- Junior World photo
Here are the champions from all divisions of the IMG Junior World Golf Championships (winning margin in parentheses):
Boys 15-18: Taishi Moto, Japan (4 shots)
Girls 15-18: Keeley Marx, Australia (1)
Boys 13-14: Aiden Tiet, Garland, Texas (2)
Girls 13-14: Uno Neda, Japan (7)
Boys 11-12: Nemo Tsai, Ann Arbor, Mich. (1)
Girls 11-12: Fay Jia, Murrieta, Calif. (4)
Boys 9-10: Hiroto Ozawa, Japan (playoff)
Girls 9-10: Hailey Kim, Simi Valley, Calif. (3)
Boys 7-8: Skyy Wilding, Thailand (8)
Girls 7-8: Anna Ponghathaikul, Thailand (4)
Boys 6 & under: Alexander Armbruster, Oak Park, Calif. (9)
Girls 6 & under: Aviana Vilar, Peoria, Ariz. (3)
ROUND 2 NOTES
The list of Japanese winners of major pro and amateur golf titles has grown rapidly in recent years. Hideki Matsuyama
(The Masters), Tsubasa Kajitani
(Augusta National Women's Amateur), and Keita Nakajima
(Asia-Pacific Amateur) all won major events in 2021 and have no doubt inspired a wave of younger players to walk in their footsteps. Could Taishi Moto be next? Moto shot a 6-under 66 on the South Course at Torrey Pines to reach 10 under and take a five-shot lead at the midway point of the Boys 15-18 division.
The leaderboard for the Girls 15-18 division is much tighter, with 20 players within four shots of a lead shared by Kelli Ann Strand (Challis, Idaho) and Sammie Miller (Brentwood, Calif.), who sit at 5 under through two rounds on the North Course at Torrey Pines.
The sooner kids can get used to shooting low scores, the more comfortable they will be going deep. The Girls 9-10 Division might be taking that adage a little far this week at Sycuan Resort's Willow Glen Golf Course. Nine players are double-digits under par through two rounds, with Sabrina Wong (Hong Kong) and Hailey Kim (Simi Valley, Calif.) tied at the top at 15 under par.
ROUND 1 NOTES
How old were you when you first shot a 63? Most of us are still waiting! But not 12-year-old Nemo Tsai of Ann Arbor, Mich., who fired a 9-under 63 at Arrowood Golf Course to take the lead in the Boys 11-12 division. Nemo, named after the loveable fish in the movie "Finding Nemo", was a participant in the Food Network’s “Kids Baking Championship” last year. His is a fascinating story and you can read more about him in this San Diego Tribune feature
It is inherent in the name of the event -- "Junior World" -- that the field is truly international. And that can be seen in the round 1 leaderboards. Six countries are represented in the top 10 of the boys 15-18 leaderboard, topped by high school sophomore Trevor Garus of Boise, Idaho with a 5-under 67 on the South Course at Torrey Pines.
Seven countries make up the top 10 of the girls 15-18 leaderboard. High school junior Kara Kaneshiro of Honolulu, Hawaii leads by three shots after a 7-under 65 on the North Course at Torrey Pines.
PREVIEW AND REPORT FROM THE GROUND AT TORREY PINES
The opening ceremony (AmateurGolf.com photo)
Tiger Woods established a winning tradition in San Diego (and Torrey Pines) long before picking up PGA Tour wins at The Farmers Invitational and the 2008 U.S. Open.
At IMG Junior World Championship, Woods won his age division six times.
Lorena Ochoa, Amy Alcott, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Craig Stadler, Corey Pavin, John Cook, Billy Mayfair, Anthony Kim and Jason Day all earned trophies here. It's a tradition that has brought the world's best golfers to San Diego for over 50 years.
Last year, Gavin Aurilia
won the oldest boy's division. Aurilia finished at 3-under 281 on rounds of 72-71-66-72 to earn a four-stroke victory
over Matthew Broder of Phoenix, Ariz. The son of former MLB star Rich enrolled at USC this fall and has aged out of defending his title. Sarunchana Rattanasin of Thailand won the girl's title on the Torrey Pines North Course, posting a 6-under total for 72-holes.
Now being played with strong support from title sponsor IMG Academy and supporting sponsors like Callaway Golf and StrackaLine, the Junior World Championships returns for its 54th anniversary with balls in the air on Tuesday, July 12.
The tournament hosts over 1,200 juniors from 51 countries and 42 states showcasing its international representation and cultural diversity. It turns into a family affair for most of the young players -- some under 6-years-old -- who travel to San Diego from across the globe.
The tournament is more than a vacation to "America's Finest City" for these families -- it has long been known as a recruiting haven for college coaches looking to identify the best players for their respective golf programs. This year there may be as many as 100 of those coaches in attendance, with most of them walking the fairways of the South and North courses at Torrey Pines, where boys (South) and girls (North) aged 15-18 compete.
“This event continues to bring the best junior players from around the world to San Diego,” said Megan Mahoney, Executive Director of the IMG Academy Junior World Championships. “Our tournament continues to grow each year in size and in talent and we can’t wait to see some incredible golf next week throughout San Diego County.”
This year's festivities began on Saturday, July 9 and Sunday, July 10 with registration and the IMG Academy Putting Championship.
The competition begins at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 12. Host courses for the event include Sycuan Resort, Shadowridge Golf Club, Arrowood Golf Course, Country Club of Rancho Bernardo, Bernardo Heights Country Club and Torrey Pines South and North Courses.
I've enjoyed hosting several competitors over the years, including Bryson DeChambeau
in 2009, when he finished T9 as a 15-year-old. (Emiliano Grillo
won that year.) He would go on to finish runner-up to Beau Hossler
as a 17-year-old in 2011.
If you live near San Diego or happen to be visiting the area on vacation, watching the 15-18-year-old boys and girls compete at Torrey Pines is a wonderful experience. But checking out the youngest players in the 6-U division can be equally enjoyable. It's like watching miniature Tour players, replete with logo caps, outfits, gloves hanging from their back pockets, and swings that don't look so miniature!
All course assignments and tournament pairings can be found by clicking the "results" link below and following the links to the division you are interested in following.View results for IMG Junior World