Category: Junior Golf

Alberto & Jones Win Boys & Girls Greater Houston City Junior Title

By Richard Dean
Leah Alberto turned in an awesome display of golf on Thursday. And Zakary Jones and Jzeke Dukes had a match worth remembering, going down to the final hole.
There was great golf being played at Memorial Park Golf Course as champions were determined and trophies awarded in the Greater Houston City Jr. Match Play Championship.
Alberto breezed past defending champion Zoe Slaughter 7 & 6 in the girls final. Jones finally got the best of Dukes, taking the lead on the 17th hole en route to a 1 up win that left both players praising the other.
“Coming down with Jzeke, that was really a fun match to finish,” said Jones, who placed third here at last year’s tournament. “Jzeke’s a great guy. He gave me good competition, he was fired up when he won a hole.”
Alberto, a 16-year-old junior at Kingwood Park, played her best competitive round ever.
A fourth-seed, the championship match was dominated from the beginning by Alberto, who was 6 up at the turn and closed out her match on hole No. 12 with a par. Alberto, who unofficially shot a front-nine 31, birdied the final four holes on the front nine.
“I just tried to make birdies so she couldn’t catch me or beat me,” said Alberto, who placed third on this course in last month’s Eddie Burke Sr. Young Houstonian. “I knew that she was a really good player.”
Beating a player as good as the 15-year-old Slaughter is one thing. But to win 7 & 6, that’s amazing.
“It surprised me. I don’t know how I did it,” said Alberto, who won a HGA Performance Series Event in June at Eagle Pointe Golf Club. “I thought it was going to be a lot closer.”
It definitely was close between ninth-seed Dukes and third-seed Jones, who shot a bogey-free 69 in Monday’s stroke play.
Thursday’s afternoon championship match featured two outstanding players. Jones, a 17-year-old at Klein Collins, was 3 up through four holes and still 2 up through nine holes, before Dukes turned up the heat, going 1 up. But a tee ball into the water on the par-3 15th hole squared the match, and Jones went 1 up on No. 17 with par before both players made par on No. 18.
“It feels phenomenal (to win),” said Jones, who won his Thursday morning semifinal match 4 & 2 over Sean Cleland. “It’s great.”
This is one of the biggest wins for Jones, who has played competitive golf since age 7 and is committed to Texas-Arlington.
“Just because its match play,” Jones said. “It’s a lot different aspect of the game. Different mindset, definitely a different game. A really good week for me.”
It was also a good week for Dukes, who at one point in the championship match on the back nine won four of five holes.
“I felt very comfortable on the golf course,” said Dukes, who played 118 holes this week. “Not once did I feel like I’m out of it. Even when I was down, I was still pushing.
“It was a great week, it was a great experience. And I got a lot farther than I did last year (lost in round of 32).
Dukes, who plays out of Memorial Park and Golf Club of Houston, won his Thursday morning semifinal match over Vishnu Sadagopan, 2 & 1. Dukes, the ninth seed, made a 20-foot birdie putt that won the 17th hole to close out the 29th-seed Sadagopan, a 15-year-old sophomore at Shadow Creek who defeated Cleland to win Thursday’s consolation match for third place.
Against Sadagopan, Dukes, a 17-year-old who attends Lamar High School, was 2 down through two holes. They made the turn all square and Dukes didn’t secure the win until he drained a 30-foot match-clinching birdie putt on No. 17.
In two Performance Series events this summer, Dukes has a second (River Ridge) and third (Cypress Lakes).
In reaching the championship match, Alberto eliminated Katie Shepherd 2 up, Jacqueline Nguyen 1 up and Allyn Stephens 2 & 1.
“It was a tough fight getting to the final round,” Alberto said.
The four-day junior golf tournament was conducted by the Houston Golf Association.

Slaughter Defends Her Title at the Greater Houston City Junior Match-Play Championship

By Richard Dean
If you’ve seen Zoe Slaughter swing a golf club you may be of the opinion that she has the perfect swing. And you would be right.
At least Chris Stroud thinks so. That’s what he told the rising star when Slaughter and two other young golfers played on the same team as the PGA Tour player in this year’s Houston Open Pro/Junior.
“He was telling me that I’m the best junior golfer he’s ever seen, and that was a huge compliment,” Slaughter said. “I was shocked. I was like, really? That was crazy. He was telling me that I could go far, I could be No. 1 in the world.”
She’s not there yet. But the 15-year-old sophomore from Memorial High School is making her mark on the local golf scene. On Wednesday, Slaughter advanced to the championship of the Greater Houston City Jr. Match Play Championships, a tournament she won a year ago.
Slaughter, the No. 7 seed, eliminated Kiona Hsiu 3 & 2 in the semifinals and will oppose fourth-seed Leah Alberto on Thursday in the championship match of the girls division at Memorial Park.
“Tomorrow is going to be tough,” Slaughter said. “But I’m going to try my best to get the win. This is my home course.”
In last year’s championship match, Slaughter defeated Tiffany Nguyen. It was Nguyen that Slaughter defeated 2 & 1 on Wednesday to reach the semifinals. Both Slaughter and Nguyen played great golf on Wednesday. Slaughter was 2-under and Nguyen 1-under.
“Today was very tough,” said Slaughter. “I had very tough partners both rounds, but I ended up playing well.”
In the boys division, No. 29 seed Vishnu Sadagopan will play ninth-seed Jzeke Dukes in one semifinal and No. 31 Sean Cleland will oppose third-seed Zakary Jones of Klein Collins in another semifinal. Both Dukes and Cleland attend Lamar High School.
Thursday’s championship match will highlight the four-day tournament, conducted by the Houston Golf Association.
The top seeds in both the boys and girls divisions were beaten on Wednesday in the morning round. The No. 1 girls qualifier Natalie Cao of Sugar Land lost 2 & 1 to ninth-seed Allyn Stephens in the round of 8. Jason Bryant made birdie on the final hole to beat the boys’ top-seed Junior Hernandez 1 up in the round of 16.
No golfer has been beating the competition quite like Sadagopan, who had posted wins of 5 & 4, 4 & 3 and 6 & 5 before rallying from 2 down to beat fifth-seed Grant Lincecum 3 & 1 in the round of 8 on Wednesday afternoon.
Sadagopan was 2 down through the first five holes against Lincecum and was still 2 down on the back nine before winning holes 15 and 16 with par and birdie respectively to make the match dormie.
“It was a great experience,” said the 15-year-old Sadagopan, who is a sophomore at Shadow Creek High School. “Every junior golfer should try to play this event. It’s an awesome experience. We rarely experience match play, so every opportunity I get, I just love match play. Head to head.”
Sadagopan is a seven-time player of the year in the U.S. Kids local tour in Houston and last year was player of the year on the Legends Junior Tour. He’s been dominating his opponents this week.
“Everything’s been trending,” Sadagopan said. “I haven’t played well since May, but everything’s starting to flow in the right direction.
“I figured sometime this was going to happen. And then I didn’t play well in (Monday’s) seeding. I was bummed out, then I got on a run. Match play brings out everything in me. I need to learn from this, to play like this in stroke play.”
In Wednesday’s round of 16, Sadagopan played extremely well, missing only two greens in regulation in eliminating Jackson Murff 6 & 5.
In the semifinals, Sadagopan gets to play with one of his good friends in Dukes, who he has known since he was 9-years-old.
“That should be a whole lot of fun,” Sadagopan said.

Matches Begin At the Greater Houston City Junior Match-Play Championship

By Richard Dean

Jason Bryant was down but not beaten. The 16-year-old from Barbers Hill High School was facing elimination on Tuesday at the Greater Houston City Jr. Match Play Championship, being 2 down with two holes to play.

“The nerves were kicking in, I love the feeling,” Bryant said. “Pressure is what I live for. I was ready to play.”

Bryant won both the 17 and 18 hole at Memorial Park Golf Course to square the match with Maxwell Martinez, before closing out the round of 32 match in 22 holes with a par on the fourth extra hole. And this after Bryant was 3 down through nine holes.

“I never throw in the towel,” said Bryant, who plays out of Eagle Pointe Golf Club. “No matter how far down. This feels amazing, outstanding. I’m ready to play (Wednesday).”

A year ago Bryant lost in this event in the first round. His win in Tuesday’s round of 32 is more gratifying by the way he came from behind.

“I love those kind of moments,” Bryant said. “You can’t give up, you just got to fight for it. That’s what I like doing.”

Bryant, who won 3 & 2 in Tuesday’s earlier round of 64 over Scott Schuster, advances to the round of 16 on Wednesday to face No. 1-seed Junior Hernandez of Clements, who needed 20 holes to beat a game Klein Collins’ Ryan Morant, who made the shot of the day.

Morant holed out from 128 yards using a pitching wedge for an eagle on the 18th hole when he was 1 down, forcing extra holes.

“A fight all the way to the end,” said Hernandez, who earned one of six byes in the round of 64 after shooting a 5-under-par 67 in Monday’s stroke play that determined the seeding for match play.

In a round of 32 match that featured two youngsters, Carson Ezell of The Woodlands, who turned 14 last week, eliminated Kingwood High School’s Damin Strydom, 1 up. Two months ago Strydom won the Class 6A Region III individual championship at Eagle Pointe as a freshman.

“Feels pretty good,” said Ezell, who was 2 down through seven holes. “It was a tough match. I had a good match on the back (nine). We had a good time.”

This is the second time Ezell has played in this tournament. “Last year when I played I was 12-years-old,” Ezell said. “And so everything was a little too long, but I think I lost 1 down on (hole) 18 to a 17-year-old.”

In Wednesday’s round of 16, Ezell will play fifth-seed Grant Lincecum, who won in 21 holes over Tyler Cushing.

While competing in the HGA Performance Series’ 12-14 age division, Ezell dominated. Ezell has won several times on the Legends Tour and is starting to play more AJGA events.

While Ezell has flourished in junior golf, Christian Rodriguez didn’t begin playing golf until two years ago. In Monday’s stroke play, the 16-year-old from Waltrip shot a 3-under-par 69, tying Zakary Jones of Klein Collins for the second-lowest round.

Rodriguez earned a bye in Tuesday’s round of 64, but lost 2 down to Sean Cleland in the round of 32, despite being 3 up at one point. Although he was eliminated on Tuesday, Rodriguez sees positives in his golf game as he’s come a long way in a short period of time.

“I played baseball my whole life until my freshman year in high school,” Rodriguez said. “I feel I’m as good as anyone else out here as a golfer.”

In the girls division of match play, the top two seeds advanced. No. 1-seed Natalie Cao of Sugar Land won her round of 16 match over Reagan Gray 3 & 2. No. 2-seed Tiffany Nguyen won 4 & 3 over Minji Kim. The 14th seed, Casey Kung, eliminated third-seed Nadia Davila in 21 holes.

 

Hernandez Takes Number One Seed at Greater Houston City Junior Championship

By Richard Dean

HOUSTON, TX (July 18, 2017) – Junior Hernandez has been on the radar for some time. The junior golfer was ranked No. 1 in Texas in 2012-13, winning a STPGA Championship during that period.

A senior at Clements High School, Hernandez’s golf game is still progressing. On Monday at Memorial Park Golf Club, Hernandez’s 5-under-par 67 was the lowest score in the 18-hole stroke-play portion of the Greater Houston City Jr. Match Play Championship, conducted by the Houston Golf Association.

“I had one game plan today, just hit fairways and greens,” said the 17-year-old Hernandez, whose five birdies and eagle on the par-5 No. 8 hole offset two bogeys. “I went out there, birdied the first hole. I can’t complain. And after that, I just started rolling the rock (ball). Birdie after birdie. I had to come out strong the first day.”

Trailing Hernandez’s 67 were a pair of 69s shot by 17-year-old Zakary Jones of Klein Collins High School and 16-year-old Christian Rodriguez of Houston. The top seed for match play among the girls is 14-year-old Natalie Cao of Sugar Land, who carded a 73, one shot ahead of Nadia Davila of Houston and Tiffany Nguyen of Houston.

Hernandez, who was wearing an LSU cap during the round, is the top seed for the match-play portion, which begins on Tuesday. The lowest five scores for the boys received byes in Tuesday’s morning session, which will be followed by an afternoon session. The boys and girls championship matches will be played on Thursday.

Hernandez said it means a lot to be the stroke-play champion of such a prestigious tournament.

“I feel I have a lot of confidence going into match play,” said Hernandez, whose swing coach is Clay Edwards of Houston. “And hopefully I transition from today to tomorrow and the rest of the week. I feel confident. I just got to stick to my game and see where it goes from there.”

A year ago, Jones, who has played 10 competitive rounds at Memorial Park, qualified 57th at this event after stroke play and turned it on in match play, finishing third.

“It was a good comeback,” said Jones. “I’ll have probably a little bit easier match (Tuesday) than my first match last year.”

Jones’ 69 on Monday on Memorial Park’s 6,894-yard, par-72 layout is his first bogey-free round. Ever. Even the 65 he shot two summers ago at Victoria Country Club included a bogey with his eight birdies.

Following his round on Monday, Jones was beaming about his no-bogey round.

“It feels great,” said Jones, whose ball striking was spot-on in earning a first-round bye in the opening round of match play. Jones hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation, a remarkable achievement. “A lot of greens, putted pretty well. My proximity to the hole wasn’t great, but I was able to roll a few in.”

Hernandez opened with a front-nine 35 followed by a back-nine 32. Last month on this course playing in the Young Houstonian, Hernandez finished third with a final-round 66.

“This summer’s been good,” said Hernandez, who qualified for the Class 6A high school state tournament in May by earning one of three Individual spots in regional qualifying in April at Eagle Pointe Golf Club.

Cao is also having a superb summer on the course playing in HGA events. She won at Sterling Country Club and placed second at Eagle Pointe and Cypress Lakes.

We Went to a 4-Day USGA Rules of Golf Workshop so You Don’t Have To

The Houston Golf Association Junior Golf staff attended the PGA/USGA Rules of Golf Workshop in San Antonio. It is our goal to be knowledgeable of the rules and to provide the best experience possible to our players. This year brings in a new edition of the Rules of Golf, and we wanted to share just a little bit of what we learned. Read More »

2016 Shell Houston Open Opportunities

There are two opportunities for HGA Junior Golf members to get involved during the Shell Houston Open. Read More »

Membership Registration Now Open

Below is a list of our current scheduled tournaments including Performance Series events and the Greater Houston City Junior Match Play Championship. Read More »

2014 SHO Junior Championship Final

HUMBLE, TX (Sept. 1, 2014) – Adam House, 16, of Rockwall claimed the Boys Division title and Emma Ballard, 17, of Kingwood won the Girls Division at the inaugural Shell Houston Open Junior Championship played on the Tournament Course at the Golf Club of Houston. Read More »

The Houston Golf Association is Excited to Announce the Shell Houston Open Junior Championship!

The Houston Golf Association is excited to announce that a state-wide Championship will be added to the 2014 Junior Golf schedule. The first annual Shell Houston Open Junior Championship will be held at Golf Club of Houston (Tournament Course) August 30-September 1, 2014. This 54 hole event will be an Invitation-only regional tournament, looking to attract the best juniors in the state of Texas to the Houston area. 54 Boys and 30 girls will round out the field, for three days of 18 hole rounds. Exemptions can be earned through our Texas Junior Golf Alliance partners, as well as through some of the HGA Junior Golf Performance Series events. Click here to see the full list of exemptions. Read More »

Hebert, Quinton Capture Junior Championship Titles

HUMBLE (September 10-11, 2011) – Cody Hebert of Katy won the Boys Division and Kayli Quinton of Cypress three-peated in the Girls Division of the Greater Houston Junior Championship at Redstone Golf Club – Tournament Course.

Hebert, 17, earned his title by shooting 72-75—147, 3-over par on the 6,996-yard layout where the Shell Houston Open PGA TOUR event is played. That was 2 shots better than Barrett Hennington (73-76), Patrick Bailey (74-75) and Benjamin Arnett (76-73), all at 149. First-round co-leader Mario Carmona (72-78) finished alone at 150.

Quinton, 17, who trailed by four shots after opening with a 79, was the only Girls Division player to match par 72 the last round. Her 151 total was three shots better than Taylor Stockton (77-77) and four better than Emily Gilbreth (80-75). First-round leader Courtney Zietsman of Cypress (75-82) finished fourth at 157.

2011 Junior Championship Scores
2010 Junior Championship Scores
2009 Junior Championship Scores
2008 Junior Championship Scores
2007 Junior Championship Scores
2006 Junior Championship Scores
2005 Junior Championship Scores