Stage is Set for the 44th Girls Junior PGA Championship at Keney Park
- Category: Inside Golf
- Published: 2019-07-08
By PGA OF AMERICA
HARTFORD, Connecticut — The 44th Girls Junior PGA Championship will be held at Keney Park Golf Course in Hartford. One of junior golf’s premier championships, the stroke-play event tees off on Tuesday, July 9, and wraps up on Friday, July 12.
Players in the field of 144 qualified based on several criteria, including the champions from each of the PGA of America’s 41 section junior championships. In addition, exemptions were earned through the results of top-tier national junior events, national amateur/open events, diversity and inclusion events and other special considerations.
Many of junior golf’s most accomplished players will be at Keney Park. Headlining the field is Rose Zhang of Irvine, California, who followed her 2017 Girls Junior PGA victory with a runner-up last year. Playing as an amateur, Zhang competed in the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open at the Country Club of Charleston (South Carolina), finishing in a tie for 55th and finishing second low amateur.
Among those joining Zhang in returning to the Girls Junior PGA will be 14-year old Alexa Pano of Lake Worth, Florida (T-4 in 2018); Yuka Saso of the Philippines (T-6 in 2018); and Ty Akabane of Danville, California (T-9 in 2018). As of today, 36 states and seven countries will be represented in the Championship.
The Girls Junior PGA will be the first PGA of America national championship contested in Connecticut. Keney Park opened in 1927 with a nine-hole course designed by Devereux Emmet; the Robert “Jack” Ross-designed back nine opened four years later. In 2014, the Connecticut PGA Section signed an agreement to serve as City of Hartford consultants to help them regain operational ownership of Keney Park and oversee a course restoration to enhance the facility’s level of sustainability. Following a 30-month restoration, Keney Park reopened for play on May 1, 2016.
Over the years, many past and present LPGA Tour stars competed in this event, including major winners and two-time Girls Junior PGA champions Inbee Park (2001, ‘02), Lexi Thompson (2007, ’09) and Ariya Jutanugarn (2011, ’12).
Last year at Kearney Hill Golf Links in Lexington, Kentucky, Yealimi Noh cruised to a four-stroke victory over Zhang. En route, the recently-turned professional rewrote the record book by setting marks for the Championship’s lowest 72-hole total (264), 54-hole score (195) and third-round card (64).
The 44th Boys Junior PGA Championship will also be contested at Keney Park Golf Course from July 30-August 2.