November 19, 2015
Inaugural Challenge Cup Will Feature Best Junior Golfers in California
It’s going to be the best junior players from Northern California taking on the best juniors from Southern California.
Set to tee off Dec. 22-23 at Poppy Hills, the inaugural Challenge Cup will feature 12 members of the CIG-sponsored Junior Tour of Northern California taking on 12 players from the Southern California Junior Tour in a Ryder Cup-like format.
Representing the JTNC squad will be the top six boys and top three girls in the points standings following the Fall Series IX Championship, which concluded Oct. 25 at Rancho Murieta. Two boys and one girls were also added to the team as chosen by the JTNC committee.
Play on Tuesday the 22nd will consist of nine holes of Foursomes and nine holes of Four-Ball. Wednesday’s final round will consist of Singles matches.
The concept of the event began a few years ago when former NCGA executive director Vaughn Kezirian had the idea of bringing all of California’s best juniors together.
JTNC tour manager Aaron Hartesveldt said that now that the event is happening, it should only increase in popularity.
“It’s a great opportunity for some of the best juniors in NorCal and SoCal to showcase their skills,” Hartesveldt said. “We think this is going to be a big hit and will only keep growing in stature.”
The eight boys representing the JTNC are:
- Ashkaan Hakim: Along with a win at the Fall Series IX Championship, the San Ramon resident placed fourth at both the Fall Series V and VIII Championships.
- Peter Kuest: A week after winning September’s Visalia Amateur, Kuest took fifth at the annual NCGA Valley Amateur. He also finished fifth at the Fall Series V Championship.
- Ahmed Ali: Playing on the JTNC more regularly this season, Ali has been a force. The Palo Alto resident won the Fall Series VIII title and was runner-up at both the Fall Series II and Fall Series IX Championships. This past spring, he competed in the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship at The Olympic Club with his brother, Hussain.
- Joshua McCarthy: The 2014 JTNC Player of the Year and Danville resident picked up a win at the AJGA Shanshan Feng Junior Championship, was second at the Fall Series I Championship and third at the Fall Series II Championship.
- Ryan Grauman: Hailing from Alamo, Grauman won the Fall Series II Championship. He’d also place fourth at the Fall Series IX Championship and fifth at the Fall Series VI Championship.
- Thomas Hutchison: Runner-up at this year’s San Francisco City Amateur, the San Jose resident won the Fall Series I Championship and also was T-14 at the Fall Series IV Championship.
- Scott Mitchell: Mitchell, from Santa Rosa, reached the semifinals of this year’s NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship, which was won by Stanford star Maverick McNealy. He’d also qualify for both the U.S. Junior and U.S. Amateur Championships and was second at the Fall Series VIII Championship.
- Jeremy Villafuerte: Villafuerte, from Newark, had a terrific fall, picking up wins at both the Fall Series I and Fall Series VII Championships.
The four JTNC girls will be:
- Sabrina Iqbal: The San Jose resident is the two-time defending JTNC Girls’ Player of the Year. Along with winning the NCGA Junior Amateur, Iqbal captured a share of the CIF/NCGA NorCal High School title. Along with a win at the Fall Series IX Championship, Iqbal has three runner-ups at the Fall Series I, Fall Series III and Fall Series IV Championships.
- Yoonhee Kim: Kim, of San Ramon, has had a solid fall, picking up wins at the Fall Series I and Fall Series III Championships. She also has a third place finish (Fall Series IV) and two fourth place finishes (Fall Series V, Fall Series VIII). In the summer, she was runner-up at the California Women’s Amateur Championship.
- Emilee Hoffman: The Folsom resident has two wins this season at the Fall Series IV and Fall Series VIII Championships. Hoffman also was runner-up at both the Fall Series VI and Fall Series IX Championships.
- Yealimi Noh: Noh, of Concord, won the Fall Series VI Championship title and also won at the AJGA All-Stars Championship. She’s also been runner-up at two JTNC events (Fall Series III and Fall Series VIII) and was third at the Fall Series II Championship.