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U.S. Junior tees off at Martis Camp
20 Jul 2013
by Conner Penfold of AmateurGolf.com

see also: U.S. Junior Amateur Golf Champonship, Flint Hills National Golf Club, Jim Liu Rankings

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TRUCKEE, Calif. (July 20, 2013) — The world's best junior golfers will be held to the rigors of the United States Golf Association in Truckee starting on Monday as Northern California's Martis Camp Club hosts the 66th U.S. Junior Amateur Championship July 22-27.

It will be the area's first USGA event since the 1980 U.S. Amateur Public Links at Edgewood Golf Club on the south shores of Lake Tahoe.

“It’s a thrill to see the Martis Camp community embrace this championship and rally to support the USGA and players,” said Gus Jones, head golf professional at Martis Camp. “Hosting a national championship like this takes a tremendous amount of coordination and member participation. We’re anxious to get the event underway on July 22nd and crown a new Junior Amateur champion.”

The Tom Fazio-designed mountain course will welcome a field of 156 amateur players 17-years of age or younger playing the longest golf course in the tournament's 66-year history.

"This golf course will very much represent any championship we could hold and we're proud to hold the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship here," USGA Executive Committee member Skip Gist said.

At 7,675 yards, Martis Camp will be 424 yards longer than the previously longest course, Shoal Creek Golf & Country Club in Alabama in 2008.

"It will be the most rigorous yet fair test in championship junior golf," tournament director Greg Sanfilippo said.

Set high in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Martis Camp sits at an elevation of over 5,800 feet, forcing the ball to fly anywhere from 15-20 percent farther on a well-struck shot.

"The elevation is going to play a huge role in navigating the course and I anticipate this being a challenge for the players coming in here," Sanfilippo said. "Not many of them are going to be used to being around 6,000 feet of elevation."

Notable players in the field include 2010 Junior Amateur champion and 2012 Junior Amateur runner-up Jim Liu of Smithtown, N.Y. He became the youngest U.S. Junior Amateur champion with his 2010 victory at age 14 and was defeated by Andy Hyeon Bo Shim in 2012, 4 and 3. Liu has played in nine USGA championships, including four Junior Amateurs where he has compiled a 14-3 match-play record. A four-time American Junior Golf Association Rolex All-American, the 17-year-old reached the semifinals of last month’s British Amateur, held at Royal Cinque Ports G.C. in Kent, England.

He will play for Stanford University in 2013-14.

Two-time Texas 4-A high school state champion Scottie Scheffler of Highland Park, Texas is playing in his fourth consecutive U.S. Junior Amateur, where he qualified for match play the past three years, twice advancing to the Round of 32.

England's Sam Horsfield will be in the field, and is coming of an 11-shot victory on June 23 at the Florida State Amateur. A few days later he was medalist at the Junior Amateur qualifying in Gainesville, Fla. The 16-year old carded a 61 in the 2013 U.S. Amateur Public Links sectional qualifying en route to earning medalist honors and went on to advance to the championship’s Round of 16.

The youngest player heading to Martis Camp is 13-year old Patrick Welch of Providence, R.I. The only golfer in the field not born in the 1990s, Welch shot a 66 in the opening round of Junior Amateur sectional qualifying en route to earning medalist honors at Thorny Lea Golf Club in Brockton, Mass. Welch also qualified for the 2013 Rhode Island State Amateur.

One other notable name is Andy Zhang of China, who became the youngest U.S. Open qualifier when he competed at Olympic Club in 2012 at age 14.

Martis Camp's breathtaking mountain vistas provide aspects the USGA and anyone watching the association's events have rarely seen. Forest Highlands Golf Club in Flagstaff, Ariz. provided similar views in 2006 when in hosted the U.S. Mid-Amateur.

2002 U.S. Amateur champion Ricky Barnes, a Martis Camp member who played at Forest Highlands in 1996 for the Junior Amateur, says though the course should be friendly off the tee, shots into and around the greens will present the most difficult challenges.

"The biggest adjustment these kids are going to have to make is the altitude change and the iron control on their distances," Barnes said. "You'll really need to chart your iron yardages when playing a practice round. The harder and higher you hit it, the farther it's going to carry."

The 2,177-acre property's most spectacular view comes on the tee at the 162-yard, par-three 17th, where layers of the Sierra Nevada range can be seen in the distance looking east.

"This is going to be a golf course where the surrounding views are going to steal the golfers' eyes away from the golf course," Sanfilippo said.

General Chairman of the event Dr. Tom Patterson, one of the club's first members, spent the last 18 months organizing a strong Martis Camp volunteer committee and believes this is a time for this five-year old course to shine.

"From the members perspective, I think there is no question that it's a great honor for Martis Camp to have been awarded this championship," Patterson said. "This puts us on the golf map."

ABOUT THE U.S. Junior Amateur

While it is not the oldest competition, the U.S. Junior Amateur is considered the premier junior competition, having been around since 1948. The event is open to male golfers who have not reached their 18th birthday prior to the close of competition and whose USGA Handicap Index does not exceed 6.4. The U.S. Junior is one of 13 national championship conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

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