PREVIEW: Junior Invitational at Sage Valley tees off on Thursday
12 Mar 2023
by Jim Young of

see also: Junior Invitational at Sage Valley, Sage Valley Golf Club

The Junior Invitational, recognized by Golfweek as the top junior event in golf gets underway on Thursday at Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, South Carolina.

First played in 2011, the Junior Invitational has become one of the most desired invitations in the world of competitive junior golf. Since its founding in 2011, the event has featured 54 of the top junior boys and last year included girls for the first time. Under the new format, 36 boys and 24 girls will be competing at the same time.

The girls' field will consist of 24 of the world’s top players, and to date, the 2023 field includes the top 10 girls per the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings. The 36-player boys' field has long been considered one of the best in junior golf, and 2023 is no exception, with the top 10 boys per Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings committed to date.

Headling the girls' field is No. 1 ranked Maria Jose Marin, who won the 2022 Junior Orange Bowl International Golf Championship and No. 2 ranked Gianna Clemente, a 14-year-old who Monday-qualified for three consecutive LPGA tournaments in 2022. Yana Wilson, who outlasted Clemente to win the 2022 U.S. Junior Championship is also in the field, as it 2022 Augusta National Women's Amateur champion Anna Davis.

The boys' field, featuring the likes of No. 1 Preston Stout, 2022 AJGA Player of the Year Eric Lee along with Jackson Koivun, who is coming off a win last week at the Dustin Johnson World Juniors, is loaded as well.

Past participants of the Junior Invitational have included some of the top names in golf: Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas, Colin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, Cameron Young, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Anna Davis, Megha Ganne and more. Scheffler, the 2014 Junior Invitational champion, followed up his appearance at the 2022 Junior Invitational by capturing his first major at The Masters.

• • • • •

2023 Girls Field

• No. 1 Maria Jose Marin, who won the 2022 Junior Orange Bowl International Golf Championship and eight junior tournaments in her native Columbia in 2022.
• No. 2 Gianna Clemente, a 14-year-old who Monday-qualified for three consecutive LPGA tournaments in 2022.
• No. 3 Yana Wilson, winner of the 2022 U.S. Junior Championship.
• No. 4 Bailey Shoemaker, runner-up at the 2022 Junior Invitational, winner of the 2022 Florida Women’s Amateur Championship and 2022 U.S. Women’s Amateur semifinalist.
• No. 5 Kaitlyn Schroeder, the 2022 Girls Junior PGA Champion.
• No. 6 Kiara Romero, with six top-10 2022 finishes in counting WAGR events.
• No. 7 Anna Davis, who captured the 2022 Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
• No. 8 Katie Li, who finished runner-up at the 2022 Dixie Amateur and advanced to the round of 16 in the 2022 U.S. Women’s Amateur.
• No. 9 Jaclyn LaHa, winner of the 2022 Under Armour® – Albane Valenzuela Girls Invitational.
• No. 10 Alice Ziyi Zhao, who earned co-medalist honors at the 2022 U.S. Women’s Amateur. Leigh Chien, the 2022 Mariah Stackhouse Girls Invitational champion and quarterfinalist in the 2022 U.S. Women’s Amateur.
• Ting-Hsuan Huang, winner of the 2022 Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship and the 2022 North and South Junior Amateur and is ranked 44th in WAGR.
• Meja Örtengren, No. 14 in WAGR and winner of the 2022 Rolex Tournament of Champions.
• Jiyoo Lim, No. 15 in WAGR and winner of the 2022 Dream Park Cup.
• Minsol Kim, No. 16 in WAGR and winner of both the 2022 Korea Junior Championship – Blue One Cup and the 2022 Song Am Cup.
• Andrea Revuelta, ranked 92nd in WAGR, captured the 2022 Toyota Junior World Cup.
• Nika Ito, who advanced to the round of 32 in the 2022 U.S. Women’s Amateur.

2023 Boys Field

• No. 1 Preston Stout, the 2022 Byron Nelson Junior Champion and 2022 C.T. Pan Junior Champion.
• No. 2 Eric Lee, the 2022 American Junior Golf Association’s (AJGA) boys Player of the Year.
• No. 3 Ethan Fang, who posted top-five finishes at the 2022 K.J. Choi Foundation Texas Junior Championship presented by Mediheal and the 2022 Junior Players Championship.
• No. 4 Ethan Gao, runner-up at the 2022 Jack Burke Jr. Invitational and the 2022 Boy’s Junior PGA Championship.
• No. 5 Nicholas Gross, who has carded eight top-10 junior tournament finishes in 2022.
• No. 6 Jackson Koivun, the 2022 Rolex Tournament of Champions champion.
• No. 7 Carson Kim, with five top-five tournament finishes in 2022.
• No. 8 Jay Leng, winner of the 2022 PING Invitational
• No. 9 Bryan Kim, a 2022 U.S. Amateur participant.
• No. 10 PJ Maybank III, who has notched three wins and eight top-10 finishes in his junior career.
• No. 17 Henry Guan, the 2022 Wyndham Invitational champion.
• Jackson Byrd won the 2021 Matthew NeSmith Junior Championship and has four top-10 junior finishes in his career.
• Albert Hansson, winner of the 2022 R&A Boys Amateur Championship and the 2022 Toyota Junior World Cup.
• Max Herendeen, winner of the 2022 Boys Junior PGA Championship and the 2022 Coachella Amateur.
• Jorge Siyuan Hao, ranked 131st in the WAGR rankings and has seven career junior wins.
• Aldrich Potgieter of South Africa, the 2022 winner of the Amateur Championship.
• Aaron Pounds, ranked No. 27 by Golfweek/Sagarin and won the 2021 Texas Junior Amateur.
• Dylan Shaw-Radford, who captured the 2022 English Boys’ Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship.
• Jack Roberts, the 2021 Southern Junior winner and runner-up at the 2022 Dustin Johnson World Junior.
• Harley Smith, who has two junior titles and ten top-10 finishes.
• Frank Kennedy, winner of the 2022 Portuguese Internacional Amateur Championship.

• • • • •

A Look Back at Last Year

Extra holes were needed to decide last year's champions at Sage Valley. Amalie Leth-Nissen of Denmark punctuated a furious comeback with a birdie on the first playoff hole to defeat Bailey Shoemaker (Dade City, Fla.). Shoemaker had a seven-stroke lead going into the round. On the boys' side, Caleb Surratt (Indian Trail, NC) held off a hard-charging Luke Potter (Encinitas, Calif.) to win the 11th edition of the boys' event with a par on the first extra hole.

ABOUT THE Junior Invitational

The Junior Invitational's mission is to operate the most prestigious junior golf championship in the world—an invitation-only annual event for the top 36 boys and 24 girls from around the globe, hosted by the renowned Sage Valley Golf Club.

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