FIELD PREVIEW: Top Junior Golfers in the World set to take on TPC Myrtle Beach
On February 28th, 2020 the best junior golfers on the planet will be teeing it up on one of the Grand Strand’s best courses at the 5th Annual Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship. Hosted by TPC Myrtle Beach, a Golf Digest “5-Star Rated” facility, the event features 100 of the best talents in the junior game. Players will come from to Myrtle Beach, SC from all around the globe. With past fields seeing players from 35 different states and 12 countries, this truly is the WORLD Junior Golf Championship.
“The DJ”, as the event has been affectionately nicknamed, tests every aspect of a players’ game. Every year players grind their way through the weekend, vying to make the Saturday cut. By the time the last few groups reach the final stretch of holes TPC Myrtle Beach has collected 100’s of spectators and volunteers to watch the battle unfold. In the first four years of play the final groups on Sunday at “The DJ” have proven to give fans an early glimpse at some of golf’s future stars.
The Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship showcases the cream of the crop in junior golf. In 2019 top ranked boys junior golfer Akshay Bhatia took home the title in what was the final junior event of his amateur career. Since his 2019 victory Bhatia has turned professional and the junior golf phenom is taking a run at the PGA Tour in 2020.
2020 COMMITMENTS FIELD PREVIEW:
2018 Boys Champion Michael Brennan is looking to retain the title. In 2018 Brennan gave the crowds at the 18th at TPC a wild show, walking in a brilliant eagle on the final hole to secure his two-shot victory over the 2019 Champion Akshay Bhatia. The Wake Forest signee is sure to be in the mix come Sunday at TPC Myrtle Beach. Having sealed the deal before, Brennan will have a little extra confidence that could make all the difference down the stretch in 2020.
2019 Runner-up finisher Luke Clanton will be back for his second appearance. Clanton, a sophomore from Miami Lakes, FL, is ranked #14 in the GolfWeek Junior rankings. 3rd place finisher Tyler Wilkes returns to Myrtle Beach. Wilkes seeks to close the deal this February after recent strong performances including a win at the AJGA at Saddlebrook last summer. Kelly Chinn, a verbal commit to Duke University, is set to make his first appearance in Myrtle Beach coming off a win at the AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions.
The international field will be strong in 2020. The European contingent is represented particularly well by a quintet of Swedish players. The boys field will see Wilmer Edero (#5 in EGR 18U) who finished 2nd in the U16 at the R&A Boys Amateur last summer. Joining him are fellow Swedish countrymen Algot Kleen (#11 in EGR 18U), Rasmus Jonasson, Hugo Thyr & Viggo Ohrn. Spaniard Pablo Ereno rounds out a stellar European delegation.
The boys field has two other returning players that had many doing a “double take” all over the course in 2019. David & Maxwell Ford, identical twin brothers from Georgia, return in 2020 as two of the highest rated junior boys in the country. The Golfweek Junior Boys Rankings currently have Maxwell ranked 13th after a recent win at the Jones Cup Junior Invitational and David at 20th. We wouldn’t be surprised to see one or both of the Ford Brothers playing in the final group come Sunday at TPC Myrtle Beach.
In 2019 the crowds were treated to the event’s first two-time & first back-to-back Champion in Alexa Pano. Pano defended her 2018 title by breaking her own girl’s scoring record with a 7-under 209 in 2019. Pano is set to return for a shot at the three-peat, and will headline a very strong girl’s field in 2020. Keep an eye on another veteran of the event, Arizona native Ashley Menne. The Arizona State University commit shined in the 2018 edition, grabbing a runner-up finish with a solid performance. Another favorite to challenge Pano and the other highly-ranked girls field is Sophia Bae. The New Jersey Junior is a verbal commit to Duke University and will be her first time competing at “The DJ”. Currently ranked 13th in the Golfweek Junior Girls Rankings, look for Bae to be challenging for the top spot on the leaderboard in 2020.
Tournament officials expect 75 of 90 participants to be ranked in the top 100 of a national or international junior golf ranking service. Applications are still being accepted and are due by January 7th. The full tournament field will be revealed January 8th.