The Southern California PGA Junior Tour boasts numerous prominent alumni that have shined brightly and have reached the pinnacle of golf achievement. The success of the program’s alumni speaks volumes to its competitive nature where top junior golfers can hone their skills and gain valuable experience. It is easy to look around and see the Junior Tour’s impact on today’s competitive golf landscape.
Junior Tour alums have been no stranger to the limelight of the PGA TOUR as stars such as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Rickie Fowler have used the Junior Tour to springboard their successful professional careers. Currently, alums are littering the 2021 FedExCup Season Standings, most notably Patrick Cantlay sitting atop the list. Cantlay, coached by renowned PGA Professional Jamie Mulligan of Virginia CC, won the ZOZO Championship at Sherwood Country Club, marking one of four alumni wins on TOUR this season. Also reaching the winner’s circle this year were Kevin Na at the Sony Open, Collin Morikawa at the WGC-Workday Championship (following his 2020 PGA Championship), and Max Homa at the Genesis Invitational. The following alums join Cantlay among the top-25 on the FedExCup Standings: Xander Schauffele, 3rd; Homa, 11th; Morikawa, 14th; Na, 20th; and Matthew Wolff, 24th. Morikawa, Shauffele, and Cantlay also show up within the top-10 of the Official World Golf Rankings at 4th, 5th, and 7th, respectively.
“The SCPGA Junior Tour allowed Collin the opportunity to play against very good competition on challenging courses. As a coach it was important to have a tournament experience that was fun for Collin and also developed him as a player. He had a goal to move to the Toyota Tour Cup and really see how he compared with the best juniors in Southern California. We learned a lot about his game that helped him reach new levels” said PGA Professional Rick Sessinghaus, Morikawa’s coach since he was eight-years-old.
“What a thrilling time for the SCPGA Junior Tour Program. This program has been top shelf ever since my students John Cook, Amy Alcott, and Paul Goydos have gone on to their distinguished careers. We have worked through four generations of golf with another young class starting to excel in the college ranks. It is a very exciting time for Southern California golf. Being a PGA Member for almost four decades, it has been a pleasure to watch these golfers develop from an early age and make it to the highest levels. They are an inspiration, and there is way more to come” said PGA Professional Jamie Mulligan, Cantlay’s coach since he was seven-years old.
The Junior Tour will also be well-represented at the upcoming 2021 Walker Cup at Seminole Golf Club on May 8-9 as Ricky Castillo, Stewart Hagestad, and William Mouw join the U.S. team. Castillo earned his spot through the World Amateur Golf Rankings while Hagestad and Mouw were selected by the USGA’s International Team Selection group due to their recent stellar play. On the LPGA Tour’s Rolex Rankings, Danielle Kang is currently 5th and Lizette Salas is 34th.
Across the world of golf our alumni are doing incredible things and we are extremely proud of their accomplishments. We are only a quarter of the way through 2021 and it’s already been a very special year. If prior performance is any indication, the rest of the year and beyond will provide many more accomplishments and produce new household names that will shine for decades to come.