PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The PGA of America announced today that Keney Park Golf Course in Hartford, Connecticut, will host both the Boys and Girls Junior PGA Championships in 2019. The Girls Junior PGA Championship will be contested July 9-12, while the Boys will tee it up July 30-August 2. Each event features 144 players in a four-round, 18-hole stroke play format.
“It is a thrill for both Championships to be held in Connecticut for the first time,” said Suzy Whaley, a longtime Connecticut resident who recently became the PGA of America’s first-ever woman President, a position she assumed at the PGA Annual Meeting on November 9 in Palm Springs, California. “Both Championships continue to reach new heights each year. We are excited to partner with Keney Park, the Connecticut PGA Section and the City of Hartford to showcase the game’s brightest junior players competing at the highest level.”
Keney Park opened in 1927 with a nine-hole course designed by Devereux Emmet; the Robert “Jack” Ross-designed back-nine opened four years later. In 2014, the Connecticut PGA Section signed an agreement to serve as consultants to help Hartford regain operational ownership of Keney Park and oversee a course restoration to enhance the facility’s level of sustainability.
“This will be the maiden voyage for the Connecticut PGA Section with respect to hosting PGA of America championships, and we cannot be more excited to welcome the nation’s most talented girls and boys,” said Thomas Hantke, Executive Director of the Connecticut PGA Section. “We’re not only proud that we’ve been chosen to host these prestigious championships, but we’re equally appreciative to be able to showcase the restoration of Keney Park as part of the revitalization efforts ongoing in the City of Hartford. It has been one of the original and central purposes to re-establish a first-class golf experience to help lead the way to improving the quality of life.”
“Next summer will be exciting as local spectators will have the opportunity to see some of golf’s brightest future stars play on the Keney Park Golf Course,” Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said. “We look forward to these young competitors and their families visiting our City. Golf has a long tradition in the city of Hartford, and these two premier events will add to our story.”
Keney Park is led by PGA Director of Golf Peter Seaman, who has been on the staff since July of 2015. The golf course was recently ranked by Golfweek as the No. 2 place to play in Connecticut, as well as tied for first on Golf Inc.’s 2016 Public Renovation list.
Both Championships have been springboards for many of the PGA and LPGA Tours’ most accomplished players. Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Phil Mickelson have competed on the Boys side, while the list of past Girls Junior PGA winners includes Major Champions Inbee Park, Ariya Jutanugarn and Lexi Thompson.
Yealimi Noh captured the 2018 Girls Junior PGA with a dominating, record-setting performance at Kearney Hill Golf Links in Lexington, Kentucky, while Akshay Bhatia became the first two-time winner following his victory in the 2018 Boys Junior PGA, which was secured with a greenside chip-in eagle on the 72nd hole at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. Bhatia also won in 2017. This past September, both players teamed up on the triumphant United States Team in the 2018 Junior Ryder Cup at Disneyland Paris.