Junior golfers head to world championships

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Guam’s top junior golfers will be taking on some of the best in the world next month when the Guam National Golf Federation sends 12 juniors to compete in the IMG Academy Junior World Championships at various golf courses in San Diego, California.

They are entered in five age groups. Competing in the boys’ 15-17 age group will be Devin Hua and Brentt Salas. They will be teeing off at the Torrey Pines South Course. Nalathai Vongjalorn and Rachael Peterson will tee off at Torrey Pines North in the girls’ 15-17 age group. All four are highly ranked GNGF members and have competed at the Junior Worlds many times. In 2014, Hua became the first Guam golfer to make the cut in the 15-17 age group since Teddy Gogue did it 30 years ago.

In the 13-14 age group, Masaki Ujiie and Halen Carbonel play in the boys’ division, and Kana Bangs will compete in the girls’. All three are outstanding golfers with much-improved games through the years. Carbonel had the highest finish of all the Guam juniors in his age group at last year’s tournament.

Ivan Sablan and Ian Paulino will represent Guam in the 11-12 boys’ division, while Markus Nanpei and Makenzie Ujiie compete in the 9-10 boys’ division. Talon Quinata will represent Guam in the 7-8 boys’ division, and Edwin Fenton will do so in the 6-and-under division.

The players on the team earned spots in the championships because of their high-ranking status and victories in qualifying rounds held in April and May this year. The GNGF is proud of their hard work and dedication, and is confident in the young golfers and expects them to perform well at the tournament.

In its inaugural year, the Junior World Championships had 475 juniors representing seven countries and 20 U.S. states. Today, the tournament has grown to 1,200 participants representing 56 countries and 42 states. IMG Academy Junior World Golf Championships is the largest international event of its kind in the world and is unique for its international representation and cultural diversity.

The Junior World Championships has enjoyed representation from many countries and territories since 1968, including Japan, Australia, Brazil, Bahamas, China, Chile, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Great Britain, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela and Virgin Islands.

Hua wins title

Hua recently participated in the ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior golf tournament and walked away with a 6-under-par 210 to win the boys’ division. The tournament is one of the many official tournaments under the American Junior Golf Association.

“It feels really great winning my first AJGA tournament. It boosts my confidence for upcoming tournaments,” Hua said on the AJGA website. “Hopefully, I will win a couple more.”

“The Guam National Golf Federation is very proud of Devin. We have seen how hard he has worked on his golf game over the years. He has definitely earned this victory and GNGF predicts there will be many more wins in his future,” said GNGF President George Benoit.

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