Off to a Strong Start

Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado makes major strides in its first year


by Gary Baines - 10/20/2016


It might be hard to believe, but there were probably more spectators surrounding the 18th green at Cherry Hills Country Club for the conclusion of the recent Junior Tour Championship than there were for any other golf tournament in Colorado this year, with the possible exception of the CoBank Colorado Open.

That obviously is partly due to no professional tour events or USGA national championships being held in the state in 2016. But it's also a testament to the first-year success of the Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado, which concluded its inaugural year with an Oct. 9 awards banquet at Cherry Hills following the Junior Tour Championship.

About 230 people attended the season-ending banquet, which took place almost exactly a year after the CGA and Colorado PGA announced plans to join forces for the junior alliance, with the CWGA being a contributing partner.

With youth participation in tournaments and events increasing considerably over comparable events in 2015, the driving forces behind the JGAC have a right to be proud about the "rookie year" for their major initiative.

"I'd call it without a doubt one of the most successful things we've ever done," said Dustin Jensen, the CGA's managing director of operations, who along with Colorado PGA assistant executive director Keith Soriano has spearheaded the JGAC organizational efforts. "The entire thing just exploded in a great way. It was a complete success. (The alliance) did exactly what was hoped for, which was to make life simpler and easier for players and parents" by the JGAC being a one-stop shop for junior golf in Colorado.

"One of the most important things when we put together this alliance was getting all of our championships under one roof. Everything now lives in one location."

The numbers certainly show a positive trend for the JGAC, which was created with the idea of streamlining, improving and expanding the junior golf experience in Colorado.

Membership in the JGAC is up about 16 percent from what it was for the CJGA in 2015, and tournament participation jumped 23.5 percent, not counting PGA Junior League Golf and the Drive, Chip & Putt events.

Soriano reports that kids playing in Colorado-based Drive, Chip & Putt competitions increased almost 15 percent from 2015. For the PGA Junior League Golf in Colorado, the number of kids, teams and facilities participating roughly doubled in 2016 compared to 2015. (The South Denver All-Stars won the state title.) And if fall projections prove accurate, almost 28 percent more kids will be reached this year than last through the Colorado PGA Golf in Schools Program, with the total for 2016 expected to be 10,101.

Even with some spring events canceled due to the weather, there were more than 80 junior tournaments that the JGAC oversaw in 2016, highlighted by the four major championships for both boys and girls.

For more information on the Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado, CLICK HERE.

Here are the 2016 honorees that were among those recognized at the JGAC awards banquet at Cherry Hills on Oct. 9:

PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
Mary Weinstein of Highlands Ranch-JGAC Girls Player of the Year: Weinstein (left), who now plays at Regis University, won two of the four girls titles in the JGAC majors as well as the 5A girls state high school championship. Nationally/internationally, the Hale Irwin Elite Player finished fifth in the Optimist International Junior and 15th in the Junior PGA Championship. At Regis, Weinstein has posted top-five individual finishes in each of her first four college events, including a win at the Western New Mexico Fall Intercollegiate. Weinstein essentially wins this girls POY award for the second straight season as she was the CWGA Junior Player of the Year in 2015.
 
AJ Ott of Fort Collins-JGAC Boys Player of the Year: Ott (left), now a freshman on the Colorado State University golf team, won the Colorado Junior PGA Championship by seven strokes, finished second in the AJGA Hale Irwin Colorado Junior and the national PGA Junior Series event at the Air Force Academy, and made it to the semifinals of the Colorado Junior Match Play.

MOST IMPROVED PLAYERS
Kelsey Webster of Boulder-JGAC Girls Most Improved Player: Webster, a junior at Fairview High School, averaged 86.8 in rounds played before July 15 of this year. After that date, her average was 76.6. Webster finished fourth among the girls at the Junior Tour Championship at Cherry Hills.

Arik Roberts of Colorado Springs-JGAC Boys Most Improved Player: Roberts, a senior at Palmer High School, likewise made a considerable jump in 2016. Last year, his scoring average was 82.75. In 2016, his rounds ranged from a low of 69 to a high of 78.

POINTS CHASE CHAMPIONS
Andre Dumonteil-JGAC 10 & Under Boys Points Chase Champion
Hadley Ashton-JGAC 10 & Under Girls Points Chase Champion
Jordan Jennings-JGAC 11-13 Boys Points Chase Champion
Katelyn Lehigh-JGAC 11-13 Girls Points Chase Champion
Jack Pevny-JGAC 14-18 Boys Points Chase Champion
Emma Bryant-JGAC 14-18 Girls Points Chase Champion
AJ Ott-JGAC Tour Boys Points Chase Champion
Caroline Jordaan-JGAC Tour Girls Points Chase Champion

JUNIOR ALL-STARS
Hadley Ashton-JGAC 10 & Under Girls All-Star
Ashleigh Wilson-JGAC 10 & Under Girls All-Star
Caitlyn Chin-JGAC 10 & Under Girls All-Star
Hillary Nelson-JGAC 10 & Under Girls All-Star
Brooke Hudson-JGAC 10 & Under Girls All-Star
Andre Dumonteil-JGAC 10 & Under Boys All-Star
Matai Naqica-JGAC 10 & Under Boys All-Star
Tyler Long-JGAC 10 & Under Boys All-Star
Frank Lockwood-JGAC 10 & Under Boys All-Star
Landon Houska-JGAC 10 & Under Boys All-Star
Jordan Jennings-JGAC 11-13 Boys All-Star
Jeffrey Zhou-JGAC 11-13 Boys All-Star
Ryan Sangchompuphen-JGAC 11-13 Boys All-Star
Traejan Andrews-JGAC 11-13 Boys All-Star
TJ Hicks-JGAC 11-13 Boys All-Star
Katelyn Lehigh-JGAC 11-13 Girls All-Star
Sofia Choi-JGAC 11-13 Girls All-Star
Anju Ogi-JGAC 11-13 Girls All-Star
Merielle Gojo-JGAC 11-13 Girls All-Star
Alyssa Chin-JGAC 11-13 Girls All-Star
Jack Pevny-JGAC 14-18 Boys All-Star
Beam Boonta-JGAC 14-18 Boys All-Star
Colter Zwieg-JGAC 14-18 Boys All-Star
Connor Jones-JGAC 14-18 Boys All-Star
Travis Menke, Jr.-JGAC 14-18 Boys All-Star
Emma Bryant-JGAC 14-18 Girls All-Star
Jessica Zapf-JGAC 14-18 Girls All-Star
Aili Bundy-JGAC 14-18 Girls All-Star
Natasha Brandy McClain-JGAC 14-18 Girls All-Star
Katherine Malcolm-JGAC 14-18 Girls All-Star
AJ Ott-JGAC Tour Boys All-Star
Trevor Olkowski-JGAC Tour Boys All-Star
Davis Bryant-JGAC Tour Boys All-Star
Griffin Barela-JGAC Tour Boys All-Star
Jackson Solem-JGAC Tour Boys All-Star
Caroline Jordaan-JGAC Tour Girls All-Star
Mary Weinstein-JGAC Tour Girls All-Star
Lauren Lehigh-JGAC Tour Girls All-Star
Hailey Schalk-JGAC Tour Girls All-Star
Charlotte Hillary-JGAC Tour Girls All-Star
 
ACADEMIC ALL-STARS
Lev Abramson-JGAC Academic All-Star
Emaan Adil-JGAC Academic All-Star
Christian Agelopoulos-JGAC Academic All-Star
Evan Albright-JGAC Academic All-Star
Ethan Alexander-JGAC Academic All-Star
Conner Allen-JGAC Academic All-Star
Gavin Amella-JGAC Academic All-Star
Matthew Ammon-JGAC Academic All-Star
Tyler Andrews-JGAC Academic All-Star
Traejan Andrews-JGAC Academic All-Star
Ty Andrews-JGAC Academic All-Star
Josie Baker-JGAC Academic All-Star
Jamie Banghart-JGAC Academic All-Star
Julia Baroth-JGAC Academic All-Star
Katie Berrian-JGAC Academic All-Star
Elijah Biehl-JGAC Academic All-Star
Sam Blackwood-JGAC Academic All-Star
William Branan-JGAC Academic All-Star
Caroline Brandon-JGAC Academic All-Star
Davis Bryant-JGAC Academic All-Star
Emma Bryant-JGAC Academic All-Star
Melia Buckton-JGAC Academic All-Star
Charlie Budacz-Kauflin-JGAC Academic All-Star
Caitlin Budacz-Kauflin-JGAC Academic All-Star
Aili Bundy-JGAC Academic All-Star
Connor Burke-JGAC Academic All-Star
Jake Butler-JGAC Academic All-Star
Skylar Cain-JGAC Academic All-Star
Isaac Calden-JGAC Academic All-Star
Sean Cary-JGAC Academic All-Star
Jack Castiglia-JGAC Academic All-Star
Jake Chesler-JGAC Academic All-Star
Justin Chiacchia-JGAC Academic All-Star
Alyssa Chin-JGAC Academic All-Star
Ben Chin-JGAC Academic All-Star
Caitlyn Chin-JGAC Academic All-Star
Ella Chism-JGAC Academic All-Star
Amy Chitkoksoong-JGAC Academic All-Star
Sofia Choi-JGAC Academic All-Star
Adam Clark-JGAC Academic All-Star
Kirby Coe-Kirkham-JGAC Academic All-Star
Alex Colby-JGAC Academic All-Star
Kyree Conaway-JGAC Academic All-Star
Melissa Cooke-JGAC Academic All-Star
Andrew Cox-JGAC Academic All-Star
Eddie Custy-JGAC Academic All-Star
Andrew Davis-JGAC Academic All-Star
Tabitha Diehl-JGAC Academic All-Star
Mario Dino-JGAC Academic All-Star
Dylan Dobbs-JGAC Academic All-Star
Dakota Dolph-JGAC Academic All-Star
Hannah Doran-JGAC Academic All-Star
Graham Dzengelewski-JGAC Academic All-Star
Katrina Estes-JGAC Academic All-Star
Sydney Eye-JGAC Academic All-Star
Nolan Farrar-JGAC Academic All-Star
Ty Findlow-JGAC Academic All-Star
Hunter Flowers-JGAC Academic All-Star
Oscar Ford-JGAC Academic All-Star
Kaden Ford-JGAC Academic All-Star
Ryan Foslien-JGAC Academic All-Star
Jaxon Franklin-JGAC Academic All-Star
Rhett Fruitman-JGAC Academic All-Star
Walker Fuller-JGAC Academic All-Star
John Fulton-JGAC Academic All-Star
Daniel Gallant-JGAC Academic All-Star
Carly Gallant-JGAC Academic All-Star
Andrew Geisick-JGAC Academic All-Star
Evan Gilmartin-JGAC Academic All-Star
Freddie Gluck-JGAC Academic All-Star
Merielle Gojo-JGAC Academic All-Star
Gabe Goodman-JGAC Academic All-Star
Jonas Graham-JGAC Academic All-Star
Brady Henderson-JGAC Academic All-Star
Charlotte Hillary-JGAC Academic All-Star
Carter Hinkle-JGAC Academic All-Star
Landon Houska-JGAC Academic All-Star
William Howenstein-JGAC Academic All-Star
Mia Huerta-JGAC Academic All-Star
Ryan Hunt-JGAC Academic All-Star
Sarah Hunt-JGAC Academic All-Star
Freddie Ingham-JGAC Academic All-Star
Jake Johnson-JGAC Academic All-Star
Emmalee Johnson-JGAC Academic All-Star
Trey Jones-JGAC Academic All-Star
Kathryn Jordan-JGAC Academic All-Star
Evan Kalac-JGAC Academic All-Star
Arielle Keating-JGAC Academic All-Star
Quinlan Kellough-JGAC Academic All-Star
Cade Kilkenny-JGAC Academic All-Star
Nicholas Kim-JGAC Academic All-Star
Elias King-JGAC Academic All-Star
Cameron Kirke-JGAC Academic All-Star
Linc Kleager-JGAC Academic All-Star
Holden Kleager-JGAC Academic All-Star
Callie Kloenne-JGAC Academic All-Star
Cassie Kneen-JGAC Academic All-Star
Brooke Kramer-JGAC Academic All-Star
Patrick Kramer-JGAC Academic All-Star
Ben Kusnetzky-JGAC Academic All-Star
Luke Kusserow-JGAC Academic All-Star
Blake Kuzava-JGAC Academic All-Star
Gisella Lagrimas-JGAC Academic All-Star
John Lamb-JGAC Academic All-Star
Maxwell Lange-JGAC Academic All-Star
William Leary-JGAC Academic All-Star
David Leede-JGAC Academic All-Star
Madeleine LeGrande-JGAC Academic All-Star
Sophie LeGrande-JGAC Academic All-Star
Katie Lehigh-JGAC Academic All-Star
Lauren Lehigh-JGAC Academic All-Star
Maddie Li-JGAC Academic All-Star
Frank Lockwood-JGAC Academic All-Star
Tyler Long-JGAC Academic All-Star
Davis Long-JGAC Academic All-Star
Jordan Lueck-JGAC Academic All-Star
Katherine Malcom-JGAC Academic All-Star
Max Malden-JGAC Academic All-Star
Shayne Marcely-JGAC Academic All-Star
Izzy Marchino-JGAC Academic All-Star
Brooke Marx-JGAC Academic All-Star
Devin Mauro-Gallegos-JGAC Academic All-Star
Madison McCambridge-JGAC Academic All-Star
Brandy McClain-JGAC Academic All-Star
Calvin McCoy-JGAC Academic All-Star
Parker McNitt-JGAC Academic All-Star
Alix Mees-JGAC Academic All-Star
Andrew Merz-JGAC Academic All-Star
Megan Miller-JGAC Academic All-Star
Nolan Miller-JGAC Academic All-Star
Ryan Mudd-JGAC Academic All-Star
Tyler Mulligan-JGAC Academic All-Star
Jaclyn Murray-JGAC Academic All-Star
Roger Nakagawa-JGAC Academic All-Star
Ryan Occhionero-JGAC Academic All-Star
Brittlyn O'Dell-JGAC Academic All-Star
Caitlin O'Donnell-JGAC Academic All-Star
Yusuke Ogi-JGAC Academic All-Star
Anju Ogi-JGAC Academic All-Star
Shane O'Hagan-JGAC Academic All-Star
Liam O'Halloran-JGAC Academic All-Star
AJ Ott-JGAC Academic All-Star
Eshaan Palanati-JGAC Academic All-Star
Owen Pasvogel-JGAC Academic All-Star
Daniel Pearson-JGAC Academic All-Star
Ryan Pearson-JGAC Academic All-Star
Jacob Pendergast-JGAC Academic All-Star
Rachel Penzenstadler-JGAC Academic All-Star
Kira Petersen-JGAC Academic All-Star
Xavier Petrosky-JGAC Academic All-Star
Shelby Poynter-JGAC Academic All-Star
Sydney Prey-JGAC Academic All-Star
Makena Prey-JGAC Academic All-Star
Haley Prey-JGAC Academic All-Star
Nathan Rabuck-JGAC Academic All-Star
Nathan Rabuck-JGAC Academic All-Star
Andrew Rankin-JGAC Academic All-Star
Brock Reedy-JGAC Academic All-Star
Marisa Reeves-JGAC Academic All-Star
Will Rinehart-JGAC Academic All-Star
Larissa Roberts-JGAC Academic All-Star
Ji Hyun Roh-JGAC Academic All-Star
David Roney-JGAC Academic All-Star
Ben Rosenthal-JGAC Academic All-Star
Jack Rotermund-JGAC Academic All-Star
Oliver Rotermund-JGAC Academic All-Star
Kailer Rundiks-JGAC Academic All-Star
Morgan Ryan-JGAC Academic All-Star
Ashlee Sample-JGAC Academic All-Star
Kellsey Sample-JGAC Academic All-Star
Ryan Sang-JGAC Academic All-Star
Nolan Sankey-JGAC Academic All-Star
Colton Sankey-JGAC Academic All-Star
Riley Schaefer-JGAC Academic All-Star
Hailey Schalk-JGAC Academic All-Star
Miranda Schiffbauer-JGAC Academic All-Star
Blake Schneiter-JGAC Academic All-Star
Josh Schumacher-JGAC Academic All-Star
Tyler Severin-JGAC Academic All-Star
Timbre Shehee-JGAC Academic All-Star
Tray Shehee-JGAC Academic All-Star
Parker Skiles-JGAC Academic All-Star
Alexander Slawson-JGAC Academic All-Star
Christopher Smith-JGAC Academic All-Star
Jackson Solem-JGAC Academic All-Star
Dillon Stewart-JGAC Academic All-Star
Blake Sullivan-JGAC Academic All-Star
Hunter Swanson-JGAC Academic All-Star
Samuel Taylor-JGAC Academic All-Star
Bridger Tenney-JGAC Academic All-Star
Emma Teuton-JGAC Academic All-Star
Luke Thomson-JGAC Academic All-Star
Molli Todd-JGAC Academic All-Star
Collen Todd-JGAC Academic All-Star
Luke Travins-JGAC Academic All-Star
Hunter Tuite-JGAC Academic All-Star
Tyler Tuite-JGAC Academic All-Star
Ethan Turner-JGAC Academic All-Star
Tyler Tyson-JGAC Academic All-Star
Zachary Tyson-JGAC Academic All-Star
Sean Wallace-JGAC Academic All-Star
Wes Weber-JGAC Academic All-Star
Kelsey Webster-JGAC Academic All-Star
Hayden Wehe-JGAC Academic All-Star
Chloe Weigum-JGAC Academic All-Star
Mary Weinstein-JGAC Academic All-Star
Jake Welch-JGAC Academic All-Star
Brock Whitt-JGAC Academic All-Star
Ashleigh Wilson-JGAC Academic All-Star
Liam Wood-JGAC Academic All-Star
Mark Worthington-JGAC Academic All-Star
Jay Yano-JGAC Academic All-Star
Alex Yano-JGAC Academic All-Star
Jessica Zapf-JGAC Academic All-Star
Tyler Zhang-JGAC Academic All-Star
Ben Zimmerman-JGAC Academic All-Star
Colter Zwieg-JGAC Academic All-Star
   




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