45th Girls Junior PGA Championship Begins Tuesday at Valhalla Golf Club
One of golf’s major junior championships returns when the 45th Girls Junior PGA Championship tees off at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, July 27-30. In 2020, due to rising COVID-19 concerns, the Boys and Girls Junior PGA Championships were canceled.
The 144-player field will showcase junior golf’s most accomplished players. Megha Ganne and Amari Avery are scheduled to return to the Championship as record-holders – in 2019, Ganne set the lowest 18-hole single-round score (62) and Avery shot the lowest fourth-round score (63). Additionally, 51 players in the field are committed to play at the collegiate level, and five Kentucky natives will also be looking to win the Patty Berg Trophy.
The Girls Junior PGA Championship is where some of the best in the world got their start, including Lexi Thompson, Michelle Wie West, Mariah Stackhouse, Ariya Juntanugarn, Yealimi Noh, Cristie Kerr and Inbee Park.
In July 2019, Yuka Saso of the Philippines captured the Girls Junior PGA Championship at Keney Park Golf Course in Hartford, Connecticut, finishing 14 under par for the Championship. Nearly two years later, Saso won the U.S. Women’s Open in June.
Players to Watch at the 2021 Girls Junior PGA Championship
Alexa Pano - Lake Worth, Fla. – Featured in the Netflix documentary “The Short Game," Pano is the No. 4-ranked class of 2022 player in the AJGA standings. Last month, she was the Rolex Girls Junior Championship runner-up. Pano also made appearances at the 2021 Augusta National Women’s Amateur and 2020 Walmart LPGA classic, where she shot 8 under.
Amari Avery - Riverside, Calif. – Avery, a University of Southern California (USC) commit, qualified for the 2021 U.S. Women's Open. She has also competed in the 2021 Augusta National Women's Amateur and LPGA Symetra Tour Garden City Classic. Avery was also featured in “The Short Game.”
Avery Zweig - McKinney, Texas – Zweig is a Drive Chip and Putt National Finalist. This year, she placed in multiple AJGA tournaments, including winning the Annika Invitational, runner-up in the Sergio and Angela Garcia Foundation Junior Championship and third in KJ Choi Foundation Texas Junior Championship. Off the golf course, Zweig is noted for her extraordinary fundraising efforts for children with cancer.
Bailey Shoemaker - West Edmeston, N.Y. – Shoemaker is sixth in the AJGA standings. She is a USC commit for the class of 2023. This year, she was named Kathy Whitworth Invitational Champion.
Chloe Kovelesky - Boca Raton, Fla. – At age 14, Kovelesky was the youngest player in the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open field. She was runner-up in the 2021 Harder Hall Women's Invitational. Kovelesky also holds six top-five finishes, including a win in the Eggland’s Best Mini Pro Tour.
Grace Summerhays - Scottsdale, Ariz. – Summerhays is the daughter of Boyd Summerhays, coach of PGA Tour player Tony Finau. She is the 2020 Utah Women’s State Amateur Champion and the top-ranked AJGA player for the class of 2022.
Megha Ganne - Holmdel, N.J. – Ganne is No. 2 in the AJGA standings. This year, Ganne entered the national spotlight at the U.S. Women’s Open, playing in the final group Sunday and winning low-amateur honors. Additionally, she was the Scott Robertson Memorial champion in May and collected third-place finishes in three other AJGA events within the last year.
Kentucky Natives in the Field
Abigail Sutherland, Glenview - Women’s Western Jr. Stroke Play runner-up
Macie Brown, Mount Washington - Kentucky All-State Champion
Trinity Beth, Calvert City - 2020 Kentucky Miss Golf
Elizabeth Eberle, Richmond - 2020 Kentucky High-School Girls State Championship runner-up
The 45th Boys Junior PGA Championship was played at Kearney Hill Golf Links in Lexington, July 12-15. Caleb Surratt won the Jack Nicklaus Trophy finishing 16 under par and three shots better than four players that tied for second place.