BRASELTON, Ga. − Junior golf’s top honors were announced Tuesday, Oct. 18, as 48 boys and 48 girls were named Rolex Junior All-Americans by Rolex and the American Junior Golf Association.
Introduced by the AJGA in 1978, the Rolex Junior All-America Teams annually recognize players who have proven to be the world’s premier junior golfers. This year’s selections distinguished themselves through their outstanding play in 83 national events, 70 of which were conducted by the AJGA. The Rolex Junior All-America Teams were determined exclusively through the Polo Golf Rankings as of Oct. 18.
The teams are made up of 96 junior golfers, ages 13-19, from 24 states and eight foreign countries (Argentina, Colombia, China, France, Japan, Mexico, Thailand, and Trinidad and Tobago). These standouts will be honored at the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet, Nov. 20, at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Twelve new players earned spots on the Rolex Junior All-America First Team in 2011, a year removed from a First Team that featured current college freshmen Jordan Spieth (Texas), Patrick Rodgers (Stanford), Anthony Paolucci (Southern Cal), Justin Thomas (Alabama), Oliver Schniederjans (Georgia Tech), Denny McCarthy (Virginia), and Michael Johnson (Auburn).
Shun Yat Hak of Lake Mary, Fla., garnered Rolex Junior All-America accolades for the third straight year and returns to the First Team after earning second-team honors in 2010. Hak added wins at the TaylorMade-adidas Golf Junior at Innisbrook hosted by Sean O'Hair and the Rolex Tournament of Champions to a resume that now boasts four AJGA titles. His runner-up finish at the year-end PING Invitational helped him solidify the top spot in the Polo Golf Rankings.
Cody Proveaux of Leesville, S.C., earned first-team Rolex Junior All-America honors during a season that included wins at the Polo Golf Junior Classic and the Junior PGA Championship, as well as runner-up finishes at the HP Boys Championship at Carlton Woods, FJ Invitational and Rolex Tournament of Champions. A second-team selection in 2010, he is currently No. 2 in the Polo Golf Rankings and has verbally committed to Clemson.
A trio of Texans makes its debut as Rolex Junior All-Americans, as Connor Black of Houston, Brad Dalke of McKinney and Scott Scheffler of Dallas each earned nods to the First Team.
The other seven players named to the boys’ Rolex Junior All-America First Team are: Parker Derby of Columbus, Ga.; Jonathan Garrick of Atherton, Calif.; Billy Kennerly of Alpharetta, Ga.; AJ McInerney of Henderson, Nev.; Matthew NeSmith of North Augusta, S.C.; Zachary Wright of Phoenix, Ariz.; and Motin Yeung of Orlando, Fla.
In contrast to the boys’ First Team, the girls’ Rolex Junior All-America First Team features four holdovers from 2010.
Ariya Jutanugarn of Bangkok, Thailand, returns to the Rolex Junior All-America First Team for the second year in a row. In 2011, she competed in nine national junior golf tournaments and posted top-two finishes on eight occasions; her only finish outside the top-two was a T8 showing at the Thunderbird International Junior. She won four times, including the Rolex Girls Junior Championship and the U.S. Girls’ Junior, and was runner-up four times. She finished with 13 rounds in the 60s (out of 30 rounds), a 70.27 scoring average, and the No. 1 position in the Polo Golf Rankings.
Three players join Ariya as back-to-back Rolex Junior All-America First Team recipients: Shannon Aubert of Reunion, Fla.; Kyung Kim of Chandler, Ariz.; and Alison Lee of Valencia, Calif. For Lee, this marks the fourth consecutive year she has been named a first-team Rolex Junior All-American.
At No. 4 in the Polo Golf Rankings, Moriya Jutanugarn joins her sister on the Rolex Junior All-America First Team after posting a pair of victories in 2011. In addition to winning the Winn Grips Heather Farr Classic hosted by Longbow Golf Club and the Scott Robertson Memorial, she finished third at the Rolex Tournament of Champions.
After three years as an honorable mention Rolex Junior All-American, Emma Talley of Princeton, Ky., won her way onto the First Team in 2011. This summer, Talley broke the AJGA record for most consecutive victories when she took home four straight titles. In all, she has 10 career AJGA victories, which is the eighth most in AJGA history.
The six remaining First Team selections are: Céline Boutier of Montrouge, France; Karen Chung of Livingston, N.J.; Jaye Marie Green of Boca Raton, Fla.; Ashlan Ramsey of Milledgeville, Ga.; Mariah Stackhouse of Riverdale, Ga.; and Gabriella Then of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Former Rolex Junior All-Americans comprise the top players on the PGA and LPGA Tours. Of the top 10 players in the PGA TOUR’s FedEx Cup, Bill Haas, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Brandt Snedeker and Chez Reavie each earned Rolex Junior All-America honors during their junior golf careers, while Mahan was Rolex Junior Player of the Year in 1999.
On the LPGA Tour, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome and Cristie Kerr were named Rolex Junior All-Americans as junior golfers before working their way to the top of the pay-for-play ranks. Other notable AJGA alumni who help make up the list of past Rolex Junior All-Americans include Phil Mickelson, Trevor Immelman, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Bubba Watson, Morgan Pressel, In-Bee Park, Brittany Lang, Alexis Thompson and Vicky Hurst.