Visit Champaign County joins the AJGA again in 2021 in sponsoring the AJGA Junior All-Star in Urbana. The 78-player field hosted at Urbana Country Club will bring together the top 12 to 15-year-old junior golfers from around the world.
The AJGA Junior All-Star Series is a collection of events specifically designed for boys and girls ages 12–15 years old. The competition provides an opportunity for younger AJGA members to develop their skills and build Performance Based Entry Status to earn entry into Open and Invitational level tournaments.
Champaign County, Illinois—two hours south of Chicago and two hours west of Indianapolis—is home to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The Fighting Illini Men’s Golf team has boasted several prominent AJGA alumni over the years including AJGA tournament host D.A. Points, 2021 Ryder Cup U.S. Team Captain Steve Stricker, and NCAA Champion Scott Langley.
“Following a successful event in 2020 at the Urbana Country Club, we’re thrilled to host once again,” states Mike Koon, Visit Champaign County’s Director of Sports, Events & Film. “While the 2020 event was held in the midst of the pandemic, our community was still able to showcase our rich history in the sport alongside the hospitality for which our community is known.”
The tournament returns to Urbana Country Club for the second year in 2021. The course, founded in 1922, is a Tom Bendelow design, built in the Bendelow era of Medinah #3, Beverly C.C. and the home of the TOUR Championship, East Lake in Atlanta.
“We are truly honored to host an event of this magnitude, as it highlights the 1922 Tom Bendelow design that over the years has remained mostly in-tact,” said Scott Szymoniak, PGA General Manger at Urbana Country Club. “Bringing the top junior players in the world to the Champaign-Urbana community to share the Midwest culture and hospitality is exciting, and the Urbana Country Club membership is ready to welcome all involved. We are determined to make this a successful event for years to come.”
The event featured two first-time AJGA champions in 2020. Colin Li of San Diego, California, took home the Boys Division wire-to-wire with a score of 3-under-par 213. Hinsdale, Illinois local Elyssa Abdullah won the Girls Division with a 2-under-par 214 54-hole tournament score.
The four-day event will also include a 78-player qualifier. The AJGA Qualifier Series, like Monday Qualifying on the PGA TOUR, is one of the main ways’ players get their start with the AJGA. Typically held the day prior to AJGA Open and AJGA Junior All-Star Series tournaments, 18-hole AJGA Qualifiers give players an opportunity to "play their way in" to each coinciding tournament and earn PBE status for a future event.
Koon estimates the impact of this event on the community will exceed $220,000, with competitors and spectators having additional opportunities to engage in the community.
Additionally, the Urbana-Champaign community is invited to participate in the Junior-Am Fundraising tournament being held on July 19th. The Junior-Am, similar in format to a Pro-Am, is a fundraising opportunity designed to help the local community and the AJGA Foundation. If interested in participating, please contact Midwest Regional Manager, Trevor Deal at email@example.com.
About Visit Champaign County
Visit Champaign County, the certified destination management organization for the greater Champaign County area, aided organizers in bringing the event to the area and will provide support in helping coordinate media and providing community resources to the competitors. Visit Champaign County’s mission is to promote a welcoming destination experience for visitors to strengthen economic opportunity and enhance the lives of residents.
About the AJGA
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls, ages 12-19) of more than 7,000 members from 50 states and 60 foreign countries. Through initiatives like the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant, a financial assistance program, and Leadership Links, a service-oriented platform that teaches juniors charitable-giving skills, the AJGA fosters the growth of golf’s next generation.
TaylorMade and adidas are the AJGA’s National Sponsors, supporting the AJGA for more than 25 years. TaylorMade has served as the Official Ball of the AJGA since 2016. adidas has been the Official Apparel and Footwear of the AJGA since 2017. Rolex, in its fourth decade of AJGA sponsorship, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 900 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods, Paula Creamer, Ariya Jutanugarn, Cristie Kerr, Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome, Anna Nordqvist, Inbee Park and Lexi Thompson.