There are 128 players in the field who are competing in their first U.S. Junior Amateur and 124 players competing in their first USGA championship.
There are players from 43 states represented in the championship (all but Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico and Rhode Island). There are five foreign countries represented – Australia, Canada, Colombia, Mexico and Korea.
In addition, Carlos Briones, 17, of San Lorenzo, Calif., is from the Philippines and Juan Yumar, 15, who lives in Miami, Fla., but is a citizen of Venezuela who has played on the Venezuelan national junior team.
At age 13, Eric Bae of Korea is the youngest player in the field.
Brett Wilson of Mesa, Ariz., and Jordan Spieth of Dallas, Texas, will each turn 18 on July 27, four days after the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur concludes. They are the oldest players in the field.
There are two birthday boys in the field:
Robert Geibel of Pembroke Pines, Fla., will turn 16 on July 20, the first day of match play at the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur.
Brandon Barrows of Lake Orion, Mich., will turn 14 on July 23, the day the Junior Amateur’s 36-hole championship final will be played. This year, Barrows became the youngest qualifier in the 100-year history of the Michigan State Amateur.
There are two U.S. Junior Amateur champions in the field: 2009 winner Jordan Spieth, 17, of Dallas, Texas, and defending champion Jim Liu, 15, of Smithtown, N.Y., who last year became the youngest winner in the championship’s history, breaking the previous record set by Tiger Woods in 1991.
Spieth has made the cut at the last two PGA Tour Byron Nelson Championships, finishing tied for 16th in 2010 and tied for 32nd in 2011.
Spieth is the only player in the field who is competing in his fourth U.S. Junior Amateur. Liu is one of nine who are playing in their third: Adam Ball, 17, of Richmond, Va.; Andrew Bieber, 16, of Shaker Heights, Ohio; Brian Bullington, 17, of Frankfort, Ill.; Lorens Chan, 17, of Honolulu, Hawaii; Grayson Murray, 17, of Raleigh, N.C.; Cody Proveaux, 17, Leesville, S.C.; Austin Smotherman, 17, of Loomis, Calif.; and William Zalatoris, 14, of Plano, Texas.
Other interesting storylines:
Wes Artac, 15, of Kingwood, Texas, almost died at birth, but credits nurses for getting him breathing.
Derek Bard, 16, of New Hartford, N.Y., also plays on his high school hockey team.
Davis Bateman, 17, of Charlotte, N.C., won the Carmel Country Club Parent Child championship when he was nine years old. It was his first win and got him hooked on golf.
Ryan Benton, 17, of Dothan, Ala., had his first hole-in-one in February. Since then, he’s had two more.
Andrew Bonner, 16, of Ripon, Calif., thinks he is probably the only kid from California who has never been to Disneyland. His parents are in the restaurant business so he grew up touring wineries in Napa and Sonoma, which they told him was Disneyland.
Will Cannon, 17, of Birmingham, Ala., won this year’s Bradley Johnson Memorial, a tournament played in memory of the 2005 U.S. Junior Amateur runner-up who was killed in a car accident in 2006.
Matthew Drake, 17, of Sioux Falls, S.D., has been a captain and assistant captain of his hockey teams during 15 years of playing the sport. He was also the offensive MVP for his high school baseball team twice in the past three years. This year, he’ll be playing on the varsity golf team for the fifth year.
James Feutz, 17, of University Place, Wash., broke his collarbone in four places on June 19, 2007, at Canterwood Golf Club, the day before a U.S. Junior Amateur sectional qualifier. He was scouting the golf course, using a skateboard on the cart path and he fell down a downhill curve and landed on his shoulder. He missed the rest of that summer of golf, including the state junior golf championship that was played at his home course. Last summer, a week after he won the Washington State 4A High School Championship as a sophomore, he shattered the joint on his middle right finger while playing basketball in physical education class and missed the rest of that summer.
BobbyGojuangco, 16, of San Diego, Calif., is a second-degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Zachary Herr, 16, of New Hope, Pa., received the USGA/AJGA Presidential Youth Leadership Award in 2009 in recognition of his creation of the Zach Attacks Cancer Foundation, which has raised $85,000 for cancer research. In 2010, he won the Pennsylvania High School Team Championship with his sister, Erica, who has played in two U.S. Girls’ Junior Championships.
Beau Hossler, 16, of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., is playing in his first U.S. Junior Amateur, but it’s not his first USGA event. He played in the 2009 U.S. Amateur and qualified for the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., where he missed the cut.
Connor Klein, 17, of Lone Tree, Colo., was given a video by his grandmother when he was three years old. That video, Golf’s Greatest U.S. Open Moments, featured highlights from Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, among others, and it fueled Klein’s passion for the game. He preferred watching it over Barney and Sesame Street.
John-Michael Larson, 17, of Spokane, Wash., was a Junior Olympics ski racer until the eighth grade.
Taylor Moore, 17, of Edmond, Okla., loves helping out younger kids, whether it’s at the golf course or babysitting or at the local infant crisis center.
Matthew Nesmith, 17, of North Augusta, S.C., spent a rain delay during a tournament in Jay Haas' house when he was 12 years old. He got to play with Haas’ practice equipment and enjoyed freshly baked cookies from Haas’ wife. Nesmith lives 10 minutes from Augusta National Golf Club and his father used to caddie at the course part-time.
Andy Olsen, 16, of San Antonio, Texas, started playing golf at age 10. Prior to taking up golf he raced quarter midget cars. He traveled across the Midwest and south racing in events.
Sulman Raza, 17, of Eugene, Ore., has traveled the world, including stops at the Great Wall of China and the Taj Majal, and has played golf in 13 foreign countries. He would like to study landscape architecture and design environmentally friendly golf courses. He has also completed the redesign of the fourth green at Emerald Valley Golf Course in Creswell, Ore.
David Sargent, 17, of Davidson, N.C., has been involved with the Davidson College basketball team since he was a ball boy at the age of seven. Former Davidson star Stephen Curry has been a mentor to Sargent.
Scottie Scheffler, of Dallas, Texas, won the 2011 Burke Cup in Corpus Christi, Texas, with his friend James Ragan, who has pediatric bone cancer (www.triumphoverkidcancer.org/about.html).
Trevor Smith, 17, of Newnan, Ga., had heart surgery when he was three years old.
Jordan Sweet, 17, of Bowie, Md., was accepted into the University of Maryland Honors College and awarded an engineering scholarship to the University of Maryland's James Clark School of Engineering.
Zachary Tate, 17, of Leawood, Kan., and Ross Thornton, 17, of Leawood, Kan., are high school teammates at Blue Valley North High School.
Stuart Thomas, 16, of Knoxville, Tenn., traveled solo from Tennessee to Seoul, Korea after he completed the seventh grade to visit a friend from school who lived in Korea. He was 12 years old when he left the U.S. and 13 when he arrived in Seoul. While there, he was able to visit the Demilitarized Zone.
Matt Williams, 15, of Canada, is an artist who has had his art work published.
Woody Woodward, 17, of Bridgeport, W.Va., has had two shoulder surgeries in the last two years. He was just cleared to resume playing golf in December.
Zachary Wright, 17, of Scottsdale, Ariz., is wearing a wrist band in honor of his good friend Jason Jensen, who died in a car accident in 2006. Wright decided to dedicate this year to his friend’s memory.
NathanWunderli, 17, of Salt Lake City, Utah, learned how to play when he lived in Manhattan by hitting golf balls into the Hudson River at the driving range at Chelsea Pier. Wunderli will soon have three adopted siblings from Haiti: Makendy (12), Esterline (8) and Samie (6).