Inaugural High School Golf National Invitational Kicks Off at Walt Disney World Resort
- Category: Inside Golf
- Published: 2019-06-19
By PGA OF AMERICA
BOSTON, Massachusetts — The inaugural NHSGA High School Golf National Invitational will be held at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, June 27-28, as the nation’s top high school golfers will compete to become America’s first national champions. This invitation-only tournament will be made up of over 300 of the top boys and girls high school golfers from across the country.
Many high school sports have championship-caliber events that showcase their sport at the highest level on a national scale. The Invitational is designed to do the same for high school golf. The Boys National Invitational will take place on the Palm and Magnolia Courses at Walt Disney World Resort, while the Girls tournament will be held at the nearby Falcon’s Fire Golf Club. Both events will feature two-day, 36-hole, stroke-play events, with team and individual competitions.
The Invitational will bring together a strong field from a wide range of large, small, public and private high school golf programs from nearly all 50 states. Only the best high school golf teams and individuals in each state received invites based on their State Championship performance.
The High School Golf National Invitational is conducted by the National High School Golf Association (NHSGA), a division of Nextgengolf, which was recently acquired by the PGA of America. The PGA will award a special exemption for tournament medalists into the 2019 Boys Junior PGA Championship and Girls Junior PGA Championship at Keney Park Golf Course in Hartford, Connecticut.
“In this inaugural year, the NHSGA High School Golf National Invitational will be extra special for the players invited,” said National High School Golf Association Manager Chris Noble. “This event will become the pinnacle of high school golf and valuable to college coaches seeking hidden talent they may not see on the junior golf circuit.”
The AJGA, Junior Golf Scoreboard and Junior Golf Hub are all providing support for the inaugural National High School Golf Invitational.
Girls Players to Watch
Carly Whittington – Kinder, La.– Class of 2020 -Whittington is technically in the Class of 2020, but she will forgo her senior year to play golf at the University of Alabama. She is the 2019 Louisiana Individual State Champion; played on the 2017-2018 Louisiana team state champions (2018 Individual Medalist); and was the 2016 Louisiana 8th grade state champion.
Megan Tang – Memphis, Tenn. – Class of 2019 - Tang finished runner-up at the Tennessee state championship. She will attend the University of Illinois at Chicago and is ranked 154th in the NHSGA national rankings.
Kiara Porter – Center Township, Penn. – Class of 2019 - Porter finished in the Top 3 at the Pennsylvania state tournament. She will attend North Carolina A&T University.
Gracie Olkowski – Las Vegas – Class of 2020 - Olkowski captured the Nevada state championship last fall. She is verbally committed to UNLV and is ranked 103rd in the NHSGA national rankings.
Kayla Pfitzner – Springfield, Mo. – Class of 2020 - Pfitzner captured the Missouri state championship this past fall.
Lauren Beaudreau – Lemont, Ill. – Class of 2020 - Beaudreau is verbally committed to the University of Notre Dame and is ranked 25th in the NHSGA national rankings; 44th in the Junior Golf Scoreboard rankings; and 51st in the AJGA rankings.
Isabel Sy - San Gabriel, Calif.; and Sherilyn Villanueva - Anaheim, Calif. – Class of 2020 – Sy and Villanueva are two of the leaders of California’s state championship team. Sy is ranked 114th and Villanueva 199th in the Junior Golf Scoreboard Rankings.
Baylee Hammericksen - Medford, Ore. – Class of 2021 – Hammericksen is a two-time Oregon small school golf state champion (freshman and sophomore years); 2017 Drive, Chip & Putt national finalist (at Augusta National); three-time Oregon Junior Amateur Champion; and recently qualified for the 2019 Girls Junior PGA Championship.
Tiffany Chan – Wichita, Kan. – Class of 2021 - Chan captured the Kansas state championship last fall.
Madison Holmes – Paragould, Ark. – Class of 2021 – Holmes captured the Arkansas state title last fall. She is ranked 60th in the NHSGA national rankings.
Leia Chung - Wahiawa, Hawaii – Class of 2022 –Chung is the first to win both her district and the State Championship as a freshman. She also appeared in the popular “The Short Game” documentary on junior golf.
Boys Players to Watch
Connor Jones – Denver – Class of 2019 – Jones finished runner-up at the Colorado state championship last fall with rounds of 68-72, for a 2-under par, 36-hole total. He is ranked 34th in the NHSGA national rankings.
James Imai – Brookline, Mass. – Class of 2019 – Imai captured the Massachusetts state championship. He will attend Northwestern University and is ranked 5th in the NHSGA; 97th in the Junior Golf Scoreboard; and 116th in the AJGA national rankings.
Jimmy Meyers – Wexford, Penn. – Class of 2019 – Meyers finished second at the Pennsylvania state championship. He will attend Penn State University and is ranked 58th in the NHSGA national rankings.
Kolbe Kimbrew – Grafton, W.V. – Class of 2019 – Kimbrew finished in the Top 5 last fall in the West Virginia State Championship. He will attend Fairmont State University.
Oakley Toomer – Ferron, Utah – Class of 2019 – Toomer finished runner-up in the Utah State Championship. He is ranked 151st in the NHSGA national rankings.
Ben Barnett – Wellsboro, Penn. – Class of 2019 – Barnett led his team to the district title (first time in 37 years). He tied for 5th place at the PIAA state tournament and has signed a letter of intent to play at Millersville University in the fall.
Jack Wehle – Naples, Fla. – Class of 2020 – Wehle helped his team to a runner-up finish at the 3A Florida State Championship last fall.
Jake Daniel – Little Rock, Ark. – Class of 2021 – Daniel tied for 5th at the Arkansas State Championship last fall.
Bryce Zimmerman – Nashua, N.H. – Class of 2021 – Zimmerman finished in the Top 3 at the New Hampshire State Championship last fall.
Josh Lavallee – Bradford, Mass. – Class of 2021 – During his sophomore year, Lavallee won the Conference Championship, Northern Sectionals Championship and State Championship in a three-week span.
Quotes from State Champion Coaches
Mike Tucker - Cabot Ark. – “To win the national title would be an honor that speaks volumes for our team.”
Phil Zaccari - Effingham, Ill.- “For a small school like ours, the opportunity to play for a national title hardly ever happens. More importantly, the opportunity to compete against the top teams from across the nation is a great honor that we will remember for the rest of our lives.”
Jeff Combs - Liberty Township, Ohio - “We are very excited for the opportunity to play in the Inaugural High School Golf National Invitational Championship. What a great venue with what appears to be great competition.”
Corey O’Connor – Pittsburgh - “It is a great honor for our team to be participating in the National Championship. Our players have worked so hard to get to this point and helped one another to push ourselves to succeed. We look forward to representing our state in this prestigious event.”
Seth Emerson - Hinesburg, Vt. - “We are really excited to go up against the best in the country, to see how we stack up. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we couldn’t be more excited.”
Craig Marsh – Casper, Wyo. - “Playing for a National Championship is extremely meaningful for me and my players. It is a dream come true for us to have an opportunity to compete with some of the best teams in the nation. We’re excited and anxious to play in such a wonderful event.”