GRANITEVILLE, S.C. (February 11, 2020) – Defending champion, Tom McKibbin, returns to Sage Valley Golf Club to lead an impressive group of top-ranked junior golfers at the 10th Junior Invitational March 12-14. The 2020 field is one of the strongest in tournament history, consisting of 38 of the top 40 players* on Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Boys Rankings.
Qualifying for the 54-hole stroke-play Junior Invitational is rigorous. Factors used to determine eligibility include 17 automatic qualifiers, some of which are the top 10 and ties from the 2019 Junior Invitational, the 2019 USGA Junior Amateur Semi-Finalists and the 2019 Junior PGA Champion, among others. Remaining spots are filled based upon information collected from Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings, the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR), Rolex AJGA Golf Rankings, Junior Golf Scoreboard and the European Golf Rankings. For a complete explanation of eligibility criteria and selection process, click here.
The 2020 field is comprised of players who span five continents and represent 11 countries. A total of 25 players are returning to the event, with McKibbin (2019 Junior Invitational Champion and 2019 Peter McEvoy Champion) and Karl Vilips (2019 US Amateur quarterfinalist and currently ranked No. 1 in the Golfweek rankings) making their third and fourth appearances, respectively. Click here for the 2020 field and player bios.
“We are incredibly pleased with the strength of the field competing in the 10th Annual Junior Invitational,” said Tom Wyatt, president of Sage Valley Golf Club and Tournament Chair. “We’re looking forward to tournament week, when players will have the opportunity to play Sage Valley’s Tom Fazio championship course, as well as our brand-new Fazio-designed par 3 course. It’s always fun to see these rising stars take on this challenging course!”
Other notable contenders in the field include 2020 Latin America Amateur Champion Abel Gallegos; 2019 U.S. Junior Amateur Champion Preston Summerhays; and Cohen Trolio, the furthest and youngest advancing junior at the 2019 U.S. Amateur.
Today, the SVJI Sports Foundation, the nonprofit entity established to run the Junior Invitational, also announced a $180,000 donation to The First Tee of Aiken and a $100,000 donation to The First Tee of Augusta to support their efforts in growing the game in the community. Since its inception in 2015, the SVJI Sports Foundation has donated more than $2 million to these local chapters of The First Tee.
“We’re thrilled to support our partners at The First Tee of Aiken and The First Tee of Augusta,” said Pete Davis, chairman of the SVJI Sports Foundation. “Our foundation is invested in growing the game and expanding on the inclusiveness of the sport, which perfectly aligns with the mission of these two great organizations.”
Many Junior Invitational alumni have found success following their time at Sage Valley, including 13-time PGA Tour winner Justin Thomas, as well as 2017, 2018 and 2019 U.S. Amateur Champions Doc Redman, Viktor Hovland and Andy Ogletree, respectively. The 2020 Masters Tournament qualifiers include alumni John Augenstein, Justin Thomas, Matthew Wolff and Andy Ogletree.
Recognized by Golfweek as the #1 junior event in golf, the Junior Invitational welcomes 54 of the very best junior golfers from around the world to Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, South Carolina, each year. Founded in 2011, it has become one of the most desired invitations in the world of competitive junior golf. The 10th Junior Invitational at Sage Valley Golf Club will be held March 12-14, 2020. For more information, visit www.juniorinvitational.com.
Sage Valley Golf Club, host of the Junior Invitational, is located only minutes from historic Augusta, Georgia, and is surrounded by several thousand acres of preserved southern pine forest.