Storylines For 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur


By Brian DePasquale, USGA
July 20, 2013

WHO’S HERE – Among the 156 golfers in the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur field, there are:

Oldest Competitors: Daniel Hudson (17, born 8-2-95), Pablo Torres (17, born 8-5-95), Jim Liu (17, born 8-9-95)

Youngest Competitors: Patrick Welch (13, born 3-14-00), Shuai Ming Wong (13, born 11-14-99)

Average Age of Field: 16.35

USGA champions (1): Jim Liu (2010 Junior Amateur)

USGA Runners-Up (1): Jim Liu (2012 Junior Amateur)

Players in Field with Most Junior Amateur Appearances (2013 included): Jim Liu (5), George Cunningham (4), Scottie Scheffler (4), Justin Suh (3), Jeffrey Swegle (3) and Adam Wood (3)

Number Who Played in 2013 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship (6): George Cunningham, Zecheng Dou, Sam Horsfield, Jooho Lee, Dean Sakata and P.J. Samiere

Wes Artac, 17, is a junior on the Kingwood (Texas) High School team and is making his second U.S. Junior Amateur appearance. Artac and his scholastic golf team played their season with yellow ribbons on their hats to honor teammate Roman Kogucki, who died in an auto accident on Oct. 26. The squad held a fund-raising tournament and will present a scholarship to a district golfer in his name.

Zachary Bauchou, 17, of Forest, Va., is a rising junior at Timberlake Christian School. He shared medalist honors at his 2013 U.S. Open local qualifier to advance to sectionals in Rockville, Md. Bauchou, who reached the Round of 16 at the 2012 U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills C.C., worked his way to the quarterfinals at last month’s 100th Virginia State Amateur.

Cole Berman, 17, was the runner-up at the 35th North and South Junior Amateur Championship. He made a 5-foot putt in a playoff at Bethesda (Md.) Country Club to advance in sectional qualifying to his first U.S. Junior Amateur. Berman, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s junior player of the year in 2012, shot his career-best 66 at Merion Golf Club’s West Course.

Will Bernstein, 16, of New York City, and his older brother Sam, a member of the Yale University golf squad, work together on the “Harlem Children’s Zone Golf Program.” They arrange for Harlem students to travel each week to Chelsea Piers in Manhattan, a multi-sports and recreational complex operated by their father, Tom. The Bernsteins act as mentors and teach golf skills to many youngsters who are being exposed to the game for the first time.

Alex Blue, a 17-year old at Cocoa Beach (Fla.) High School, has a creative moniker. He has been called “Sewer Rat” because his short game is so good he can get up and down out from a sewer. Blue made several one-putt pars during the second round of the Lakes Wales (Fla.) sectional qualifier.

Sam Burns of Shreveport, La., is a rising junior on the Calvary Baptist Academy golf team and will celebrate his 17th birthday during the U.S. Junior Amateur championship. He was the medalist in his 2013 U.S. Open local qualifier two weeks after capturing Louisiana’s Division III high school title and leading Calvary to its fourth consecutive state crown. Burns, who played in this year’s U.S. Open Dallas sectional qualifier, volunteers for the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission and has raised funds for Noah Strickland, whose father was seriously injured in Afghanistan.

Kristian Caparros, 17, qualified for the U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills Country Club and advanced to U.S. Open sectional qualifying in 2012. He led American Heritage School to the 2012 Florida Class 1A state championship. He started playing golf at age 2 and has a putting green in his backyard.

Sean Crocker, 16, advanced to this year’s U.S. Open sectional qualifying round in Newport Beach, Calif., after earning medalist honors with a 70 in local qualifying at La Purisima G.C. His father, Gary, is a retired international Zimbabwean cricketer. Sean, who has been mentored by PGA Tour and Champions Tour veteran Nick Price, was low amateur at the Zimbabwe Open in April.

George Cunningham, of Tucson, Ariz., is competing in his fourth U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. The 17-year-old advanced to the Round of 64 in 2011. Cunningham reached the Round of 32 at the 2013 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. He qualified for the 2010 U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay, the site of the 2015 U.S. Open. He rides a 2004 Harley-Davidson Sportster, a motorcycle he received on his 16th birthday.

Brad Dalke, 15, of Hobart, Okla., is the youngest of seven children and comes from an athletic family. His mother, Kay (Pryor), played on the first University of Oklahoma women’s golf team. His father, Bill, was a linebacker on Oklahoma’s 1975 national championship team. His grandfather, Ken (Pryor), scored the Sooners’ winning basket in the 1947 NCAA national semifinals, a 55-54 victory over Texas. Dalke, a two-time Rolex Junior All-American, reached the Round of 64 at last year’s Junior Amateur and advanced to the 2013 U.S. Open sectional qualifier in Dallas.

Zecheng Dou, 16, of the People’s Republic of China, advanced to the quarterfinals at the 2013 U.S. Amateur Public Links. He reached the Round of 16 at the 2012 U.S. Junior Amateur. Dou became the youngest player to the make the cut in the history of the European Tour’s Volvo China Open this year and eventually tied for 33rd. Dou, who won the 2011 Boys 13-14 Junior World Golf Championship, participated in last year’s USA-China Youth Match at CordeValle Golf Resort in San Martin, Calif. China won the junior competition, 9-7, and Junior Amateur competitor Cheng Jin was a teammate.

Wilson Furr, 15, of Jackson, Miss., founded a non-profit organization with his younger sister, Hartwell, four years ago in an effort to raise awareness of importance of activity and play for children’s health. “Just Have A Ball” addresses the epidemic of childhood obesity in their home state. The group provides athletic gear ranging from balls and racquets to goals and gloves. Furr will compete for the USA in the 2013 USA-China Youth Match, to be played in China the week after the U.S. Junior Amateur.

Jorge Antonio Garcia of Venezuela, is playing in his second U.S. Junior Amateur after advancing to the Round of 64 last year. Garcia led American Heritage School to the 2012 Florida Class 1A state championship as the medalist. The 17-year-old also won the Junior Golf World Cup and led his country to the team championship. He lives with his aunt and attends the Jim McLean Golf School.

Doug Ghim of Arlington Heights, Ill., advanced to the Round of 16 at the 2012 U.S. Junior Amateur. Ghim, who attends Buffalo Grove High, won the 2011 Illinois (IJGA) junior title and tied for third at the state Class 3A championship. His father, Jeff, was a teaching professional and took him to a course at age 5.

Jack Gianniny, 17, of Rochester, N.Y., has a passion for assisting younger children. He volunteers for his club’s junior golf program and tutors at a local elementary school. Gianniny also raises funds for the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation.

Josh Gliege, 15, attends Eagle High School and his father, grandfather and uncle are all pilots. Gliege was fifth at the 2013 Idaho (IDHSAA) Class 5A state championship and won last year’s IGAJ state crown.

Will Gordon, 16, was the medalist at the Murfreesboro, Tenn., sectional qualifier with rounds of 65 and 68. He recorded a pair of top-10 finishes this year at the Western Junior Amateur and Southern Junior Amateur. Gordon is a volunteer at the Preston House Alzheimer’s Assisted Living and participates in activities with the residents.

Benjamin Griffin, 17, of Chapel Hill, N.C., has won North Carolina’s state high school 4-A championship two of the last three years. He shot rounds of 67 and 68 at Pinehurst No. 8 Centennial Golf Course to win in 2013. The rising senior at East Chapel High played in this year’s U.S. Open sectional qualifier in Rockville, Md. He advanced to the Round of 16 at last year’s U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.

Will Grimmer, 16, of Cincinnati, Ohio, shot an 11-under-par 59 in the second round of the 35th North-South Junior Amateur at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club (No. 1 Course). The 16-year-old junior at Mariemont High School finished fourth at the championship. Grimmer won the Ohio Junior Amateur in June and was fifth at last year’s Ohio Division II state championship.

Lucas Herbert, 17, was the runner-up after losing in a three-man playoff at the Australian PGA Tour’s Heritage Classic in January of 2013. Herbert recently finished second at the Junior Golf World Cup and led Australia to a second-place finish. Herbert, who attends Bendigo Senior Secondary College in the state of Victoria, was third at last year’s Australian Junior.

Sam Horsfield, of England, won the 2013 Florida State Amateur by 11 strokes with a 72-hole total of 278 on June 23. A few days later he was the medalist in Junior Amateur qualifying at Gainesville (Fla.) C.C. The 16-year-old also carded a 61 in 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. In 2012, Horsfield advanced to match play at the Junior Amateur (Round of 32) and Amateur Public Links (Round of 64), and qualified for the U.S. Amateur. Horsfield, who has lived in Florida since age 5, has won two consecutive City of Orlando Amateurs and set a tournament record each year.

Cheng Jin, a 15-year-old from China, played in the USA-China Youth Match in August of 2012 at CordeValle Golf Resort in San Martin, Calif. His teammates included Guan Tianlang, who played in this year’s Masters Tournament, and Zecheng Dou, who is competing at the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur. China won the junior competition, 9-7.

Jacob Joiner, 17, and his younger brother, Tyler, have been chasing their golfing dreams in the family’s 2006 Honda Accord. Their father, Michael, and mother, Christie, have made some sacrifices to further their golf careers, including living in a two-bedroom apartment. Mom even took a job at a local golf club to help pay for membership dues at their home course. Dad manages his own computer business despite knowing he could make a larger salary at a bigger corporation.

Chase Johnson, 17, of Barberton, Ohio, was the runner-up at the 2012 Division I state championship as a member of the Walsh Jesuit High School team. Johnson, a product of the First Tee of Akron, played in the 2011 Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links with two-time USGA champion Bruce Fleisher (1968 Amateur, 2001 Senior Open). Johnson played in last year’s Junior Amateur.

Johnny Jones, 17, of Flower Mound, Texas, is a five-time Texas Junior Golf Tour Player of the Year. He attends Byron Nelson High School and was voted team captain as a sophomore. His older brother, Josh, played golf at the University of North Texas and his older sister, Sara, is a current member of the Stephen F. Austin University golf squad.

Jake Kelley, 17, of Littleton, Colo., has a second degree black belt in Taekwondo and has been knocked out in the ring many times. Kelley, who is playing in his first USGA championship, has led Regis Jesuit High School to three consecutive Class 5A state golf titles.

Jonathan Keppler, 16, is the son of Stephen Keppler, the director of golf at Marietta (Ga.) Country Club who played for Great Britain and Ireland in the 1983 Walker Cup Match. Stephen was recently inducted into the Georgia Hall of Fame. Before he received his driver’s license, Jonathan won the state’s 2012 5A state championship and was chosen Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County Golfer of the Year.

Jooho Lee of Canada, has already shot a 59 and has 12 holes-in-one as a 17-year-old. Lee, who was born in South Korea and lives in British Columbia, advanced to the Round of 64 at the 2012 Junior Amateur and qualified for last year’s Amateur Public Links.

Jim Liu of Smithtown, N.Y., became the youngest U.S. Junior Amateur champion when he won in 2010 at age 14. He also advanced to the 2012 Junior Amateur championship match and was defeated by Andy Hyeon Bo Shim, 4 and 3. Liu has played in nine USGA championships, including four Junior Amateurs where he has a 14-3 match-play record. A four-time AJGA 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.

Zander Lozano, 17, earned a spot on the 2013 National Junior Team and posted a 3-0 record in leading USA to victory over Scotland at Carnoustie Golf Resort. He recorded a double eagle and eagle in the same round at Club of Concan (Texas) on Feb. 25, 2012. Lozano marks his golf balls, “Phil 4:13,” after his favorite Bible verse, Philippians 4:13.

Cole Madey, 16, plays on the same Lake Oswego High School golf team with his older brother, Clayton. They have led the program to three consecutive Class 6A state championships. Both brothers work with Brian Henninger, who recently qualified for his first U.S. Senior Open and tied for 56th.

Maverick McNealy, 17, of Portola Valley, Calif., advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2012 U.S. Junior Amateur, his first USGA championship, and was defeated by Matthew Scobie, 20 holes. McNealy, who will play for Stanford University in 2013-14, is also a captain and defenseman for the San Jose Junior Sharks, an AAU ice hockey team that has captured two state titles.

Gustavo Morantes, 17, helped lead Venezuela to the 2013 Junior Golf World Cup team championship. Morantes, who is among the Top 400 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, also represented his country at this year’s Copa de las Americas, held at Doral Golf Resort & Spa, in Miami, Fla.

Patrick Murphy, of Canada, is a member of the Team Alberta Training Program which develops the province’s best golfers. Murphy was runner-up at the Canadian Boys’ National Under-16 Championship and is a two-time San Diego Junior Amateur champion. PGA Tour professional Stephen Ames mentors the 16-year-old, who qualified for last month’s PGA Tour Canada ATB Financial Classic. Murphy was born 250 miles from the Arctic Circle in Yellowknife. He now lives in Crossfield, where he drives a swather (farm machine that cuts hay or small grain crops) to help with the fall harvest.

Alvaro Ortiz, 17, and Aaron Terrazas, 16, of Mexico, have played golf together on many occasions. Each player shot a pair of 69s in the Houston, Texas sectional qualifier at Memorial Park G.C. They were also teammates in leading Mexico to a third-place finish at the Junior World Cup. Terrazas won the 2013 Mexican Junior National title and Ortiz was ninth in the same championship.

Easton Paxton, 14, was the medalist at the Buffalo, Wyo., sectional and shot a pair of 68s to win by seven strokes. Paxton won the 2012 Wyoming State Junior Amateur with an 18-foot eagle putt on the final hole. He advanced to the Round of 16 at this year’s Wyoming Match Play Championship.

Michael Pisciotta, 17, of Alpharetta, Ga., qualified for match play at last year’s U.S. Junior Amateur. He led Alpharetta to a third-place finish at the 2012 Class 5A state championship and played in last year’s China-USA Youth Match. Pisciotta is a player representative on the 2013 AJGA Board of Directors and received the Paul S. Simon Character Award for his work with the Children’s Tumor Foundation. His older sister, Caitlin, is a member of the Southern Methodist University golf team.

Caleb Proveaux, 15, of Lexington, S.C., is playing in his second U.S. Junior Amateur after advancing to match play last year. His older brother, Cody, twice qualified for Junior Amateur match play and reached the Round of 16 in 2010. Caleb caddied for his brother, who is now a member of the Clemson University golf squad, at the PGA Tour’s 2012 FedEx St. Jude Classic.

Ivan Camilo Ramirez, 16, of Colombia, is among the Top 400 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He finished fifth at the 2012 Junior Golf World Championships (Boys 13-14 division). He was nominated by Vanguardia Liberal for his country’s top individual in amateur sports last year.

Davis Richards, who turned 16 earlier this month, was born 11 weeks prior to his expected birth date in 1997 and the medical staff had to deliver him by C-section in order to save his mother’s life. His weight was two pounds at one point before his health improved a few months later. Richards, who tied for third at the recent North Carolina 3-A state championship, credits the Charlotte Presbyterian Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for getting his family through the ordeal.

Ryan Ruffels, 15, is considered by some the best talent from Australia since Jason Day, a U.S. Open runner-up in 2011 and 2013. His parents, Ray and Anna-Maria, were both tennis professionals. Ray won 16 doubles titles, including the 1977 Australian Open, and played on Australia’s Davis Cup squad. Anna-Maria (Fernandez) captured five WTA doubles titles. Ryan received his first cut-down club from Mark O’Meara when his parents were in-house tennis pros at Isleworth G. & C.C. in Florida.

P.J. Samiere birdied the second playoff hole to earn the only spot at the Waikoloa, Hawaii sectional qualifier. Samiere, who was born in Tokyo, played in his first USGA championship at the 2013 U.S. Amateur Public Links. He advanced to the Round of 32. The 17-year-old, who attends the Punahou School in Honolulu, was third at the 2013 Hawaii state championship and won the Interscholastic League of Honolulu title.

Scottie Scheffler, 17, is playing in his fourth consecutive U.S. Junior Amateur. He has qualified for match play the past three years, twice advancing to the Round of 32. Scheffler won the Texas 4A state championship for the second year in a row in 2013 and punctuated his win with a hole in one during the final round. He also led Highland Park High School to the state’s team title. Scheffler, who played in this year’s U.S. Open sectional qualifier in Dallas, is inspired by his friend, James Ragan, who is battling pediatric bone cancer. Scheffler’s older sister, Callie, is a member of the Texas A&M University golf team.

Sawyer Shaw, 17, was the medalist in Boynton Beach, Fla., sectional qualifying with rounds of 68 and 72. Shaw, who attends Cardinal Newman High School, was the Florida State Golf Association Junior Player of the Year and advanced to U.S. Open sectional qualifying in 2011.

Samuel Sicard, 16, of Woodbury, Minn., was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age two and used a feeding tube for six years until he was 12. Sicard shared medalist honors at the Monticello, Minn., sectional qualifier with a second-round 67. He finished eighth at the 2013 Class 2A state championship.

Paul Stankey, 15, is a rising freshman at Providence Academy and shared medalist honors at the Monticello, Minn., sectional qualifier. He tied for seventh at the 2012 Class 2A state championship as a seventh grader. His brother, Scott, is the current junior club champion at Hazeltine National Golf Club, in Chaska, Minn., the site of two U.S. Opens.

Justin Suh, 17, will play in his third consecutive U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. He advanced to the Round of 64 in 2011 and 2012. Suh, who is a member of the Evergreen Valley High School team, was chosen All-San Jose Mercury News. His sister, Hannah, a sophomore at University of California-Berkeley, qualified for the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open.

Jeffrey Swegle, 17, of West Des Moines, Iowa, will compete in his third U.S. Junior Amateur. He advanced to the Round of 64 in 2011. Swegle, who has earned first-team all-state honors three times, was chosen 2011 Iowa Golf Association Junior Player of the Year.

Pablo Torres, 17, of Colombia, is among the Top 400 in the World Golf Amateur Ranking. He has won junior championships in the United States, Ecuador, Guatemala and the United States.

Patrick Welch of Providence, R.I. is the youngest player in the field at age 13. He 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, who putts cross-handed with a low left hand, has also qualified for the 2013 Rhode Island State Amateur.

Jeremy Wall, 17, of Brielle, N.J., will make his second Junior Amateur appearance after playing in 2011. He was the runner-up in the 2013 Metropolitan Golf Association Junior Championship. Wall’s older brother, advanced to 2013 U.S. Open sectional qualifying in Purchase, N.Y., and will attend Lehigh University this fall.

Aaron Wise, 17, of Lake Elsinore, Calif., won the Oceanside, Calif., sectional qualifier by 13 strokes with rounds of 65 and 64 at El Camino C.C. Wise, who attends Corona Santiago High School and played in last year’s U.S. Amateur, eagled the 503-yard, par-5 10th in both Junior Amateur qualifying rounds.

Adam Wood, 17, will participate in his third consecutive U.S. Junior Amateur after qualifying for match play the previous two years. Wood won the 2013 Indiana state championship and is a three-time all-state selection. He has studied Mandarin Chinese for five years and played the violin in the Zionsville (Ind.) Middle School Orchestra.

Cameron Young, 16, is the son of Sleepy Hollow Country Club (Scarborough, N.Y.) head professional David Young, and his mother, Barbara, is also a former golf pro. Young won the 2013 Metropolitan Golf Association Junior Championship and also the 2011 MGA Carter Cup, held at Baltusrol. A rising junior at Fordham Prep, Young plays on the golf and hockey teams.

Andy Zhang of the People’s Republic of China, had a compelling 2012 season. He became the youngest player (age 14) to play in the U.S. Open, held at The Olympic Club in San Francisco last year. Zhang also qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur (Round of 64) and the U.S. Amateur, going on to play in the European Masters.

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