Category: Junior Golf
HOUSTON (Jan. 14, 2019)– The Texas Junior Golf Alliance today announced a three-year extension by each of its four founding partners – Southern Texas PGA, Northern Texas PGA, Texas Golf Association and Houston Golf Association. The new agreement takes effect immediately and runs through December 2021.
Formed in 2012, the goal of the Alliance was to allow junior golfers a clear path to the best tournaments in Texas. Each of the three tier two organizations (STPGA, NTPGA, HGA) conduct events that serve as qualifiers into the statewide tier one events run by the Legends Junior Tour (LJT). This allows players to compete in local events, in which they can earn spots to play in statewide tournaments. The Texas Golf Association runs and operates the LJT, which conducts elite-level, statewide junior events, such as the Byron Nelson Junior Championship, Texas Cup Invitational and Texas Girls Invitational.
“This extended agreement is extremely exciting for junior golfers as it strengthens the partnership between all four founding partners,” said Thomas Hutton, Executive Director for the Southern Texas PGA. “It gives more playing opportunities, both locally and statewide, and continues to show that junior golf in Texas is the best in the country.”
This new agreement comes with a few changes and additions. Starting in 2019, players who participate in tier two events have the ability to earn full status on the LJT by way of “the Battle Field Promotion” concept. This promotion takes places when a player wins two tier two events with the same organization in a calendar year.
“Our goal for the alliance is to provide a clear player pathway for the best playing junior golfers in Texas who desire to play in college and perhaps beyond without ever needing to leave the State,” said Mark Harrison Executive Director / CEO of the Northern Texas PGA. “With the addition of Battle Field Promotion, we are excited to provided kids who win twice in a calendar year on the STPGA Prestige Tour, the NTPGA All American Tour or the HGA Performance Series to jump straight to the Legends Junior Tour. The PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour both have similar Battle Field Promotions with their partner tours, the Web.com and Symetra Tours, so we are confident that it will be a great way to both incentivize and reward players.”
Another new component is the increase of Invitational tournaments conducted by the LJT. The Bluebonnet Championship, which is played annually in May, will transition from an Open event to an Invitational. In addition, a new Texas Junior Golf Alliance Invitational will be formed in the fall.
“With increased demand and players wanting to qualify and then play in a championship event, adding two more Invitationals was ideal for the Legends Junior Tour and the overall Alliance,” said Stacy Dennis, Executive Director of the Texas Golf Association. “This allows for more exemptions to be given out at STPGA, NTPGA and HGA events but still run the most highly competitive junior golf events in the state.”
This year alone between all four organizations, the Texas Junior Golf Alliance will conduct more than 75 tournaments across the state. Each tour has past champions who have gone on to play at the highest levels in college and professionally. Supremely talented competitors such as Jordan Spieth, Cole Hammer and Hailee Cooper are all Texas Junior Golf Alliance alumni.
“The HGA is looking forward to seeing these changes and enhancements to the Texas Junior Golf Alliance,” said Steve Timms, CEO of the Houston Golf Association. “Junior golf remains an important element to our organization and these events provide incentive to improve your game and earn Legends Junior Tour exemptions.”
For a complete listing of each organization’s 2019 schedule, please visit the websites below. The first alliance event is taking place in January.
About the Legends Junior Tour: Part of the Texas Golf Association and its Foundation since its inception in 2005, the LJT has provided junior golfers with a chance to compete at a statewide level and hone their skills. The tour features 20 events throughout the state and offers players a chance to earn playing opportunities in national events throughout the year. The LJT has a proven record of helping junior golfers in the state prepare for the national level of competitive golf as well as offer kids a chance to ready themselves and move into the collegiate golf ranks. Each LJT event is open to any member of the Texas Junior Golf Alliance who is under the age of 19 and has proven themselves through one of the Alliance Partners.
About the Southern Texas PGA Foundation: Founded in 1994, the Southern Texas PGA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, is committed to impacting lives through the game of golf. Each year close to 6,000 children and their families are impacted through the Foundation that creates an understanding that golf is a lifelong sport that teaches values and life lessons. Our Foundation prides itself on instilling our juniors with positive character traits and a commitment to integrity and honor. The Srixon Prestige Tour now in its 6th year has become the highest level regional tour in Southern Texas and provides players the clear pathway to the Legends Junior Tour. In 2019, the tour will have over 25 events on its schedule.
About the Northern Teas PGA Junior Golf Foundation: Founded in 1983, the Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, that is committed to introducing, promoting and growing the game of golf to a diverse group of kids in North Texas and instilling in them the positive, character developing traits for which the game is so well known. Each year close to 10,000 children and their families are impacted by the game that lasts a lifetime through a full circle of programs and services including:
• Introduction – Golf in Schools, Fairway to Success After School Program, Drive, Chip and Putt and Summer Golf Camps
• Playing – Team Golf, PGA Junior League, Prep, Medalist Levels and All-American Tour – 500+ tournaments per year
• Education – College Scholarships – $2.36M distributed including $307,500 awarded in 2018
• Employment – Internship and Camp Program
About the Houston Golf Association: Founded in 1946, the Houston Golf Association (HGA) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Since inception the HGA has existed to make a difference in Houston communities and in the lives of area youth through golf and charity. HGA began offering its junior golf program to the Greater Houston Area in 1957. Since that time, thousands of youth have benefitted from the opportunities the program has afforded them. HGA, through its wholly owned subsidiary – The First Tee of Greater Houston reached over 350,000 youth in 2018 through elementary school, after school and traditional golf programs, introducing the game of golf to a broad and diverse audience across the Greater Houston Region.
A new and essential part of HGA’s impact is the Municipal Golf Initiative, which upgrades public golf facilities, beautifies green spaces, and creates a place to mentor youth through The First Tee of Great Houston program. For more information visit hga.org.
Will Promote Digital Golf Instruction To Kids, Amateurs
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (January 23, 2017) – Secret Golf Inc., one of golf’s fastest-growing digital media instruction companies, today announced a partnership with the Houston Golf Association (HGA) on a significant youth initiative in the nation’s fourth-largest city.
Secret Golf will provide an annual membership to its leading online instructional golf platform to HGA Junior Golf and The First Tee of Greater Houston members as well as the participants in the Houston Golf Association’s two amateur championships — the Greater Houston Men’s City Amateur and the Greater Houston Men’s Senior City Amateur. This joint effort between Secret Golf and the HGA will reach thousands of youth and amateur golfers annually throughout the Greater Houston region and beyond.
“As most people know, Houston is home to me and I’m so glad we can partner with the Houston Golf Association on this project. Kids need to get the right message as soon as possible and there’s no better way than learning from TOUR professionals and the Secret Golf platform,” co-founder Steve Elkington said. “All of our players grew up supporting a junior golf program somewhere. This is special for me because when I was young growing up in Australia, I had to take a train for 20 hours from Wagga Wagga to Sydney to spend a weekend learning from the great teacher Alex Mercer. Now, everything is digital and I’m glad we have the ability to reach so many kids and amateurs in our area.”
“Partnering with Secret Golf to offer golf instruction is of great benefit to our programs as we aspire to grow the game of golf and make it accessible for all,” said Steve Timms, president and CEO Houston Golf Association. “I know our HGA Junior Golf and The First Tee participants, as well as amateurs, will be excited to learn from TOUR professionals and some of golf’s greats.”
The initial program will be for 2018 and will offer access to Secret Golf’s instructional curriculum and exclusive library of video content from PGA Tour and LPGA Tour players. Registration information will be available on both secretgolf.com and HGA.org.
About Secret Golf
Secret Golf is one of the world’s fastest-growing digital golf media companies and is the industry leader in golf instruction by Tour professionals. Secret Golf is the first company of its kind, owned by Tour professionals who passionately believe in sharing deep insights into the game of golf. Secret Golf is the first to have personalized online video instruction from Tour professionals who play or have played the game at the highest level and features a multi-platform online media distribution strategy — social, smart TV, web, mobile and partner content syndication.
In addition to Steve Elkington, Secret Golf’s growing team from the PGA Tour/Web.com Tour includes World Golf Hall of Fame member Jackie Burke, PGA Champion Jason Dufner, Bronson Burgoon, Jason Gore, Brian Harman, Patton Kizzire, Colt Knost, Jason Kokrak, Lee McCoy, Ryan Palmer, Pat Perez, Martin Piller, Chris Stroud and Ethan Tracy. Team Secret Golf’s LPGA staff features, two-time LPGA Tour Player of the Year Stacy Lewis, U.S. Open winner Brittany Lang, Gaby Lopez and Gerina Piller. Former Tour player turned instructor Bradley Hughes of Australia rounds out the group of professionals.
For more information about Secret Golf, please visit www.secretgolf.com and join us on Facebook: SecretGolf, Instagram: Secret Golf and on Twitter: @SecretGolf
About Houston Golf Association
Houston Golf Association (HGA) and its member volunteers make a difference for Houston communities and their youth through golf, outreach programs, events and fundraising. Founded in 1946, HGA is a not-for-profit, tax exempt 501(c)3 organization and host organization to the Houston Open. Houston Golf Association operates The First Tee of Greater Houston reaching 350,000 youth annually and HGA Junior Golf hosts amateur golf events and works with the City of Houston to restore municipal golf courses and amenities. For more information go to www.hga.org.
Director of Communications
Secret Golf, Inc.
VP of Marketing/Communications
Houston Golf Association
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.
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.
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 »
There are two opportunities for HGA Junior Golf members to get involved during the Shell Houston Open. Read More »
Below is a list of our current scheduled tournaments including Performance Series events and the Greater Houston City Junior Match Play Championship. Read More »
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 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 »
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