in the Birmingham area. He helped conduct four different events serving over 180 golfers this summer – a 25% increase from 2020. The Junior golf season continues to wind down with the playing of the PGA Jr. League Section Championship this weekend at Valley Hill Country Club in Huntsville and finally the Drive, Chip & Putt Sub-Regional Qualifier at the RTJ Golf Trail at Capitol Hill on Sunday, August 22.
Media Contact: Hayden Lewis, PGA / firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT THE ALABAMA–NW FLORIDA PGA JUNIOR TOUR
The Alabama – NW Florida PGA Junior Tour crosses competition with development opportunities for junior golfers of all backgrounds and abilities. Ultimately, it aspires to be the most valuable competitive golf experience for juniors in the state of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. The Alabama – NW Florida PGA Junior Tour is open to all boys and girls between the ages of 10 through 18 that reside in the state of Alabama or the Florida Panhandle (west of Apalachicola).
ABOUT THE ALABAMA–NW FLORIDA PGA
The Alabama – NW Florida PGA is one of 41 sections that make up the PGA of America. Our Section is headquartered in the Birmingham suburb of Pelham, Alabama at Ballantrae Golf Club. Established in 1969, the Section consists of over 400 Members and Associates in the state of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. The Section exists to support its Members who are the driving force to growing the sport and business of golf.