February 15, 2016
Poppy Hills Golf Course to Host 2018 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship
A United States Golf Association championship is on its way to Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach.
On Monday, the USGA announced Poppy Hills, the home course of the Northern California Golf Association, will be the host site for the 2018 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship. The first U.S. golf course owned and operated by a regional association, Poppy Hills will make its USGA championship debut July 16-21.
“We are proud to welcome Poppy Hills as a USGA championship host, and confident that this respected golf course will provide a worthy test and an enjoyable experience for the world’s best female junior golfers during the 70th U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship,” said Diana Murphy, USGA president. “Poppy Hills and the NCGA are proven industry leaders, particularly in resource management, and we applaud and support their efforts on behalf of the game.”
Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and opened for play in 1986, Poppy Hills serves as the headquarters and tournament home of the NCGA. Jones’ firm began an extensive renovation in March 2013 that centered on improving water conservation, irrigation and drainage. Architecturally, each hole was restored to its natural elevation along the floor of the Del Monte Forest, and doglegs and contours were softened. All 18 greens were rebuilt with bentgrass, rough was eliminated, and native waste areas were introduced that have reduced irrigated turf by nearly 25 percent. The renovated course, which earned several industry accolades, opened in April 2014.
“The Northern California Golf Association is honored to host the 2018 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship on the renovated Poppy Hills Golf Course,” said John Ronca, NCGA president. “Our mission is to support and promote golf, and we are thrilled to participate in such a prestigious national amateur championship.”
Poppy Hills, which is overseen by Poppy Holding Inc. along with Poppy Ridge Golf Course in Livermore, has hosted numerous state, regional and national events for both amateurs and professionals. A 17-time host of the California Senior Amateur, most recently in 2014, it also hosted the 1991 NCAA Men’s Championship won by Warren Schutte of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who upset three-time NCAA champion Phil Mickelson of Arizona State. Additionally, Poppy Hills was one of the three host courses for the PGA Tour’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am from 1991-2009. It also co-hosted the 2014 and 2015 Champions Tour First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, which features juniors competing alongside Champions Tour players, and the 1989, 1990, 1992 and 1993 Spalding Pebble Beach Invitational, now the TaylorMade Pebble Beach Invitational. The 2016 First Tee Open at Pebble Beach will be held Sept. 16-18.
The NCGA has long supported junior golf through the NCGA Foundation’s Youth on Course program, which allows juniors to play more than 350 courses throughout the Western U.S. and recently added Kansas City region for no more than $5. The NCGA also runs the Junior Tour of Northern California in a partnership with the Northern California PGA.
One of the largest regional golf associations in the country with nearly 150,000 members and 1,250 clubs, the NCGA also serves the Northern California golf community by providing official handicap indexes, conducting more than 50 championships annually and rating courses.
The new Poppy Hills has received numerous awards, including 2014 Best Renovation by Golf Digest and 2014 Best Courses in California (No.6 in Northern California) by Golf Magazine.
“The team at Poppy Hills Golf Course is absolutely thrilled the USGA is partnering with us to create a memorable and fun 2018 US Girls’ Junior Championship,” Poppy Hills general manager Brad Shupe said. “The primary goals of the course renovation were responsible resource management and great tournament conditions, and we believe this selection validates we are making the right decisions.”
First conducted in 1949, the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship is open to female amateurs who have not turned 18 on or before the final day of the championship and have a Handicap Index® not exceeding 18.4. Notable champions include three-time winner Hollis Stacy, Mickey Wright, Nancy Lopez, Amy Alcott, JoAnne Gunderson Carner, Pat Hurst, I.K. Kim, Inbee Park and Lexi Thompson. Fifteen-year-old Eun Jeong Seong, of the Republic of Korea, won the 2015 U.S. Girls’ Junior at Tulsa (Okla.) Country Club with a 3-and-2 victory over Angel Yin, of Arcadia, Calif.
Upcoming U.S. Girls’ Junior Championships will be contested July 18-23, 2016, at The Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J., and July 24-29, 2017, at Boone Valley Golf Club in Augusta, Mo.
The Monterey Peninsula has hosted 16 of California’s 75 USGA championships, and the 2018 U.S. Girls’ Junior is one of three USGA championships scheduled to be held in the area in the coming years. Others are the 2018 U.S. Amateur and 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links, the 12th and 13th USGA championships to be played at Pebble Beach. This will be the second U.S. Girls’ Junior held in the area, following the 1952 championship at Monterey Peninsula Country Club.
Additional USGA championships scheduled for California are the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open, July 7-10 at CordeValle in San Martin; the 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur at San Diego Country Club; the 2017 U.S. Amateur at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades; the 2017 Walker Cup Match and 2023 U.S. Open at The Los Angeles Country Club; the 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana; the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco; and the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego.