This week the stage is a little bit different, a major of sorts, but for junior golf.
It’s the U.S. Junior Amateur for boys and the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship that are up for grabs, and two Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy students are in field.
GGGA student Harley Dubsky, of Valparaiso, Ind., is at the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at Olympia Fields Country Club in Olympia Fields, Ill., and Emilio Maurer, of Mexico, is at the U.S. Junior Amateur at Golf Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Wa.
The two championships are often a time where many of the game’s young stars can be seen 5 or 10 years before they ever even hit the collegiate and professional ranks. In the 60s, it was two-time major champion Johnny Miller and Tiger Woods in the 90s when he won three straight U.S. Junior Amateurs from 1991-1993.
Then a few years later, Hunter Mahan beat Camilo Villegas in the 1999 final.
But, fast track to today where defending champion Jim Liu became the youngest winner of the event last year when he won at age 15.
Also not to forget one of the game’s already budding stars in 2009 winner Jordan Spieth, who has made the cut at the last two PGA Tour Byron Nelson Championships, finishing tied for 16th in 2010 and tied for 32nd in 2011. Spieth is competing in his fourth U.S. Junior, joining dozens of other up-and-coming young talent such as Beau Hossler, who qualified for the 2011 U.S. Open, and Clemson-bound Cody Proveaux, to name a few.
As for Maurer and Dubsky, they definitely held their own to open the event. Dubsky carded a 78 but finished strong with a 1-over 37 on the back side. Maurer got off to a tough start but finished at 1-under 35 on the back for a 75.
Both are in solid shape in the top half of the leaderboard with the second round underway.