Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Area Golf Notebook; Junior Players Draws AJGA's Finest

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Area Golf Notebook; Junior Players Draws AJGA's Finest

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Smits

The top two players on the American Junior Golf Association Polo rankings will lead an international field representing 19 countries in the 10th Junior Players Championship, which begins Friday at the Sawgrass Country Club.

No. 1-ranked Davis Shore of Knoxville, Tenn., and No.2 Eugene Hong of Sanford will return to the 54-hole tournament at which they contended last year at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. Hong tied for third in 2015, two shots behind winner Chun-an Yu of Taiwan; Shore tied for fifth, another shot back.

The two also have recent history. Hong defeated Shore in 23 holes in an epic second-round match earlier this summer at the U.S. Junior Amateur. Hong, who has committed to the University of Florida for 2018, lost to eventual champion Mi Loo Lee 1-up in the semifinals.

Shore has committed to play at Alabama in 2017. He would be in good company if he won the Junior Players, since past Alabama stars such as Bobby Wyatt and Robby Shelton have won the tournament.

Also in the 78-player field will be No. 11-ranked Sean Maruyama of Japan, the son of veteran professional golfer Shigeki Maruyama, and No.12 John Pak of Scotch Plains, N.J., who has committed to Florida State.

Players are from such far-flung places as Malaysia, Myanmar, India, China, Mexico, Canada and nine European countries.

Brandon Mancheno of Jacksonville, a senior at Mandarin High who has committed to Auburn, will be the lone area representative in the field.

The tournament was played at the Stadium Course and Dye's Valley for the first nine years, but was moved across Florida A1A because of the current renovation project. Still, the juniors will get a taste of history playing at Sawgrass, which was the site of the first five Players, from 1977 to 1981.

Many of the players will also get a sneak preview of a track they may well re-visit when they move on to college golf, since the course annually hosts The Hayt, the University of North Florida's invitational tournament.

"They're going to get some thicker rough than the college kids usually get in February," said Sawgrass director of golf Greg Lecker. …

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