Ziemer's B.C. Golf Notes: Four B.C. juniors to rub shoulders with LPGA stars at new event; Hadwin, Svensson T40th at PGA Championship; Sloan makes it a B.C. foursome at U.S. Open; Rothwell off to NCAA Division I championship; SFU’s Goodfellow honoured

L-R: Lauren Kim, Michelle Liu & Luna Lu Finished As The Top 3 In The 2020 BC Women's Amateur. They Will Be Joined By Vanessa Zhang (Far Right) In The Upcoming Mizuho Americas Open

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

Four B.C. junior golfers will be playing alongside some of the biggest stars on the LPGA Tour at the upcoming Mizuho Americas Open at Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey.

Burnaby’s Luna Lu, Lauren Kim of Surrey and Michelle Liu and Vanessa Zhang, both of Vancouver, are among 24 American Junior Golf Association players who have qualified to play in the inaugural event, which goes June 1-4.

Lu, last year’s B.C. Junior Girls champion, was delighted when she received her official invitation. “I got an email telling me I was in,” said Lu, a 16-year-old Grade 10 student at Burnaby North Secondary. “This will be the first time I will get a chance to meet most of the LPGA pros and then also it’s right near New York City, so I am really excited about being a part of it.”

The LPGA event, which features a $2.75-million purse, will be played concurrently with an AJGA invitational tourney featuring the 24 junior girls. While the LPGA event will be a traditional stroke-play event, the AJGA players will be competing in a Stableford format. The LPGA and AJGA players will play separately for the first two days but after the LPGA cut is made, the AJGA players will be grouped with LPGA players for the final two rounds.

“For the last two rounds two LPGA players will be playing with one junior in each group,” said Kim, a 17-year-old Grade 12 student at Earl Marriott Secondary who last week qualified to play in this summer’s U.S. Women’s Open. “It should be a great experience.”

Lu has a couple of players she hopes to meet during the event. “I really want to meet Nelly Korda and hopefully get a picture with her,” she said. “And Brooke Henderson as well. It should be a wonderful experience and I hope to learn as much as I can.”

Liberty National, which played host to the Presidents Cup in 2017, sits across the Hudson River from New York City and offers breathtaking views of the Big Apple’s skyline and the Statue of Liberty.
Golf Channel will televise the event and has pledged to give the junior girls plenty of air time. Former LPGA Tour star Michelle Wie West is acting as tournament host.

“The opportunity to tee it up with the LPGA stars of today at Liberty National Golf Club is an absolute treat for 24 junior golfers aspiring to compete at the highest level,” said Jason Etzen, chief business officer for the AJGA. “The integration of educational programming throughout the week will be invaluable for the next generation of young stars.”

ALL TIED UP: Surrey’s Adam Svensson and Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford both tied for 40th at the PGA Championship. Hadwin closed with an even-par 70 in Sunday’s final round at Oak Hill Golf Club in Rochester, N.Y., to finish the event at six-over par. Svensson shot a three-over 73 in the final round. Both players made $46,900. Abbotsford’s Nick Taylor, who missed the cut at Oak Hill,
is in the field for this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Tex.

On the Korn Ferry Tour, Merritt’s Roger Sloan will be teeing it up at the Visit Knoxville Open in Tennessee. On the PGA Tour Latinoamerica circuit, Vancouver’s Stuart Macdonald is in the field for this week’s Colombia Classic. Macdonald currently sits 28th on the PGALA points list.

B.C. FOURSOME: There will be a British Columbia foursome at the upcoming U.S. Open. Merritt’s Roger Sloan advanced at a Dallas final qualifier on Monday, grabbing one of eight spots up for grabs by shooting nine-under over 36 holes. He’ll join Hadwin, Taylor and Svensson, who were already exempt. The U.S. Open goes June 15-18 at Los Angeles Country Club.

BIRDIE-FEST: Two-time B.C. Amateur champion Jackson Rothwell of Victoria is heading to the NCAA Division I Championship tourney. Rothwell and his University of San Francisco Dons teammates advanced by finishing fourth at what was a crazy NCAA regional tournament in Las Vegas. The Dons set a team record by going 45-under par at the Vegas tourney. Rothwell tied for 42nd at four-under par. Stanford University won the Las Vegas regional with a team score of 57-under par. The NCAA Championships go May 26-May 31 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.

GOOD-GOLFER: Parksville’s Aidan Goodfellow, a senior at Simon Fraser University, has been named to the 2023 NCAA Division II PING All-West Region Team. Goodfellow, who returned this season from serious shoulder and Achilles tendon injuries, recorded a scoring average of 72.41 in 27 tournament rounds this season. He placed third at the recent West/South Central Regional tourney, where SFU advanced to this week’s NCAA Division II Championship tourney at Avalon Lakes Golf Club in Warren, Ohio.

STRONG SHOWING: Vancouver’s Anna Huang and her partner Leigh Chien of Irvine, Calif., made it all the way to the semi-finals of the U.S. Women’s Four-Ball Championship at The Home Course in DuPont, Wash. Chien and Huang fell 4&3 to eventual champions Gianna Clemente of Estero, Fla., and Avery Zweig of McKinney, Tex.

TSAWWASSEN TRIUMPH: Vancouver Open champion Ilirian Zalli won the Vancouver Golf Tour’s Colony Construction Open at Tsawwassen Springs. Zalli finished the two-round event at 11-under par, one shot better than Langley’s James Allenby. Zalli, who plays out of Fraserview Golf Course, earned $3,000, while the Langley Golf Centre’s Allenby took home $2,000.