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Girls' Junior preview

Officials from the United States Golf Association (USGA) were at Sycamore Hills to talk about plans for the upcoming Girls Junior

Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette
Donna Mummert was among the USGA officials at Sycamore Hills on Tuesday.

Future golf stars coming to town

Junior girls event at Sycamore Hills

– Donna Mummert of the United States Golf Association peered at the Glenna Collett Vare Trophy – engraved with names such as Nancy Lopez, Laurie Rinker, In-Bee Park and Alexis Thompson – and wondered who will become the next one.

Who will be the golfer to win the U.S. Girls’ Junior and propel herself to stardom? Whoever it will be, they will do it at Sycamore Hills Golf Club.

“Look up here at the trophy at some of the names who have won this championship,” said Mummert, part of a delegation of USGA officials at Sycamore Hills on Tuesday. “At the time the championship was played, they may not have been household names, but the U.S. Girls’ Junior has certainly been a steppingstone for future success. Time will tell who this new champion will be.”

The tournament, open to players younger than 18, begins at 33 sectional qualifying tournaments June 14 through July 2.

Last year, 1,070 players tried to qualify for the U.S. Girls’ Junior, which has taken place since 1949.

After sectionals, a field of 156 players will participate in 36 holes of stroke play at Sycamore Hills on July 22 and 23.

Then, the top 64 players will compete in match play, culminating with a 36-hole championship match July 27.

“The USGA is very excited to be conducting the 65th U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship here at Sycamore Hills and here in Fort Wayne,” Mummert said.

“The golf course will provide a wonderful test for these junior girls, the best junior golfers in the world. Playing both stroke play and match play over the course of six days, it will provide tests of all aspects of the players’ games. Not only their shot making, but also their mental side and physical skills and endurance, as well.”

The USGA has held a championship at Sycamore Hills before – the 2009 Women’s State Team Championship.

The Junior PGA Championship, which is not a USGA event, was held at Sycamore Hills from 2010 to 2012.

The course will also play host to the new Hotel Fitness Championship, the first of four tournaments in the Tour’s Finals, Aug. 29 to Sept. 1.

That event will help determine which players get their PGA Tour cards for 2014.

“Championship golf in Fort Wayne has been a dream since the club’s creation in 1989, when the late Jim Kelley and his son, Tom, hired Jack Nicklaus to design this great layout,” said Eric Schneider, Sycamore Hills’ general manager.

“Golf courses, like many things, improve with time. Sycamore Hills is a prime example of this scenario. We’re confident the golf course will provide a very stern test for the best junior golfers in the world and we will identify the best player.”

The U.S. Girls’ Junior, which is free to attend, was won last year by Australia’s Minjee Lee, who is expected to defend her title.

It will be only the second time an Indiana course has played host for this championship; Meridian Hills in Indianapolis held it in 1992, when Jamie Koizumi won.

Indiana has not held a USGA championship since the 2010 Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship, won by Emily Tubert at Notre Dame’s Warren Course in South Bend.