BRASELTON, Ga. -- Junior golf's top honors were announced 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 88 national events, 72 of which were conducted by the AJGA. The Rolex Junior All-America Teams were determined exclusively through the Polo Golf Rankings as of Oct. 9.
The teams are comprised of 96 junior golfers, ages 13-19, from 22 states, Puerto Rico and nine foreign countries (China, Colombia, France, India, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Sweden and Thailand). These standouts will be honored at the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet, Nov. 18, at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Rolex Junior All-America First Team - Boys' Overview
Matthew NeSmith of North Augusta, S.C., and Brad Dalke of McKinney, Texas, are the only two boys to return to the Rolex Junior All-America First Team. With wins at the Polo Golf Junior Classic and Rolex Tournament of Champions, the AJGA's two oldest tournaments, NeSmith became the first boy to win both in the same season. He ended his AJGA career No. 1 in the Polo Golf Rankings before he began his freshman season at South Carolina.
Dalke, 15, is the third-youngest boy to earn Rolex Junior All-America accolades in 2012. He posted five top-10 finishes in national tournaments, including runner-up finishes at the Rolex Tournament of Champions and The Junior PLAYERS Championship presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf, and a semifinal appearance at the Polo Golf Junior Classic. He is currently No. 7 in the Polo Golf Rankings and has verbally committed to Oklahoma.
Two players return to the Rolex Junior All-America First Team after a one-year absence, as Beau Hossler of Mission Viejo, Calif., and Jim Liu of Smithtown, N.Y., each earned first-team honors in 2010. Hossler ended the season ranked third in the Polo Golf Rankings after posting four top-10 finishes in 2012. He won the Winn Grips Heather Farr Classic hosted by Longbow Golf Club, his fourth career AJGA victory, and qualified for the U.S. Open for the second year in a row. He is a three-time Rolex Junior All-American and has verbally committed to Texas.
Liu earned seven top-10 finishes in national tournaments during the 2012 season, including a runner-up finish at the U.S. Junior Amateur and a third-place showing at The Junior PLAYERS Championship presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf. Currently No. 2 in the Polo Golf Rankings, he is a four-time Rolex Junior All-American and has verbally committed to Stanford.
Andy Shim of Duluth, Ga., defeated Liu in the championship match at the U.S. Junior Amateur, which helped him earn a spot on the Rolex Junior All-America First Team. Shim also finished T5 at the Rolex Tournament of Champions and ended the season No. 10 in the Polo Golf Rankings.
The other seven players on the boys' Rolex Junior All-America First Team are: Cameron Champ of Sacramento, Calif.; Doug Ghim of Arlington Heights, Ill.; Tae Wan Lee of Orlando, Fla.; Thomas Lim of Moorpark, Calif.; Lee McCoy of Clarkesville, Ga.; Adam Wood of Zionsville, Ind.; and James Yoon of Bradenton, Fla.
Rolex Junior All-America First Team - Girls' Overview
Five girls from the 2011 Rolex Junior All-America First Team return in 2012, including reigning Rolex Junior Player of the Year Ariya Jutanugarn of Bangkok, Thailand. In June, she defended her title at the Rolex Girls Junior Championship, winning by 18 shots and breaking the AJGA girls' scoring record with an 18-under-par performance. She also won the Thunderbird International Junior and Junior PGA Championship, which gives her seven national junior golf victories since she began competing in the United States in 2009. She is a three-time first-team Rolex Junior All-American and has held the No. 1 ranking in the Polo Golf Rankings since July 2, 2011.
Alison Lee of Valencia, Calif., used bookend victories at AJGA Invitationals to highlight her fifth straight selection to the Rolex Junior All-America First Team. In January, she claimed victory at the ANNIKA Invitational, and then in October she won The PING Invitational. Three more top-three finishes during 2012 helped her move to No. 2 in the Polo Golf Rankings.
Shannon Aubert of Reunion, Fla., posted five top-five finishes during the 2012 season and earned first-team Rolex Junior All-America honors for the third year in a row. In addition to winning the Kathy Whitworth Invitational, she finished second at the ANNIKA Invitational and tied for third at the Thunderbird International Junior. Aubert finished the season ranked No. 4 in the Polo Golf Rankings.
Karen Chung of Livingston, N.J., has been named to the Rolex Junior All-America First Team three times (2008, 2011, 2012) and to the Second Team twice (2009, 2010). She posted three top-five finishes during the 2012 season, including a semifinal appearance at the Polo Golf Junior Classic and a runner-up showing at the Rolex Tournament of Champions. She is No. 11 in the Polo Golf Rankings and has verbally committed to Southern Cal.
Ashlan Ramsey of Milledgeville, Ga., is the fifth girl to return to the Rolex Junior All-America First Team. Her 2012 season included a win at the Sea Pines Junior Heritage along with three AJGA top-five finishes. A three-time Rolex Junior All-American, she is currently No. 7 in the Polo Golf Rankings and has verbally committed to Clemson.
The seven remaining First Team selections are: Casey Danielson of Osceola, Wis.; Andrea Lee of Hermosa Beach, Calif.; Esther Lee of Los Alamitos, Calif.; Nicole Morales of South Salem, N.Y.; Sierra Sims of Austin, Texas; Samantha Wagner of Windermere, Fla.; and Lindsey Weaver of Scottsdale, Ariz.
Former Rolex Junior All-Americans in professional golf
Former Rolex Junior All-Americans comprise the top players on the PGA and LPGA Tours. All 12 players on the 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup Team played AJGA tournaments, and eight players earned Rolex Junior All-America recognition during their junior careers: Keegan Bradley, Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker, Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson and Tiger Woods.
On the 2011 U.S. Solheim Cup Team, nine of the 12 players competed in AJGA tournaments as teenagers, and seven were named Rolex Junior All-Americans during their careers: Paula Creamer, Vicky Hurst, Cristie Kerr, Christina Kim, Brittany Lang, Brittany Lincicome, and Morgan Pressel.
Other notable AJGA alumni who help make up the list of past Rolex Junior All-Americans include Rickie Fowler, Trevor Immelman, Hunter Mahan, Bo Van Pelt, Belen Mozo, Inbee Park and Lexi Thompson.