U.S. JUNIOR AMATEUR
U.S. Junior Amateur: Inside the Field
July 12, 2017
By Brian DePasquale, USGA
An inside look at the 156 competitors in the 2017 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship.
Oldest Competitors: Tyler Strafaci (18, born 7-23-98), Min Woo Lee (18, born 7-27-98), Mark Goetz (18, born 8-10-98), Christian Salzer (18, born 8-11-98), Davis Shore (18, born 8-25-98), Lane Wallace (18, born 9-10-98), Blake Tomlinson (18, born 9-15-98), Jacob Luett (18, born 9-17-98), Wells Padgett (18, born 9-23-98), Won Jun Lee (18, born 9-24-98), Logan White (18, born 9-27-98), Cameron Meeks (18, born 9-28-98)
Youngest Competitors: Zachary Shallat (13, born 3-9-04), Scotty Kennon (14, born 9-26-02), Matt Hopley (15, born 6-14-02), Ryan Smith (15, born 5-10-02), Rhett Sellers (15, born 5-2-02), Connery Meyer (15, born 2-4-02), Akshay Bhatia (15, born 1-31-02), Joseph Pagdin (15, born 11-24-01)
Average Age of Field: 16.99
U.S. States Represented – There are 38 states represented in the 2017 U.S. Junior Amateur: California (18), Florida (9), Texas (9), North Carolina (7), Georgia (5), Illinois (5), New Jersey (5), Tennessee (5), Indiana (4), Minnesota (4), New York (4), Ohio (4), Oklahoma (4), Pennsylvania (4), Washington (4), Alabama (3), Colorado (3), Massachusetts (3), Missouri (3), South Carolina (3), Arizona (2), Kansas (2), Maryland (2), Nebraska (2), Oregon (2), Utah (2), Virginia (2), Arkansas (1), Connecticut (1), Hawaii (1), Idaho (1), Iowa (1), Kentucky (1), Mississippi (1), Montana (1), Nevada (1), New Hampshire (1) and Wisconsin (1).
International – There are 17 countries represented in the 2017 U.S. Junior Amateur: United States (131), Canada (5), Australia (3), the People’s Republic of China (3), Japan (2), Chinese Taipei (1), England (1), Guatemala (1), Hong Kong (1), India (1), Indonesia (1), Italy (1), the Republic of Korea (1), the Philippines (1), Slovakia (1), South Africa (1) and Thailand (1).
USGA Champions (3): Frankie Capan (2017 Amateur Four-Ball), Min Woo Lee (2016 Junior Amateur), Shuai Ming Wong (2017 Amateur Four-Ball).
Players in Field with Most Junior Amateur Appearances (2017 included): Noah Goodwin (4), Won Jun Lee (4), John Pak (4), Davis Shore (4), Shuai Ming Wong (4), Frankie Capan (3), Brandon Gillis (3), Cole Hammer (3), Joe Highsmith (3), Eugene Hong (3), Eddy Lai (3), Brandon Mancheno (3), Chris Nido (3), Wells Padgett (3), Christian Salzer (3), Lane Wallace (3).
Played in 2016 U.S. Junior Amateur (32): Frankie Capan, Ben Carr, Austin Eckroat, Wei Wei Gao, Ryan Gerard, Brandon Gillis, Noah Goodwin, Aman Gupta, Ryan Hall, Cole Hammer, Garrick Higgo, Joe Highsmith, Eugene Hong, Lincoln Johnson, Andrew Kozan, Tommy Kuhl, Min Woo Lee, Won Jun Lee, Brandon Mancheno, Chris Nido, Noah Norton, Kaito Onishi, Wells Padgett, John Pak, Trueman Park, Cole Ponich, Davis Shore, James Song, Lane Wallace, Cecil Wegener, Shuai Ming Wong, Wocheng Ye.
Played in 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur (26): Davis Bryant, Parker Coody, Viraj Garewal, Brandon Gillis, Noah Goodwin, Chris Gotterup, Cole Hammer, Joe Highsmith, Eugene Hong, Alvin Kwak, Eddy Lai, Won Jun Lee, Kaiwen Liu, Brandon Mancheno, Chris Nido, Wells Padgett, John Pak, Turk Pettit, Trent Phillips, Christian Salzer, Clay Seeber, Davis Shore, Tyler Strafaci, Austin Vukovits, Lane Wallace, Matthew Wolff.
Played in 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur (9): Garrett Barber, Colin Bowles, Frankie Capan, Noah Goodwin, Won Jun Lee, John Pak, Christian Salzer, Davis Shore, Shuai Ming Wong.
Played in 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur (1): Shuai Ming Wong.
Played in 2012 U.S. Junior Amateur (2): Eddy Lai, Parker Reddig.
Played in 2015 U.S. Open (1): Cole Hammer.
Played in 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball (7): Akshay Bhatia, Frankie Capan, Trueman Park, Davis Shore, Ryan Smith, Shuai Ming Wong, Noah Woolsey.
Played in 2016 U.S. Amateur (8): Noah Goodwin, Garrick Higgo, Min Woo Lee, Won Jun Lee, Kaiwen Liu, James Song, Matthew Wolff, Shuai Ming Wong.
Played in 2015 U.S. Amateur (10): Ricky Castillo, Austin Eckroat, Noah Goodwin, Cole Hammer, Eugene Hong, Ryggs Johnston, Andrew Kozan, Brandon Mancheno, Tyler Strafaci, Noah Woolsey.
Jake Beber-Frankel, 15, of Miami, Fla., tied for 10th in the 2016 FHSAA Class 1A state high school championship as a member of the Ransom Everglades High team. He tied for 29th in 2014 and tied for 35th in 2015. His twin sister Phoebe tied for fifth in the FHSAA Class 1A girls’ state championship. She attempted to qualify for the upcoming U.S. Girls’ Junior and finished as a second alternate in the Hobe Sound, Fla., sectional. Their father David has directed several successful studio films, including “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Marley & Me,” while their mother owns a Miami advertising agency. Their grandfather, Max, was the executive editor of the New York Times.
Akshay Bhatia, 15, of Wake Forest, N.C., advanced to match play with partner Grayson Wotnosky in this year’s U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, his first USGA championship. He competed in 2017 U.S. Open sectional qualifying at Hawks Ridge Golf Club in Ball Ground, Ga., after earning one of five spots in the Raleigh, N.C., local qualifier. He tied for fourth in the Western Junior Championship on June 22. Bhatia, whose sister Rhea is a member of the Queens University of Charlotte team, aced the 17th hole at Pinehurst No. 2 when he was age 12.
Davis Bryant, 17, of Aurora, Colo., was born 14 weeks premature, weighed 1 pound, 10 ounces and spent 105 days in the hospital before his parents could take him home. Bryant, who is competing in his second U.S. Junior Amateur, was the runner-up in the 2016 CHSAA Class 5A state championship as a member of the Eaglecrest High School team. He once caddied for Pro Football Hall of Fame and Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway in the Colorado Senior Open.
Joe Bultman, 17, of Shawnee, Kan., finished third at the 2016 U.S. Kids Teen World Championship at Pinehurst No. 2. He tied for 12th in this year’s KSHSAA state championship as a member of the Shawnee Mission Northwest High School team. Bultman was chosen Kansas City Golf Association Junior Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016 and was the KCGA Boys’ Match Play runner-up last year.
Frankie Capan, 17, of North Oaks, Minn., and partner Shuai Ming Wong won the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club. Capan and Wong birdied five of the last eight holes to rally past Kyle Hudelson and Clark Collier, 2 and 1. Capan, a rising high school senior, advanced to the Round of 16 in last year’s U.S. Junior Amateur, losing to eventual champion Min Woo Lee in 19 holes. Capan, who also reached match play in the 2014 Junior Amateur, won the Toyota Junior Golf World Cup on June 16. In 2016, he set a tournament scoring record in winning the 2016 Puerto Rico Junior Open and went on to compete in the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open.
Ricky Castillo, 16, of Yorba Linda, Calif., was the youngest player in the 2015 U.S. Amateur at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club. A rising junior at Valencia High School, Castillo was a 2016 Rolex Junior All-American and has played on two Wyndham Cup West teams (2016, 2017). His brother Derek just completed his freshman year at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). Derek competed in the 2013 U.S Junior Amateur and 2014 U.S. Amateur.
Parker Coody, 17, of Plano, Texas, is the grandson of 1971 Masters champion Charles Coody, who played in 18 U.S. Opens. Parker, who reached match play in the 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur, won the 2017 Texas UIL Class 6A state championship with a 36-hole score of 139 (71-68). He and his twin brother Pierceson helped Plano West High finished second in the team standings. The brothers led Plano West to the 2016 Class 6A state title.
Hudson Dubinski, 17, of Columbia, Mo., is a member of a sports family. His brother Jonah is a sophomore offensive lineman on the University of Missouri team, while a second brother, Jackson, is a junior guard on the Columbia (Mo.) College team. A third brother, Skylar, played basketball at Westminster (Mo.) College. Hudson helped Rock Bridge High School win the 2015 MSHSAA Class 4A state championship when he placed second. He tied for fifth at this year’s 4A state championship.
Austin Eckroat, 18, of Edmond, Okla., won his second OSSA Class 6A state championship in 2017 as Edmond North High School claimed the state title for the 12th time in the last 13 years. Eckroat won the 2014 Class 6A individual state crown as a freshman and was second as a junior last year. Eckroat, who advanced to the Round of 16 in last year’s U.S. Junior Amateur, won the 2016 Junior Invitational at Sage Valley and finished second to Joaquin Niemann in the same tournament this year.
Doug Ergood, 17, of Mount Laurel, N.J., finished ninth in the 2017 NJSGA State Amateur with a 72-hole score of 4-under 284. He is competing in his first USGA championship. He practices mixed martial arts (black belt in taekwondo) and uses meditation and deep-breathing techniques to enhance his golf training. Ergood participates in food-packing events with the charity Feed My Starving Children, which provides meals for the malnourished.
Peter Fountain, 16, of Raleigh, N.C., has two older brothers who played college golf. Richard earned all-Southern Conference recognition at Davidson College and Preyer is a rising junior on the University of North Carolina team. Their mother Emily (Preyer) was a member of the Princeton University tennis team from 1978-81. Peter tied for ninth in this year’s NCHSAA Class 4A state championship and helped Broughton High School finish fourth.
Chris Fosdick, 16, of Middlefield, Conn., lost his mother (Julie) to a rare liver cancer when he was 11. After her passing, he turned to Lyman Orchards Golf Club and took up the game. His story was featured in a Golf Digest article, “The Game is Helping Raise My Son.” Fosdick, who has a twin sister Sarah, has been among the top finishers (second, 2016; third, 2017) at the CIAC Division I state high school championship. He was chosen 2016 New Haven Register Area Player of the Year and was this year’s Southern Connecticut Conference Player of the Year.
Wei Wei Gao, 17, of the Philippines, advanced the quarterfinals of the 2016 U.S. Junior Amateur at The Honors Course in Ooltewah, Tenn. He earned the No. 7 seed in the match-play bracket and recorded the 12th known hole-in-one in championship history when he aced the third hole with a 4-iron. In 2017, Gao, who will attend the University of Virginia this fall, finished second in the Philippine Junior Amateur and sixth in the Philippine Amateur.
Angelo Giantsopoulos, 17, of Canada, is competing in his first USGA championship. He will attend Drexel University in 2017-18. Giantsopoulus was the runner-up in the 2016 Northern Junior Championship and placed third at the Junior Spring Championship in his home province of Ontario. His sister Elaine was a 2016 Drive, Chip & Putt national finalist and competed at Augusta National.
Brandon Gillis, 18, of Nashua, N.H., reached the quarterfinals of the 2016 U.S. Junior Amateur. Gillis, who will be a senior at Nashua North High School, won the 2016 NHIAA Division I state championship by nine strokes with a 36-hole score of 138 (68-70). He captured the 2016 Francis Ouimet Junior Stroke Play and 2015 New Hampshire Junior Golf Association titles. Gillis is competing in his third U.S. Junior Amateur.
Noah Goodwin, 17, of Corinth, Texas, was the runner-up to Min Woo Lee in last year’s U.S. Junior Amateur. He reached the Round of 16 the previous year. Goodwin has advanced to match play in the U.S. Amateur twice (2015, 2016) and is fully exempt from qualifying into next month’s U.S. Amateur at The Riviera Country Club. Goodwin, the 2016 Rolex Junior Player of the Year, shot a course-record 59 at Oakmont Country Club (Corinth, Texas) in June. Goodwin, who tied for 13th in this year’s Sunnehanna Amateur, has the same swing coach (Cameron McCormick) as 2015 U.S. Open and two-time U.S. Junior Amateur champion Jordan Spieth. His father Jeff is a professor of kinesiology at the University of North Texas.
Cole Hammer, 17, of Houston, Texas, is playing in his sixth USGA championship. Hammer, who was the third-youngest player to compete in the U.S. Open when he played at Chambers Bay in 2015, reached match play in the 2015 U.S. Amateur. He also advanced to the U.S. Junior Amateur match-play bracket in 2015 (Round of 32) and 2016 (Round of 16). Hammer, a Rolex Junior All-American who had elbow surgery last September, tied for 10th in this year’s Northeast Amateur and posted top-five finishes in the Jones Cup Invitational (third) and Azalea Invitational (T-2).
Garrick Higgo, 18, of South Africa, reached the Round of 64 in last year’s U.S. Junior Amateur and played in the 2016 U.S. Amateur. He won this year’s Cape Province Open by holing a flop shot on the fourth playoff hole after making a birdie on each of the previous three extra holes. Higgo advanced to the third round of match play in the 2017 South African Amateur, where he lost to eventual champion Christo Lamprecht. He tied for fourth in the South African Boys U19 Championship and reached the first round in The Amateur, conducted by The R&A. In 2016, he won the Central Gauteng Amateur.
Joe Highsmith, 17, of Lakewood, Wash., is competing in his third consecutive U.S. Junior Amateur. He advanced to the Round of 32 last year and Round of 64 in 2015. Highsmith won the 2017 WIAA Class 4A state championship and helped Bellarmine Prep capture its third consecutive state crown. Highsmith, who won this year’s Washington Junior Golf Association Open, finished third in last year’s WSGA State Amateur, including a second-round 65 at Tacoma Country & Golf Club.
Eugene Hong, 17, of Orlando, Fla., advanced to the semifinal round of the U.S. Junior Amateur in both 2015 and 2016. He lost to eventual champion Min Woo Lee, 1 up, last year. Hong, who is a rising senior at Circle Christian School, won the 2016 FHSAA State Class 1A Championship and was the runner-up in 2014. He was also the runner-up in the 2015 FSGA Boys’ Junior (ages 13-15). Hong, who is fully exempt into next month’s U.S. Amateur, lost in a playoff to Tyson Alexander for the third spot in the 2017 U.S. Open sectional qualifier in Tequesta, Fla. He was chosen 2017 USA Today Boys Golfer of the Year.
Matt Hopley, 15, of Canada, became the youngest player to tee it up in a Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada event when he received a sponsor’s exemption into the GolfBC Championship. Hopley played on the Gallagher’s Canyon Golf and Country Club course where his father Peter is the general manager and his teacher, Chris Trunzer, is an instructor. He tied for second in this year’s B.C. Single A High School Championship with a final-round 68 and helped Immaculata High win the title.
Cameron John, 18, of Australia, is playing in his first USGA championship. He won this year’s Australian Boys Amateur (played on a par-69 course) with a 72-hole score of 7-under 269. John tied for seventh in the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley and tied for ninth in the Australian Master of the Amateurs. He was one of three amateurs to make the 36-hole cut in the Korea Open on June 4. In 2016, John won the Scottish Open Stroke Play Championship and was fifth in the Aaron Baddeley International Junior.
Ryggs Johnston, 17, of Libby, Mont., is competing in his first U.S. Junior Amateur after having qualified for the 2015 U.S. Amateur at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club. In 2017, Johnston claimed his second consecutive MHSA Class B state championship by 14 strokes following rounds of 61 and 67 at Marias Valley Golf Club. His 128 total set an all-class state record for low score. Johnston twice placed second at the U.S. Kids Teen World Championships (age 14 in 2014; ages 15-16 in 2015).
Scotty Kennon, 14, of Bandon, Ore., is a caddie at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort and attends Oregon Connections Academy. Kennon was the runner-up in the 2016 Oregon Junior Amateur and was a semifinalist in the intermediate division the previous year. He is a three-time medalist in the OJGA Centennial Junior (2015, 2016, 2017). He shot a 64 in the Centennial Junior’s second round to force a playoff and then birdied the first extra hole to win his third title on June 11.
Luke Kluver, 17, of Norfolk, Neb., is believed to be the first Nebraska high school golfer to reach U.S. Open sectional qualifying since Tom Sieckmann in 1972. Kluver won the 2016 NSAA Class A state championship by making a 15-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole and finished as runner-up this year. He also helped Norfolk High win the 2017 Class A state basketball title with a 23-4 record. His mother Michelle was all-Big Eight Conference golfer and an NCAA regional qualifier for the University of Nebraska (1993-96).
Andrew Kozan, 18, of West Palm Beach, Fla., is playing in his third USGA championship. He reached the Round of 64 in last year’s U.S. Junior Amateur and qualified for the 2015 U.S. Amateur at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club. A two-time Rolex Junior All-American and a three-time Palm Beach Post Golfer of the Year, Kozan won the 2015 FHSAA Class 1A state championship and was runner-up to Eugene Hong the following year. Kozan won the 2015 AJGA Puerto Rico Junior Open, which exempted him into the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open.
Tommy Kuhl, 17, of Morton, Ill., qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur for the second consecutive year after battling through a playoff in sectional qualifying. He earned the last spot in the Auburn, Mich., sectional on the fifth playoff hole. Last year, he made a 30-foot birdie putt on the final hole to reach a 3-for-2 playoff in the LaSalle, Ill. sectional. His older brother Pete competed in the 2015 Junior Amateur and is a rising sophomore on the University of Wisconsin team. Tommy won the IHSA Class 2A state championship as a freshman and along with his brother led Morton High to back-to-back state crowns (2014, 2015). He tied for fourth in this year’s IHSA state championship.
Alvin Kwak, 16, of Mukileto, Wash., is a rising junior at Kamiak High School, but was born in Los Angeles, Calif., and moved to Korea for eight years before returning to the U.S. He tied for 10th in this year’s WIAA Class 4A state championship and helped his team finish third. In 2013, Kwak won the WJGA boys’ state championship (ages 12-13) and followed by capturing the 2014 U.S. Kids Teen World Championship, winning on the second playoff hole at Pinehurst No. 9.
Eddy Lai, 18, of San Jose, Calif., is competing in this third U.S. Junior Amateur, having played in 2012 and 2015. Lai advanced to the Round of 16 and was the stroke-play medalist in this year’s California State Amateur. He won the 2015 NCGA Junior Amateur and was the 2016 NCGA Amateur runner-up. Lai, who speaks Chinese and Sichuan, made a double eagle on the par-5 16th at Legacy Golf Links when he won the 2010 U.S. Kids Teen World Championship at age 11.
Min Woo Lee, 18, of Australia, defeated Noah Goodwin, 2 and 1, in the 36-hole final to win the 2016 U.S. Junior Amateur. He will be the first champion to defend his title since Jim Liu in 2011. Lee became the fourth international champion of the Junior Amateur and the first male Australian in 10 years to win a USGA title. His sister, Minjee, won the 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior and owns three LPGA Tour victories. They are the first brother-sister tandem to win USGA Junior championships. Min Woo was the runner-up in the 2016 Australian Amateur and advanced to the Round of 32 in this year’s Amateur Championship, conducted by The R&A. He tied for third in the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley on April 22.
Won Jun Lee, 18, of the Republic of Korea, is competing in his fourth U.S. Junior Amateur and has advanced to match play the previous three years. He reached the quarterfinals last year after progressing to the semifinals in 2015, losing to eventual champion Philip Barbaree. Lee will attend the University of South Florida in the fall after graduating from Saddlebrook Prep School in Florida. Lee, a two-time Rolex Junior All-American, finished eighth in the 2016 Asia-Pacific Amateur and competed in the 2016 U.S. Amateur. He tied for fourth in the AJGA Thunderbird International on May 29.
Kaiwen Liu, 17, of the People’s Republic of China, is playing in his third USGA championship. He reached match play in the 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur and competed in the 2016 U.S. Amateur. Liu helped Torrey Pines High School finish third in the 2017 California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) state championship and will attend the University of California in the fall. In 2016, Liu placed third in both the AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions and Aaron Baddeley International Junior.
Griffin Long, 16, of Davis, Calif., is a member of an accomplished family. His father Pat is a pilot for Southwest Airlines and his mother Laura is an environmental engineer. His brother Raymond is a Virginia Military Institute graduate and serves in the U.S. Navy, while his other brother Patrick attends the U.S. Naval Academy. Griffin, who was a gymnast from ages 3-13, was chosen 2017 Delta League MVP and helped Davis High School win the 2016 CIF-Sac-San Joaquin Division I North sectional championship.
Brandon Mancheno, 17, of Jacksonville, Fla., is competing in his third U.S. Junior Amateur. He reached match play last year and was the stroke-play medalist and advanced to the Round of 32 in 2015. Mancheno qualified for the 2017 Junior Amateur by carding a 64 in the St. Augustine, Fla., sectional qualifier. Mancheno was the runner-up in this year’s FSGA State Amateur and won the 2016 FHSAA Class 3A state championship. He tied for fifth in the 2015 FHSAA 3A state championship after tying for ninth the previous year. Mancheno, who is right-handed but plays left-handed, was chosen 2016 Jacksonville Times-Union Player of the Year and 2015 FSGA Junior Player of the Year.
Sean Maruyama, 17, of Encino, Calif., is playing in his second USGA championship. He and partner Clay Seeber were the youngest team in the 2016 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball field. The duo reached match play when Maruyama holed a 119-yard pitching wedge for an eagle on the second stroke-play playoff hole at Winged Foot Golf Club. Maruyama, a rising senior at Campbell Hall High School, was the runner-up in this year’s CIF state championship. He also tied for seventh in the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley on April 22 and won the 2016 Western Junior Championship.
Cameron Meeks, 18, of Las Vegas, Nev., is the third of three generations of USGA championship competitors. His father Eric won the 1988 U.S. Amateur Championship; his grandfather Robert played in the 1995 U.S. Senior Amateur. Cameron helped Palo Verde High School claim two NIAA state championships as he tied for sixth individually this year and was fourth as a junior. Meeks, the 2016 Las Vegas Journal-Review Player of the Year, will attend Loyola Marymount University in the fall.
Chris Nido, 18, of Miami, Fla., is playing in his third U.S. Junior Amateur. He advanced to match play last year and lost to eventual champion Min Woo Lee. Nido, who is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Puerto Rico, played in the 2017 PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open and won the AJGA Terra Cotta Invitational. He was the runner-up in the 2016 FSGA Boys’ Junior (ages 16-18) and tied for fifth the previous year.
Noah Norton, 18, of Chico, Calif., advanced to the Round of 64 in last year’s U.S. Junior Amateur while playing in his first USGA championship. Norton, who graduated from Pleasant Valley High School and will attend Georgia Tech in the fall, tied for fifth in this year’s CIF state championship. He was the 2017 California State Amateur runner-up, losing to P.J. Samiere, 1 up, in the final. Norton placed second in this year’s AJGA Thunderbird International Junior and won the 2016 PING Invitational.
Wells Padgett, 18, of Wichita, Kan., is playing in his third U.S. Junior Amateur after advancing to the Round of 64 in 2015 and 2016. Padgett, who graduated from Maize South High School and will attend Auburn University next fall, won the 2016 KSHSAA Class 5A state championship after finishing second and fourth, respectively, the previous two years. He became the youngest at age 13 to make match play at the Kansas State Amateur. Padgett tied for third in the Kansas Stroke Play Championship on June 25.
John Pak, 18, of Scotch Plains, N.J., is one of five players in the field competing in his fourth U.S. Junior Amateur. He advanced to the semifinals last year after reaching the quarterfinals in 2015 and the Round of 32 in 2014. Pak, who will attend Florida State University in the fall, tied for 10th in this year’s Sunnehanna Amateur, including a pair of 65s in the final two rounds. He also tied for fourth in the Polo Golf Junior Classic on June 30. Pak was runner-up in the 2016 AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions.
Trueman Park, 18, of Chandler, Ariz., won the 2015 AIA Division I state high school championship with an eagle on the third playoff hole and had to birdie No. 18 to get into the playoff. Park, who will attend Arizona State University in 2017-18, tied for 21st at this year’s AIA state championship and helped Hamilton High finish as runner-up. Park, who volunteered as a standard bearer at the PGA Tour’s 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open, came from behind to win the AJGA Senior Showcase last December. He shot a final-round 62, including eight birdies and an eagle on the par-5 13th.
Turk Pettit, 18, of Auburn, Ala., reached the Round of 16 in the 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur. He won the 2016 Alabama State Amateur and finished second this year when he lost in a playoff. Pettit, who was also a quarterback and linebacker on the Lee-Scott Academy football team, won the Alabama Independent School Association state title in 2016 and 2017. Pettit, who will attend Clemson University this fall, finished eighth in this year’s Azalea Invitational. He was the 2016 Southern Junior Amateur runner-up.
Trent Phillips, 17, of Spartanburg, S.C., is a three-time Class 4A/5A state high school championship medalist (2014, 2015, 2017) and has led Boiling Springs High to four state titles. Phillips became the first player since 1991 to win consecutive South Carolina Junior Championships. He advanced to Round of 32 in the 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur and won this year’s AJGA Haas Family Invitational on June 16. His brother Trevor competed in the 2013 Junior Amateur (Round of 16) and 2014 U.S. Amateur (Round of 32) and now plays on the University of Georgia team.
Charlie Reiter, 17, of Palm Desert, Calif., is competing in his first USGA championship. He also qualified for next month’s U.S. Amateur on July 6, which included a hole-in-one during the first of two qualifying rounds at Rope Rider Golf Course, in Cle Elum, Wash. Reiter won the Aaron Baddeley International Junior on Dec. 7 and earned a spot in the 2017 Australian Open. In a four-day span last spring, he won the Desert Valley League championship with a final-round 65 and the AJGA Callaway Junior Golf Classic with a 54-hole score of 2-under 214. Reiter, who will be a senior at Palm Desert High School, was also the runner-up in the AJGA ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior.
Rodrigo Rodas, 16, of Guatemala, won the Central American Junior Championship on Jan. 7 and finished third in the AJGA Dominican Junior Open on May 29. Rodas, who is his country’s national champion, won his first AJGA event in 2016, the Junior All-Star at Spring Valley. He has competed in two PGA Tour Latinoamerica events.
Christian Salzer, 18, of Sumter, S.C., is a rising sophomore on the North Carolina State University team and played in six tournaments for the Wolfpack last year. Salzer is competing in his third U.S. Junior Amateur after carding a 66 to earn medalist honors in the Santee, S.C., sectional qualifier. In 2015, Salzer won the SCGA Junior and was the Carolinas Junior runner-up. He was a member of two SCISA state championship teams at Wilson Hall High School.
Clay Seeber, 16, of Newport Beach, Calif., is a rising junior at Corona del Mar High School. He advanced to the Round of 64 in the 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur, losing to eventual runner-up Andrew Orischak. He also reached match play in the 2016 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball with partner Sean Maruyama. Seeber was chosen 2016 Toyota Tour Cup Player of the Year after posting four victories. He won the AJGA Junior All-Star Invitational last October and was third in this year’s PING Heather Farr Classic.
Zachary Shallat, 13, of Dix Hills, N.Y., is the youngest player in the U.S. Junior Amateur field. He qualified for the third of three spots through a playoff in the Mount Kisco, N.Y., sectional on June 22. Shallat, who attends Solomon Schecter Day School, tied for fourth in last year’s Long Island Boys Championship. He is scheduled to play in the U.S. Kids Teen Worlds at Pinehurst No. 5 on July 27-29.
Colt Sherrell, 17, of Maple Valley, Wash., is competing in his first USGA championship. Sherrell won this year’s Southern Nevada Junior Amateur and tied for fifth at the WIAA state high school championship. A rising senior at Tahoma High, Sherrell is a three-time all-North Puget Sound League selection. He enjoys bow hunting and bugling elk. Golf legend Gary Player once asked him to punch him in the stomach.
Davis Shore, 18, of Knoxville, Tenn., is playing in his fourth U.S. Junior Amateur. He has advanced to match play the previous three years. Shore, who will attend the University of Alabama in the fall, lost to Eugene Hong (23 holes) in the Round of 32 last year and reached the Round of 16 in 2014. Shore, who started playing golf at age 2, fell short of making the 2017 U.S. Open field when he failed to advance through a 5-for-2 playoff at the Memphis, Tenn., sectional qualifier. He also partnered with Wilson Furr to advance to the Round of 16 in this year’s U.S. Amateur Four-Ball. Shore, a Rolex Junior All-American, was chosen 2016 USA Today High School Boys Golfer of the Year. He has won two A/AA state championships.
James Song, 16, of Canada, is a rising senior at Torrey Pines High School and lives in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. Song advanced to the Round of 64 in last year’s U.S. Junior Amateur and played in the U.S. Amateur one month later. He fired a 62 at Oak Valley Golf Club in U.S. Amateur qualifying last year. Song, who was born in Vancouver, British Colombia, and teammate Kaiwen Liu, who is in the 2017 U.S. Junior Amateur field, led Torrey Pines High to the 2016 CIF state championship and a third-place finish this year.
Tyler Strafaci, 18, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is a sophomore-to-be on the Georgia Tech University team and is the oldest player in the U.S. Junior Amateur field. He won the Valspar Collegiate and tied for 27th in the NCAA Stanford Regional as a freshman. He is the grandson of Frank Strafaci, who won the 1935 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship and went on to become the FSGA executive director and director of golf at Doral Country Club. Tyler’s mother Jill was a senior vice president for the Miami Dolphins for more than 20 years and played golf at the University of Florida from 1976-79. Tyler competed in the 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur (Round of 32) and 2015 U.S. Amateur and he advanced to the quarterfinals in this year’s North & South Amateur.
Jonathan Wijono, 16, of Indonesia, was influenced by watching nine-time USGA champion Tiger Woods on television. Wijono, who attends Citi Haiti Christian School, captured the Indonesia Junior National on Jan. 12 with a 54-hole score of 5-under 211. He won twice in February, including the Faldo Series Asia Indonesia and Indonesia Elite Amateur. He finished third at the Ciptura World Junior and 59th in the 2016 Asia-Pacific Amateur.
Matt Wingren, 18, of Hinsdale, Ill., was cut from the Hinsdale Central High School varsity roster as a freshman and sophomore but persevered to help the program win two state Class 3A championships. Wingren, who will attend Northern Illinois University in the fall, tied for seventh in the 2016 IHSA championship as a senior and tied for 13th the previous year. Wingren, whose teammate was Jack Hoiberg, the son of Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg, carded a 68 to earn medalist honors at the Oswego, Ill., sectional qualifier on June 21 and is playing in his first USGA championship.
Matthew Wolff, 18, of Agoura Hills, Calif., reached the Round of 16 in the 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur and advanced to match play through a stroke-play playoff in last year’s U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills Country Club. Wolff, who will attend Oklahoma State University in 2017-18, helped Westlake High School win two CIF state championships (2014, 2015) and finish as runner-up in 2016. Wolff, who was chosen 2017 Ventura County Star Boys Golfer of the Year, tied for ninth in the Azalea Invitational on April 2.
Shuai Ming Wong, 17, of Hong Kong, is competing in his seventh USGA championship and fourth U.S. Junior Amateur. Wong captured the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball title with Frankie Capan on May 31 at Pinehurst No. 2, rallying to defeat Clark Collier and Kyle Hudelson, 2 and 1, in the final match. Wong reached the Round of 32 in the 2016 U.S. Junior Amateur and he also qualified for last year’s U.S. Amateur. Wong, a rising senior at The John Cooper School, was born in Hong Kong but moved to Beijing at age 6. In attempting to make the 2017 U.S. Open field, Wong, whose nickname is Ben, competed in the Dallas, Texas, sectional qualifier. He won the 2015 Shell Houston Open Junior Championship by 12 strokes
Noah Woolsey, 18, of Pleasanton, Calif., is competing in his third USGA championship. He qualified for the 2015 U.S. Amateur at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club and the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball with partner Zach Smith. He tied for seventh as an individual in this year’s CIF state high school championship. Woolsey, who graduated from Amador Valley High and will attend the University of Washington in 2017-18, was an all-East Bay Athletic League selection.
Wocheng (Aden) Ye, 16, of the People’s Republic of China, reached the Round of 32 in last year’s U.S. Junior Amateur, his first USGA championship. Ye was the low amateur in the 2017 Volvo China Open, tying for 59th at 2-under 286. He has two top-10 AJGA finishes this year and tied for 49th in the 2016 Asia-Pacific Amateur. He became the youngest player (12) to qualify for a European PGA Tour event when he played in the 2013 Volvo China Open.