AJGA's Columbus Junior returns to OSU's Scarlet
The eighth Columbus Junior presented by the Memorial Tournament will be held Tuesday, July 12, through Thursday, July 14, at the Ohio State Golf Club Scarlet Course.
It is the third time that the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) event will be played on the Scarlet Course after stops in 2004 and 2009.
The Columbus Junior has been held at four venues, also including Dornoch Golf Club (2005-06), Tartan Fields (2008) and the County Club at Muirfield Village (2007, 2010).
Last year, Nicholas Grubnich of Crown Point, Ind., shot a 6-under-par 210 and survived five playoff holes to win the boys division and Lindsey Weaver of Scottsdale, Ariz., posted an 11-under 205 to cruise to a 12-stroke victory in the girls division. Neither player will be in the field this season.
There are 18 central Ohio players scheduled to take part in the 84-player field, which features top junior players (ages 12-18) from 16 states, Canada and Colombia.
Area players on the boys side are Garrett Brickley (Pickerington), Alex Carpenter (Westerville), Thomas Dunne (Dublin), Joo-Young Lee (Hilliard), Matthew Moosavian (Westerville), Mert Selamet (Dublin), David Shepherd (Dublin), Blake Stewart (Dublin), Drew Thompson (Pickerington) and Nate Yankovich (Blacklick).
Dunne (Dublin Coffman), Carpenter (St. Charles), Lee (Hilliard Darby), Thompson (Pickerington North) and Yankovich (St. Charles) all competed in the event last season.
Carpenter was one of three others who joined Grubnich in the playoff after all four finished with 210s. Dunne (215) tied for 15th, Lee (219) tied for 33rd, Thompson (221) was 37th and Yankovich (222) tied for 38th.
"My goal is to finish in the top five," said Thompson, a 2011 graduate who will play for Guilford College (Greensboro, N.C.), which is a highly ranked NCAA Division III program. "It will be my sixth AJGA event this season, it's on a fun course and I've been playing pretty well."
Yankovich, who will be a senior in the fall, is familiar with the Scarlet Course after playing in the state tournament with the Cardinals the past two seasons. St. Charles won the title both seasons and Yankovich tied for second (75) in the tournament in 2009, when rain canceled the second round. Last season he tied for 10th (155) and teammate Michael Ricaurte (144) was medalist. Carpenter (159) tied for 18th as St. Charles won by 11 strokes.
"I've played that course several times, but I don't have a (score) in mind because it depends on how it's playing then," said Yankovich, who has made college visits to Miami University, Michigan State, Illinois and Purdue. "It's the closest AJGA event, but I want to go in there like I do every tournament - all business. I want to focus on my game, play my best and have fun doing it."
In the girls field, area competitors include Sierra Everson (Gahanna), Tess Fraser (Marysville), Lauren Grogan (Columbus), Erin Harper (Dublin), Natalie Irwin (Columbus), Julie Lechner (Powell), Morgan Ransom (Columbus) and Gina Son (Westerville).
Ransom (Columbus Academy), Fraser, Grogan (Watterson) and Lechner (Olentangy Liberty) competed in the event last season. Ransom (227) was fifth, Grogan (229) tied for seventh, Lechner (240) was 18th and Fraser (243) was 19th.
Ransom, a senior, was the Division II state champion (140) last season on OSU's Gray Course after finishing runner-up as a sophomore and freshman.
Grogan finished third (151) in the Division I state tournament as Watterson was eighth. Fraser (160) tied for 18th overall as an individual qualifier.
"I didn't play to my ability (in the Columbus Junior) last season," said Fraser, a senior who won the Tanglewood Junior on the Future Collegians World Tour with a 157 on March 19-20.
"Competing in the AJGA is a little stressful, but it is opening my eyes some. I hope to make a name for myself and I'm getting contacts, but I haven't really heard seriously from any colleges yet.
"I hope to finish in the top five in Columbus and I'm working hard trying to hit greens in regulation. I'm hitting fairways, but I need to get to the green to give myself more birdie opportunities."