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Golf
July 01, 2024
Huntsville Golf Course to Host International Junior Golf Tournament
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The American Junior Golf Association Event Will Feature Several Local Golfers

This July, some of the top, junior talent in golf will tee off at Huntsville Golf Club in Dallas. The American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) Junior Tournament, in its second year at Huntsville, expects to welcome over 90, under-18 golfers for the three-day, 54-hole match. And, of those 90+ national, international and regional golfers, a handful of local standouts will take to the fairways.

The event is open to spectators and will run from Tuesday, July 9 through Thursday, July 11.

 

Photo courtesy of American Junior Golf Association.

 

“This is basically the top-level for junior golfers,” said Matt Occhiato, Head Golf Professional and Direct of instruction at Huntsville Golf Club. “In a nutshell, what these tournaments and the AJGA do for young golfers is offer them the opportunity to be ranked nationally.”

And once ranked, they’re finding opportunities to play in other major tournaments. The rankings are also followed quite closely by the top Division I college golf programs in the country. In many cases, according to Occhiato, these tournaments lead to quite a few scholarship offers. “Division I colleges use that ranking system as kind of their Holy Grail for recruiting purposes,” Occhiato said.

 

Photo courtesy of American Junior Golf Association.

 

Locally, the AJGA Junior is one of only a handful of opportunities for young golfers to play in a full 54-hole tournament. And it’s certainly one of a few throughout the region that allows them to earn a rank on the Junior Golf Scoreboard Rankings. “The AJGA represents so many countries throughout the world. They’re all over the place,” Occhiato said. “And we may not be known as one of the biggest golf regions, in terms of talent.” He continued. “But we definitely have some very competitive golfers both here at Huntsville and in Northeastern Pennsylvania and they work so hard on their game. They deserve opportunities like this.”

 

Huntsville Golf Club Head Golf Professional and Director of Instruction, Matt Occhiato congratulates Huntsville member and 2023 AJGA Junior participant, Michael Lugiano. Photo courtesy of American Junior Golf Association.

 

This year’s tournament begins with a practice round and qualifier on Monday, July 8. The tournament will then officially start on Tuesday, July 9 and run through to completion of the final round on Thursday, July 11. And, according to Occhiato, you’re just not going to find better golf to watch in NEPA. “These kids pummel the ball. They’re almost playing from our black tees — about 7,000 yards in total. It’s great golf to watch.”

 

Photo courtesy of American Junior Golf Association.

 

Interested golf fans and prospective junior golfers are welcome to walk along the course or plant themselves near the 18th green and cheer on the tournament participants. And for those interested in joining the AJGA and maybe playing in the next tournament, please visit the AJGA website for more information.

 

Featured image (top) courtesy of American Junior Golf Association.