VOA Classic Partnership Offers LPGA Exemption for Texas Juniors
The Legends Junior Tour, in collaboration with the Northern Texas PGA Junior Tour, is again partnering with the Volunteers of America Classic – the only LPGA Tour event in the state of Texas – to offer young female golfers the opportunity to earn an exemption into the LPGA Tour event annually conducted at Golf Clubs at The Tribute in The Colony, TX.
Through a series of tournaments conducted by the Legends Junior Tour, the Northern Texas PGA Junior Tour, and the Southern Texas PGA Junior Tour, girls throughout the state of Texas will have the opportunity to qualify for the Volunteers of America Classic Girls Championship on June 21-23 at Golf Clubs at The Tribute. This 54-hole individual stroke play championship will feature a starting field of 144 female junior golfers, and will be cut to the top 30 and ties after 36-holes. The first and second round will be contested on the Tribute Golf Links, and the Final Round will be contested at Old American Golf Club – the same site as the annual LPGA Tour stop. The winner of this year’s Volunteers America Classic Girls Championship will have secured her spot to tee it up alongside LPGA Tour stars at the Volunteers of America Classic on July 1-4.
The Legends Tour will have 35 qualifying spots into the Volunteer of America Classic Girls Championship. Qualifying spots will be awarded based on performance in Legends Junior Tour championships and Player of the Year Standings.
“It’s been such an honor to watch our junior tour alumni succeed on the LPGA Tour over the years, and it’s tremendously exciting to be a part of giving our players an opportunity to compete with the world’s best,” said Stacy Dennis, Executive Director of the Texas Golf Association.
For the team at the Volunteers of America Classic, the opportunity to help inspire the next generation of LPGA Tour players and expand its community outreach was something that fit right into the tournament’s mission.
“A focus of the Volunteers of America Classic is to grow the game and inspire the next generation of golfers in Texas,” said Tournament Director, Emily Podzielinski. “This partnership allows us to achieve our goals and create champions right here in our backyard.”
For more information about the VOA Classic, click here.
LJT Spring Preview Heads to College Station
ADDISON – After a frigid cold hit the state of Texas, the Legends Junior Tour’s Spring Preview heads to The Golf Club at Texas A&M on Feb. 27-28 for the first time in the tournament’s 16-year history.
“This event has always been popular but this year we exceeded the number of signups which allowed us to increase the field size as kids are ready to get back to playing competitive golf,” said Tournament Director Kevin Porter.
The Spring Preview typically boasts a 90-player field, but this year’s event saw more than 250 players sign up to compete. The Legends Junior Tour expanded the field to accommodate the growing demand and now features a 120-player field spread across three divisions.
The Golf Club at Texas A&M opened for play in 1951 and was originally designed by Ralph Plummer. The course sits on the campus at Texas A&M University with Kyle Field in the background of most of the holes. The course took on a complete renovation in 2013 by Texas A&M’s own Jeff Blume and the par-71 course can stretch out to a little more than 7,000 yards.
The tournament has previously been held at The Wilderness at Lake Jackson (2020), Quail Valley Golf Course (2019), BlackHorse Golf Club (2014-18), Woodforest Golf Club (2011-13), The Golf Club at Twin Creeks (2009) and Cimarron Hills Country Club (2005-06).
In last year’s event there was a tie atop the Boys 15-18 Division following 36 holes. Houston’s Jack Gilbert defeated Austin’s Drew Wagner with a birdie on the first playoff hole to capture the title. Houston’s Zoe Slaughter won the Girls 12-18 Division by two strokes, while Austin’s Trenton Mierl emerged victorious in the Boys 14 & Under Division.
Past champions of this event include William Zalatoris, Maddie Szeryk, Stratton Nolen, Brad Dalke, Nathan Weant, Brendan Redfern, Travis Vick, Julia Beck, Cole Hammer, Hailee Cooper, Kyle Hogan, Turner Hosch and Hanna Alberto.
The Spring Preview will be ranked by Junior Golf Scoreboard and Golfweek. AJGA Performance Stars will be awarded to top finishers in both the Boys 15-18 Division and the Girls 12-18 Division. All three divisions will hand out exemptions into future LJT Invitationals.
For more information on the Spring Preview at The Golf Club at Texas A&M and to follow along with live scoring for the weekend, click here.
Texas Girls’ Invitational Set for Feb. 13-15
MONTGOMERY – The Texas Girls’ Invitational returns to Bentwater Yacht & Country Club from Feb. 13-15 with the girls-only event set to take on the Weiskopf Course.
Conducted by the Legends Junior Tour, the Texas Girls’ Invitational was modeled after the Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship and the Texas Cup Invitational. The tournament has taken on its own identity and has become one of the top events in the state.
The championship was originally 36 holes and ranked by Golfweek and Junior Golf Scoreboard and was held in the fall. In 2019, the event was moved to February and became a 54-hole championship with World Amateur Golf Ranking points up for grabs. The tournament also offers numerous AJGA Performance Stars to the top finishers including 12 for the champion.
Bentwater Yacht & Country Club is hosting the Texas Girls’ Invitational for the seventh time in the championship’s history. The dedicated TGA member club was originally built in 1993 by two renowned golf course architects, Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish. Their efforts created broad, rolling fairways and TiffDwarf greens that wind through the signature forests of hardwood and pines along Lake Conroe. The Texas Girls’ Invitational was played at Bentwater Yacht & Country Club from 2012-2016 and in 2020.
“We are very excited to host the Texas Girls’ Invitational again and welcome some of the best junior girls back to Montgomery,” Bentwater Yacht & Country Club Head Golf Professional Cord Roberson said. “The camaraderie among the juniors is great and hosting this event has had a positive impact on our community as well.”
The 2021 starting field boasts some of the best junior girls in the country.
Lauren Nguyen of Katy is in the field. The two-time LJT Girls 12-18 Player of the Year (2019-20) and 94th Texas Junior Amateur champion will look to improve on her T6 finish from last year. Nguyen recently committed to play collegiate golf for Texas A&M University and will make her first start of the season in Montgomery.
Other notables competing at Bentwater Yacht & Country Club include the 94th Texas Junior Amateur Girls 14 & Under champion Sidney Robertson of Chandler, the 2021 Winter Classic champion Maggie Ni of Cypress, the 2020 James A. Ragan Memorial champion Darrelyn Webster of Austin and the 2020 Lanny Wadkins Junior Championship champion Farah O’Keefe of Austin.
Last year’s Texas Girls’ Invitational was conducted over two days. The field played 36 holes on Sunday and finished the 54-hole championship on Monday. Ashley Yen of Houston carded rounds of 72-69-73 to finish at 2-under par overall and win by three strokes. Yen, the 2020 USGA-AJGA Leadership Award recipient, recently committed to the admissions process at Yale University and plans to play collegiately.
The Texas Girls’ Invitational champion will have her name engraved on the ‘Nez Muhleman Trophy. Inez “Nez” Muhleman of Houston was known for her dedication to junior golf. Muhleman never missed a girls’ national championship until she retired in 2010. In 2011, she received the USGA Joe Dey Award, which is the organization’s highest honor for volunteerism, for her service to the game and for establishing the Junior Girls’ Travel Fund to help young Texans afford travel expenses to the U.S. Girls’ Junior.
Past champions of this girls-only championship include Kaci McCartan, Lakareber Abe, Maddie McCrary, Vanessa Ha, Jaravee Boonchant, Anne Chen, Makenzie Niblett and Hailey Jones. This is the first Major Championship for the girls of the 2021 LJT season.
“This is one of the best events for girls to compete in each year, “LJT Tournament Director Kevin Porter said. “The Texas Girls’ Invitational is always competitive and this year’s field will be tested.”
For more information on the Texas Girls’ Invitational, please click here.
About the LJT: The Legends Junior Tour is part of the Texas Junior Golf Alliance, which is a joint venture between the Texas Golf Association, Northern and Southern PGA and Houston Golf Association. The tour operates as part of the Texas Golf Association and its foundation. Since its inception in 2005, the tour has provided funds to promote junior golf initiatives while conducting some of the state’s top junior championships including the Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship, Texas Junior Amateur and the Texas Girls’ Invitational as well as