Battle at the Academy

Battle at the Academy

Posted on June 08, 2018
by Gary Baines

Many of the top junior golfers in the state -- along with some out-of-state and international players -- battled it out this week in the AJGA Hale Irwin Colorado Junior in Westminster.

Next week, there will be an encore of sorts, limited primarily to Colorado residents. The first Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado major of 2018, the Colorado Junior PGA Championship, again will be hosted by Eisenhower Golf Club at the Blue Course at the Air Force Academy. The 54-hole event runs Monday through Wednesday (June 11-13).

Both of last year's Colorado Junior PGA champions will be back to defend their titles -- Davis Bryant of Aurora and Hailey Schalk of Erie, who both went on to win every major in which they played in 2017 and earned JGAC Player of the Year honors.

The boys tournament at Eisenhower could feature a rematch of a friendly rivalry that has blossomed over the last year -- between Bryant and Dillon Stewart of Fort Collins, who on Thursday won the AJGA Hale Irwin Colorado Junior at Walnut Creek Golf Preserve.

The two have finished 1-2 in three prominent events over the last 12 months, with Bryant winning the Colorado Junior PGA and the 5A state high school meet, and Stewart the AJGA tournament this week. Bryant will play his college golf at Colorado State University starting this fall, while Stewart is planning to join the Oklahoma State squad in 2019.

Also in the boys field at Eisenhower are Jack Castiglia of Lakewood, who joined Bryant in advancing to U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying; Walker Franklin of Broomfield, who finished fifth in the AJGA Irwin Colorado Junior; University of Denver-bound Cal McCoy of Highlands Ranch; 2017 U.S. Junior Amateur qualier TJ Shehee of Mead (and Bryant); and Kaden Ford of Colorado Springs, who played in the national Drive, Chip & Putt finals this year.

On the girls side, the field is also full of top players. In addition to Schalk, who won her second straight 3A state high school title last month, there's 2017 4A state high school champ Lauren Lehigh of Loveland, who placed third in the recent AJGA event; 2015 Junior PGA winner Caroline Jordaan of Denver; reigning 5A girls high school champ Emma Bryant of Aurora; 2017 5A winner Amy Chitkoksoong of Aurora; and Kelsey Webster of Boulder, who will play at the University of Colorado beginning in the fall.

For Monday's tee times, CLICK HERE.