Kent, albert, herzberg earn qualifying bids for 2023 dj world junior
Noah Kent (Naples, FL), Jake Albert (Blacksburg, VA) and Julia Herzberg (Aberdeen, NC) emerged atop the field Saturday at TPC Myrtle Beach to earn qualifying spots in the Eighth Annual Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship Presented by LA Golf, set for March 3-5 at the renowned Tom Fazio/Lanny Wadkins design.
Kent fired a 4-under round of 68 in sunny but blustery conditions to capture one of the two boys’ division slots up for grabs. The Iowa commit started his round on TPC’s back nine and kickstarted the momentum by hitting his 225-yard approach on the par-5 14th to 45 feet, then calmly draining the long putt for eagle. From there he carded birdies right after the turn on holes 1 and 2, hitting his approach on No. 2 to just eight feet. He capped his round with a birdie on the par-3 7th, sticking his tee shot to five feet.
“(Winning the qualifier) made the 11-hour drive worth it,” said Kent.
Paired with Kent for the qualifying round, Albert claimed the other boys’ division bid with a 1-under 71 highlighted by consecutive birdies on holes 6 through 8 that included sinking a 25-foot putt on No. 7. Albert credited the pairing with helping each golfer’s Saturday success. “Playing together certainly helped us feed off each other,” he said.
Herzberg’s 1-over score of 73 was three shots clear of her nearest competitor in the girls’ division. She will be one of 36 girls, along with 54 players in the boys’ division, vying for one of junior golf’s most coveted trophies.
With the ongoing support of two-time major championship winner Dustin Johnson, the World Junior Golf Championship’s 54-hole tournament format provides players the opportunity to test themselves against a premier field, including the addition of a team component for this year’s competition. The 18 highest ranked players in the field will be designated captains and will draft five-player teams before the practice round. Teams will consist of both boys and girls. The team competition will play out just as a college event does, with four of the five scores counting each day.
Among the DJ World Junior’s recent alums are last year’s champion Ben James (University of Virginia), who was the No. 1 junior in America; Caleb Surratt (University of Tennessee), who won his first collegiate tournament this fall; and Zach Adams (University of South Carolina), the winner of the 2022 South Carolina Amateur.
On the girls’ side, Gianna Clemente made it through three consecutive Monday qualifiers to earn her way into recent LPGA tournaments. Katie Cranston, the 2022 girls champion, also won the Women’s Porter Cup.
A significant part of the event’s appeal is TPC Myrtle Beach, one of the Grand Strand’s most decorated layouts. TPC Myrtle Beach has hosted the Senior PGA Tour Championship and been ranked among “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” by Golf Digest, making it an ideal venue to test golf’s rising young stars.
The Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship is sponsored by LA Golf, Founders Group International, the Dustin Johnson Golf School, and Golf Tourism Solutions.
Johnson’s involvement with the tournament reflects his longtime commitment to junior golf, particularly in South Carolina, where he grew into one of the world’s best players. Through the Dustin Johnson Foundation, which is headquartered in Myrtle Beach, Johnson has donated more than $500,000 to junior golf, sponsoring numerous events throughout the state and helping cover entry costs for kids who need financial assistance.