PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Defending champion Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand is back to defend her title in the girls’ division but an extremely strong field of girls is sure to make it difficult to repeat while an elite field has assembled in the boys’ division at the 37th Junior PGA Championship presented by Under Armour and Heritage Food Service Group, July 31-Aug. 3, at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Ind.
"We have an outstanding field of juniors in both divisions once again," said PGA of America President Allen Wronowski. "It will be exciting to see the next generation of golfers competing at a spectacular venue for a junior major championship and spots on our 2012 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team."
The 72-hole Championship will feature a 54-hole cut to the low 30 boys and 30 girls, including ties. Each year the field includes past winners of the Championship, PGA Junior Series event champions, PGA Section winners, many of Polo Golf and Golfweek’s top-ranked players, and selected national junior tournament winners.
Headlining the girls’ field alongside Jutanugarn will be her sister Moriya, who is ranked third in Golfweek’s Junior Rankings. Moriya recently competed in the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open and won the 2012 Scott Robertson Memorial in May.
Eight of the top 10 players in the girls’ Golfweek Junior Rankings are scheduled to compete. They include: Ashlan Ramsey of Milledgeville, Ga.; Alison Lee of Valencia, Calif.; Karen Chung of Livingston, N.J.; Casie Cathrea of Livermore, Calif.; Esther Lee of Los Alamitos, Calif.; and Gabriella Then of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Cathrea, who is competing in her third Junior PGA Championship, finished in a tie for fifth in 2011 and alone in eighth in 2010.
Casey Danielson of Osceola, Wis., who finished third in the 2011 Junior PGA Championship and is ranked eighth in the Polo Golf Rankings, is also scheduled to compete for the Patty Berg Trophy.
The boys’ division will be headlined in 2012 by Beau Hossler of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., who has competed in the last two U.S. Open Championships, finishing in a tie for 29th in June.
Hossler, who entered the final round of the 2012 U.S. Open tied for eighth place overall, finished in a tie for seventh in the 2011 Junior PGA Championship.
Joining Hossler at Sycamore Hills will be eight of the top 20 players in the Polo Golf Rankings, including Adam Wood of Zionsville, Ind.; Parker Derby of Columbus, Ga.; and Doug Ghim of Arlington Heights, Ill.; who are ranked eighth, ninth and 11th, respectively.
The field also includes the top five players in the Golfweek Junior Rankings, who are members of the 2013 High School graduating class.
Ghim recently competed in the 2012 Ryder Cup Junior Academy, which was part of the 2010 Ryder Cup Outreach Program that is designed to provide aspiring young players an opportunity to experience an elite player development academy. Participants were given expert instruction from past U.S. Ryder Cup Captains and award-winning PGA Professionals, July 1-8, at PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Also competing for the Jack Nicklaus Trophy in Fort Wayne is Jim Liu of Smithtown, N.Y., who is the only member of the 2012 Junior PGA Championship field to have competed on the winning 2010 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team.
Liu will be making his first appearance in the Championship, after qualifying for the 2010 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team by winning the 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur.
In addition to playing for a Championship title, players will attempt to earn spots on the 2012 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team. The United States Team, comprised of six boys and six girls who are U.S. citizens and graduating high school in 2013, or younger, will face a European squad of junior golfers, Sept. 24-25, at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club.
The Champion and runner-up in both the boys’ and girls’ divisions in 2012 earn an automatic spot on the 2012 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team.
Golf Channel will present a one-hour highlight show of the 37th Junior PGA Championship, with the first airing on Monday, Sept. 17 at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Begun in 1976, the Junior PGA Championship has traditionally produced unforgettable golf performances and brings together the best junior golfers from around the country to compete for the Jack Nicklaus Trophy in the Boys' Division and the Patty Berg Trophy in the Girls' Division.