Play has officially begun at the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship on the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain. The weather couldn't be better after two days of off and on drizzle. We have partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the upper 60s to low 70s. That's a far cry from the sizzling heat our brethren at the U.S. Girls' Junior at Olympia Fields outside of Chicago are experiencing this week.
The Pacific Northwest is one of the few spots in the U.S. not experiencing a heat wave and the competitors have to be loving that.
Today is the first of two stroke-play qualifying rounds. By late Tuesday, we should have our 64 golfers for the match-play portion of the competition.
Jim Liu, 15, of Smithtown, N.Y., is looking to become just the second golfer in Junior Amateur history to successfully defend his title. Liu broke Tiger Woods' age record last year at Egypt Valley when he won the title at 14. Tiger won three consecutive titles from 1991-93 before winning three straight U.S. Amateur titles.
Jordan Spieth also has a chance to be a multiple Junior winner. He won the title in 2009 at 15, but was upset in round two last year. The Dallas resident is headed to the University of Texas this fall, but he's also hoping to make the USA Walker Cup Team. He is ranked in the top 10 of the World Amateur Golf Rankings that is supported by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club and the USGA.
Liu and Spieth tee off this afternoon as does 16-year-old Beau Hossler of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., who qualified for this year's U.S. Open.
But each year, the Junior Amateur also produces new stars and we certainly could see that this week.
We'll keep you updated all week on the website. Feel free to drop us a line at email@example.com. We'll be happy to answer any questions.