August 3, 2016
Thomas Hutchison, Sabrina Iqbal 2016 Junior Tour of Northern California Players of Year
Fellow San Jose residents and Pioneer High teammates
2016 Boys’ Player of the Year
San Jose resident Thomas Hutchison knows all about 2011 Junior Tour Player of the Year Bryson DeChambeau. He also saw that two-time Player of the Year Justin Suh (2013, 2015) had played in this year’s U.S Open and that 2014 Player of the Year Joshua McCarthy had teed it up at the recent Web.com Tour Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae.
Now, Hutchison hopes his title also leads to bigger things.
A 16-year-old senior at Pioneer High in San Jose, Hutchison captured the 2015-2016 JTNC Boys’ Player of the Year title by finishing the season with 2,518 points. Finishing in second place at 2,103 was Alamo’s Ryan Grauman, while McCarthy, in his last season, was third at 1,991.
“Just to know that my name will be with those guys, it gives me a lot of confidence,” said Hutchison, who has already verbally committed to UC Davis.
Hutchison, who was introduced to the game by his father, David, and later honed his skills as a Santa Teresa Youth on Course member, tallied three JTNC wins during the season: Fall Series III, Spring Series V and Spring Series VI. The back-to-back Spring victories tied a JTNC record for most wins in a row held by six other players. The three victories tied the JTNC record for most wins in one season (held by four other players).
His biggest win came at July’s NCGA Junior Championship at Half Moon Bay GL, where he earned 650 points and joined his older sister, Samantha, as winners of the event. The two became the first siblings to win the championship in its 87-year-history. Other highlights were back-to-back second place finishes at the Summer Series III and IV Championships and a T-3 finish at the season-ending Tour Championship.
“I feel like I started playing better in the spring. It was just a matter of a lot of practice,” Hutchison said. “I’m already looking ahead to winning Player of the Year again.”
2016 Girls’ Player of the Year
San Jose resident Sabrina Iqbal had a few targets to aim at. For one, Iqbal, already the two-time defending JTNC Girls’ Player of the Year, knew that no player had ever won three titles in a row.
There was also the matter of catching former JTNC standout Casie Cathrea for most junior NorCal “major” wins—JTNC titles, CIF High School State Championship, California Women’s Amateur Championship Junior, NCGA Junior Girls’ and NCGA/CIF NorCal Championship.
The still only 15 year old Iqbal, a junior at Pioneer High, did both.
“I knew that no one had won three in a row,” said Iqbal, who tied Cathrea (2010, 2011, 2013) for most JTNC Girls’ Player of the Year titles. “That’s why I really wanted to win it again this year.”
Already verbally committed to Texas Christian University, Iqbal had yet another season to remember. She’d win her third straight crown with a whopping total of 5,003 points. Finishing in second place at 3,924 was San Ramon’s Yoonhee Kim. Third place went to Concord’s Yealimi Noh with 2,565 points.
In another dazzling performance, Iqbal captured four JTNC titles—Fall Series IX, Spring Series V, Summer Series IV and the Tour Championship. Other victories included the NCGA Junior Championship, the California Women’s Amateur Championship, the San Francisco City Women’s Amateur, the Sacramento County Women’s Championship and the CIF/NCGA NorCal High School Championship.
All of the wins moved Iqbal to a total of 21 NorCal “major” victories. Cathrea had been the all-time leader with 18.
During the season, Iqbal also had five runner-up finishes: JTNC Fall Series I, Fall Series III, Fall Series IV, Spring Series VII and Summer Series III.
“I feel like, whenever I’m having a good round, that I want to be at that level every time,” said Iqbal, who picked up the game from her father, Shaheen, a PGA teaching professional at Los Lagos GC and later honed her skills as a Santa Teresa Youth on Course member. “When I do play bad, I want to work on fixing things. There’s nothing else you can do.”