For a third consecutive year, Jack Nicklaus’ Top-100 design at Sycamore Hills Golf Club will host the Junior PGA Championship. The 72-hole Championship gets underway this week and runs through Friday. The 2012 Championship field, which features 78 boys and 78 girls, represents 40 states, China and Thailand.
Sycamore Hills opened its doors in 1989. The land, first deeded by Andrew Jackson in 1835, is marked by generous fairways, peninsula greens, waste bunkers and white sand. Sycamore Hills, which was ranked 69th in Golf Digest’s 2011 list of "America’s 100 Greatest Courses," will play 7,240 yards for the boys and 6,280 yards for the girls.
The field includes one boy and one girl champion from each of the 41 geographical PGA Sections; one boy and one girl champion from all PGA Junior Series events leading into the Junior PGA Championship; winners of selected national junior events conducted earlier in the year; top-ranked juniors from Golfweek’s national rankings and all past Junior PGA Championship winners who are eligible.
Jim Liu of Smithtown, N.Y., the top-ranked boy, according to Golfweek, and Beau Hossler of Mission Viejo, Calif., who is ranked fifth and made headlines with his play at the US Open in June, top the boys’ division. Hossler, who finished in a tie for seventh in the 2011 Junior PGA Championship, tied for 29th at the U.S. Open in June at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif.
Liu, who won the 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur, is the only player in the field who was a member of the winning 2010 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team.
Also competing in the boys’ division will be Andy Hyeon Bo Shim, 17, of Duluth, Ga., who recently claimed the 2012 U.S. Junior Amateur title at the Golf Club of New England in Stratham, N.H. Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand, the top-ranked junior golfer girl in the country and defending Junior PGA Champion, headlines the girls’ field. Jutanugarn also recently won the 2012 Canadian Women’s Amateur. Her sister, Moriya, is ranked seventh nationally and is also in the field at Sycamore Hills.
Overall, nine of the top 10 girls in Golfweek’s Junior Rankings are scheduled to compete.
The field of 156 will be vying for the Jack Nicklaus Trophy in the Boys’ Division and the Patty Berg Trophy in the Girls’ Division, and even more this week. Players will also be competing for spots on the 2012 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team. The Champion and runner-up in both the boys’ and girls’ divisions in the 2012 Junior PGA Championship earn automatic spots on the Team. Additional spots also go to the overall boy and girl point leader from the U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Point Standings.
The final three boys and girls, who will complete the 12-member team, will be chosen by U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Captain Roger Warren, and the full team will be announced on Aug. 7. The eighth Junior Ryder Cup will be contested Sept. 24-25, at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club’s South Course. The U.S. Team, which will face a European squad of junior golfers, will consist of six boys and six girls who are United States citizens and are members of the 2013 graduating high school class, or younger.
The teams will also compete in the Friendship Bowl, a nine-hole exhibition that will take place on Sept. 26 at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club, host site for the 39th Ryder Cup being played this fall.