Special to the citizen
One of the premier junior golf events in the world is coming to Reynolds Lake Oconee this summer when the Rolex Tournament of Champions is played on the Great Waters course, June 28-July 1. An invitation-only event on the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) schedule, the Rolex Tournament of Champions is a national event for boys and girls, ages 12-18. The field will be determined by the Polo Golf Rankings, a proprietary system that takes into account wins and top finishes in national events, and will include a number of Rolex Junior All-Americans, who are determined in October of each calendar year using the Polo Golf Rankings to honor the best 96 overall junior golfers and the Rolex Junior Player of the Year.
The 2015 Rolex Junior Players of the Year Hannah O’Sullivan of Chandler, Arizona, and Philip Barbaree of Shreveport, Louisiana, won the 2015 Rolex Tournament of Champions and set 72-hole scoring records on the Crosswater Course at Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Oregon. Barbaree posted a 24-under-par 264 in the Boys Division, while O’Sullivan finished at 14-under-par 274. Begun in 1978, the Rolex Tournament of Champions is one of the two longest-running AJGA events. Past winners include Inbee Park, David Duval, Heather Farr, Charles Howell III, Morgan Pressel, Webb Simpson, two-time winner Beth Bauer, and three-time victor Phil Mickelson. The Rolex Tournament of Champions is one of several significant events being hosted by Reynolds Lake Oconee in 2016. The annual Linger Longer Invitational, featuring an elite field of NCAA men’s golf teams, is set for March 21-22, while the local qualifier for the 2017 Drive, Chip and Putt National Championship is to be contested on Reynolds’ renowned Landing Course on June 9.
“Hosting the Rolex Tournament of Champions is a special honor for us,” said Mark Lammi, vice president of golf operations at Reynolds Lake Oconee. “It is another way we can enhance our commitment to engage young golfers. These are the best of the best on the AJGA schedule, stars of the future and the leaders of the next generation.” The AJGA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women while providing valuable exposure for college golf scholarships. The AJGA has an annual membership (boys and girls, ages 12-18) of more than 6,500 from 48 states and more than 50 foreign countries. AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 600 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Jordan Spieth, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Hunter Mahan, Stacy Lewis, Vicky Hurst, Inbee Park, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, and Brittany Lincicome. Rolex, a supporter of the AJGA since 1986, is the proprietor of the Rolex Junior Players of the Year, Rolex Junior All-America Teams and the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet. Rolex also sponsors the Rolex Tournament of Champions and Rolex Girls Junior Championship, two of the AJGA’s most competitive championships, as well as serving as an Official Partner of the biennial PING Junior Solheim Cup.