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Colorado Well-Represented

Teams set for Junior America’s Cup: Stewart, Hughes, Shehee, Franklin on boys squad; Lehigh, Hillary, Schalk, Braecklein on girls’

By Gary Baines – 06/28/2019

Last year was certainly a memorable one when it came to the teams that represented the Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado and the state at the boys Junior America’s Cup and the Girls Junior Americas Cup.

The boys squad became the first ever from Colorado to capture the JAC title on the male side. And, for good measure, Dillon Stewart of Fort Collins earned the individual championship. Since 2015, Colorado has placed third, sixth, fourth and first in the boys JAC team competition.

Meanwhile, the Girls Junior Americas Cup was held in Colorado (at Hiwan Golf Club in Evergreen) for the first time since 2000, and the squad representing the Centennial State placed fifth in the 18-team field — its best showing since 2013.

Now, the Colorado teams have been finalized for the 2019 competitions.

The boys JAC will be held July 23-25 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and representing Colorado will be Stewart, Walker Franklin of Broomfield, Jack Hughes of Snowmass Village and TJ Shehee of Mead. This will be Stewart’s third JAC, Franklin’s second, and the first for both Hughes and Shehee.

The Girls Junior Americas Cup is set for July 29-Aug. 1 in Murietta, Calif., and the Colorado team there will be Lauren Lehigh of Loveland, Charlotte Hillary of Cherry Hills Village, Hailey Schalk of Erie and Aubri Braecklein of Northglenn. It’ll be the 17-year-old Schalk’s fourth straight year on the team, the third in a row for Lehigh, the second time overall for Hillary, who also represented Colorado in 2017, and the first for Braecklein.

Both the Junior America’s Cup and the Girls Junior Americas Cup feature teams from the western U.S., Canada and Mexico. There are 18 four-person squads that compete in each event, with the best three scores for each team each day counting toward the team total.

Here’s a brief rundown on the Colorado representatives this year:

BOYS JUNIOR AMERICA’S CUP JULY 23-25 IN EDMONTON

— Dillon Stewart of Fort Collins: Will be playing in his third Junior America’s Cup. … Will be defending his individual JAC title after prevailing by two strokes last year in Anaconda, Mont. Also will be helping Colorado defend its team championship. … So far this year has won the Colorado Junior PGA Championship by eight strokes — qualifying for the national Boys Junior PGA Championship in the process — and qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur for the second straight year. … Was the 2018 JGAC Boys Player of the Year. That year, he became the first Colorado boy to win the AJGA Hale Irwin Colorado Junior, also captured another AJGA title and earned the 5A boys state high school individual and team championships while at Fossil Ridge. … Will play his college golf at Oklahoma State beginning in the fall. 

— Jack Hughes of Snowmass Village: Will be playing in his first Junior America’s Cup. … Earlier this month became just the third Coloradan to win the AJGA Hale Irwin Colorado Junior title. …Placed second last month in qualifying for the IMG Academy Junior World Championships. … Last fall, finished second individually at the 3A boys state high school meet while leading Aspen to the team title. … Was a semifinalist in the Colorado Junior Match Play last summer. … Will play his college golf at the University of Colorado beginning in the fall.

— TJ Shehee of Mead: Will be playing in his first Junior America’s Cup. … Recently placed second in the Colorado Junior PGA Championship and qualified for the national Boys Junior PGA. … Won the 2019 JGAC Tour opener in the spring. … Finished third in the 4A boys state high school tournament last fall. … Was also third in the 2018 Colorado Junior Amateur. … Qualified in 2017 for the U.S. Junior Amateur. … Will play his college golf at the University of Northern Colorado beginning in the fall. 

— Walker Franklin of Broomfield: Will be playing in his second Junior America’s Cup as he helped Colorado claim the team title in 2018. Franklin placed 27th individually. … Last month was medalist in qualifying for the prestigious IMG Academy Junior World Championships. … Finished fourth last fall in the 3A boys state high school tournament after tying for second the previous year. … In 2017 placed sixth in the boys 14-15 division of the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships.

GIRLS JUNIOR AMERICAS CUP JULY 29-AUG. 1 IN MURIETTA, CALIF.

— Lauren Lehigh of Loveland: Will be competing in her third straight GJAC. She tied for 14th place individually last year. … Recently won the Colorado Junior PGA Championship by eight strokes and qualified for the national Girls Junior PGA Championship. In May, she won her second girls state high school title while at Loveland HS. … She’s also earned two victories in 2019 in JGAC Tour events. … In 2018, was the JGAC Girls Player of the Year. That year, she won the Colorado Junior Match Play title and was one of 12 girls named to the Transamerica Scholastic Junior All-America Team by the AJGA. … Finished 13th in the Big I National Championship in 2018. … Won the Big I Junior Classic state title in 2017. … Will play her college golf at the University of New Mexico starting in the fall. … Has been a member of the Hale Irwin Player Program for over three years.

— Charlotte Hillary of Cherry Hills Village: Will be competing in her second GJAC, having previously represented Colorado in 2017. … Recently placed third in the CGA Women’s Stroke Play. … Also in 2019, finished 25th in the prestigious Rolex Girls Junior Championship and tied Lehigh for third in the AJGA Hale Irwin Colorado Junior. … Last month, tied for second in the 3A state high school championship for Kent Denver. … Last fall, won her second JGAC Tour Championship. … In 2018 made match play at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball with Hillary. … Has verbally committed to play her college golf at Northwestern beginning in the fall of 2020.  

— Hailey Schalk of Erie: Will be competing in her fourth straight GJAC. She placed 14th individually in the event each of the last two years. … Recently earned medalist honors in qualifying for the U.S. Girls’ Junior. … In May, won her record-tying third girls state high school title in as many attempts while competing for Holy Family. … Won a JGAC Tour event at the Country Club of Colorado in April. … Has won four JGAC majors in her career — one in 2016, two in 2017 and one in 2018 — and was the 2017 JGAC Girls Player of the Year. … Won the AJGA Hale Irwin Colorado Junior girls title in 2017. … Has verbally committed to play her college golf at the University of Colorado beginning in the fall of 2020. 

— Aubri Braecklein of Northglenn: Will be competing in her first GJAC. … Recently placed third in Colorado Junior PGA Championship. … Also this month, placed fifth in the AJGA Hale Irwin Colorado Junior. … Last month, tied for second in the 3A state high school championship for Jefferson Academy. … Has qualified for next month’s IMG Academy Junior World Championships and the Optimist Junior Golf Championship.