EJGA Girls Golf Tour Plays at Pine Needles
While most people viewed Christmas week as a time for celebrating with family and friends, it was time to tee it up and compete for 40 junior girl golfers at the third annual Maples Christmas Classic.
Coinciding with the the 64th Donald Ross Junior Championship at Pinehurst Resort, the Eastern Junior Golf Association (EJGA) tour event was held at Pine Needles Dec. 28–29. The two-day shotgun tournament drew players and their families from Canada, Illinois, Connecticut and Michigan, as well as the Carolinas.
The combination of playing on a U.S. Open course, the warm Pine Needles’ hospitality — from the fireplace to the first-rate range balls — and host Stuart Taylor’s welcoming embrace all combined to score a major hit with participants.
“I love coming here because it’s an opportunity to play in an event that’s exclusively for girls,” remarked Mary-Katelyn Holanek from Cary, who will play golf as a freshman at Campbell University next fall. “When I was growing up, I was often the only girl in a coed tournament. It was frustrating to hear the boys often say to me, ‘You’re pretty good for a girl.’ Now there are enough girls to field our own tournament. Golf is now just as much a girls’ sport as it is a boys’ sport. And the camaraderie is great!”
Stuart Taylor explained that the focus of the EJGA tour is to provide junior golfers a place to play competitive golf during the school year as preparation to play on the high school team in the spring.
“We provide the players a chance to become comfortable playing in competition under pressure, something that can’t be replicated in just a social round,” explained Taylor, a co-owner of the tour. “We also want them to have fun.”
Sarah Bae from Cary was certainly having fun as she claimed the medalist honors in the 15-18 age division, with rounds of 71 and 74, for a 145 total. Two players tied for second at 155, Marissa DeCola and Madison Moosa. An impressive player, Moosa is only a seventh-grader.
The 12–14 age division was won by Emily Migliaccio from Cary, who shot a tournament-low round of 70, on the second day, for a 147 total.
Ashley Osiecki had the highlight of the event with a hole-in-one on the 160-yard par-3 16th hole. Amanda Hall from South Carolina won the college division with 159. It was the first year the event included college players, as four participants competed in the division.
Taylor said he plans on growing the college division to reach more players next year. “It affords EJGA tour members the opportunity to play three rounds on a three-time U.S. Open course” he said, “while the winners walk home with beautiful crystal trophies.”
The next EJGA event is the Junior Masters, Feburary at the Country Club of North Carolina in
Contact Veronica Karaman at veronica@ truechampioncoaching .com.
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