The players on Team Georgia celebrated their victory with a dogpile – would that be a Georgia Bulldog pile? – after edging California in the finals.
By Randy Stutzman
The PGA of America
DULUTH, Ga. – Team Georgia took home the title Sunday in the 2013 PGA Junior League Golf Championship, with a narrow 6 ½ to 5 ½ victory over Team California. Team Georgia was the only undefeated squad in the two-day Championship.
All six teams played one inter-conference competition on Sunday, with Team Texas claiming third place overall.
The team format of PGA Junior League Golf features nine-hole matches with points awarded based on number of holes won, with coaches able to alternate players every three holes, ensuring all team members play.
The PGA of America and League Golf partnered to create PGA Junior League Golf, which has experienced a 345 percent increase in participation since 2012. This year, nearly 9,000 juniors, ages 13 and under, competed on 740 teams from 160 leagues throughout June and early July.
Much like other league sports, PGA Junior League Golf participants receive team uniforms with jersey numbers. Matches are coed, two-person scrambles, which reinforces the team concept and limits the pressure on any one player.
The six teams that qualified for the Championship were divided into an East Conference (Georgia, Virginia, Massachusetts) and West Conference (Texas, California, Indiana). Teams played two competitions within their conference Saturday to determine the winner of each conference.
After both teams went 2-0 in their respective conference competitions on Saturday, Team Georgia and defending champion Team California were ready for a memorable showdown. After falling just short in the inaugural PGA Junior League Golf Championship last year, PGA Professional Chuck Scoggins, the Captain of Team Georgia, knew his team was ready to play for the Championship again.
“Our team wanted to be back in this position again, playing for a Championship,” said Scoggins. “We knew that Team California was going to be tough, and they were, but our team played so well together and I’m so proud of what they did here today.”
The spectacular play by Team Georgia featured the pairing of Luka Karaulic and Tommy Suh, who went 8 under par over nine holes.
“Every group was under par today and that was huge,” said Scoggins. “But there really are no losers in this Championship. PGA Junior League Golf is and incredible program and it will only continue to grow in the future.”
Davis Love III, the Honorary National Captain of PGA Junior League Golf who was on site for the Championship Sunday, was impressed with the overall play and a huge supporter of the team golf concept.
“PGA Junior League Golf offers an incredible opportunity for these youngsters to get involved in the game in a team format,” said Love, the 1997 PGA Champion and 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain. “They’re able to enjoy this great game alongside their friends and it’s an awesome way to introduce them to a game they can play for a lifetime.”
PGA Junior League Golf is designed to bring young players together to learn the game among their peers and under the direction of PGA/LPGA Professionals serving as team captains. Parents are also encouraged to play an active role in the administration of matches and leagues, making the Junior League program a family activity with the capability to create another generation of players to enjoy the game. No previous playing experience is required and players of varied skill levels filled out the teams.
Champion – Team Georgia (Atlanta)
2nd – Team California (Livermore)
3rd – Team Texas (Houston)
4th – Team Massachusetts (South Boston)
5th – Team Indiana (Indianapolis)
6th – Team Virginia (Fairfax)