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The girls can breathe a sigh of relief, and the boys field features seven Rolex All-Americans.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
The 42 contestants in the girls 15-18 age division of next week’s 30th Scott Robertson Memorial junior golf tournament all can exhale now. There will be no one named Jutanugarn at Roanoke Country Club this time.
After basically taking their Robertson competitors hostage the past two years, Thailand sisters Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn are now inflicting serious damage in the professional ranks.
Moriya, 18, who became the fifth player to win consecutive titles last year, earned her 2013 LPGA playing card last winter and has won $161,503 in nine events this season.
Ariya, 17, who finished second and third behind her sister in the past two Robertsons, wasn’t old enough to qualify for the LPGA Tour this year. In four 2013 LPGA events, all of which she received sponsor’s exemptions or gained entry through a qualifier, she has finished in the top four every time — a second, two thirds and a fourth last week at Kingsmill — and earned $404,970. Counting her Ladies European Tour paychecks, she’s already banked more than $500,000.
Based on that evidence, the rest of the Robertson competitors have to feel blessed they won’t be dealing with those two in the 54-hole affair that runs May 17-19 at RCC.
Top players to watch next week include: Brooke Henderson, Canada’s top-ranked junior; Andrea Lee, ranked ninth in the world; Megan Khang, winner of 10 junior events the past year; and Floridian Lantanna Stone, who at 10 became the youngest qualifier in U.S. Women’s Amateur history last year.
Chesterfield’s Lyberty Anderson, the 2012 VHSL Group AAA champion who will be playing in her seventh Scott Robertson Memorial, leads a Virginia contingent that includes Floyd’s Amanda Hollandsworth, last year’s VSGA Junior Girls champion, and Troutville’s Lyndsey Hunnell, last year’s City-County women’s champion.
Seven Rolex All-Americans and three more players ranked 22nd or better in the world by Golfweek highlight the boys 15-18 field. The group includes Forest’s Zachary Bouchou, who finished 14th last year.
Other top players who will bid to become the first contestant from the area to win the crown since the tournament began to draw much more talented national fields in the late 1990s include Buchanan’s Korey Watts, Roanoke’s Nick Brediger, Blacksburg’s Ty Olinger and the Salem duo of Garrett Sweeney and Andrew Butts.
Including the girls and boys 14-and-under classes, the total field of 168 includes players from 23 states and 15 countries.