Tom McKibbin Returns to Defend his Title at 10th Junior Invitational at Sage Valley Golf Club
GRANITEVILLE, S.C. (January 16, 2020) – Defending champion Tom McKibbin of Northern Ireland is set to lead a promising international field of junior golfers at the 10th Junior Invitational at Sage Valley Golf Club March 12-14, 2020. McKibbin captured the title in his second appearance at the Junior Invitational last year. The 17-year-old, who has committed to play at the University of Florida in 2021, hopes to don the “Golden Jacket” once again in 2020.
Initial commitments for the 2020 Junior Invitational reflect a strong field of accomplished players representing various countries around the world, with six players listed in the top 10 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings. The current field includes returning players, No. 1 ranked Karl Vilips (Australia), No. 2 ranked Nick Dunlap (United States), No. 5 ranked Maxwell Moldovan (United States), No. 10 ranked Bo Jin (China), Kelly Chinn (United States), Joseph Pagdin (England), Preston Summerhays (United States), Conor Gough (England), George Duangmanee (United States), Luke Potter (United States), Jeewon Park (South Korea), Andi Xu (China), Jimmy Zheng (New Zealand), Jackson Van Paris (United States), Gordon Sargent (United States) and McKibbin.
Returning players will be joined by Junior Invitational newcomers, including No. 6 ranked Ben James (United States), No. 9 Andrew Goodman (United States), Jack Heath (United States), Brock Hoover (United States), Austin Scott (United States), Brett Roberts (United States), Tucker Clark (United States), Ethan Chung (United States), Aaron Du (China), Taehoon Song (United States), Wilmer Ederö (Sweden), John Marshall Butler (United States), Ian Maspat (United States) and Ian Siebers (United States). The remainder of the field will be announced soon.
“Our 10th anniversary event is shaping up to once again be the most prestigious field in junior golf,” said Pete Davis, chairman of the SVJI Sports Foundation. “Moving play to mid-March means the course will be in absolute perfect condition, making for an incredible competition.”
Factors used to determine eligibility for the prestigious 54-hole stroke-play Junior Invitational include 17 automatic qualifiers, some of which are the top 10 and ties from the 2019 Junior Invitational, the 2019 USGA Junior Amateur Semi-Finalists and the 2019 Junior PGA Champion, among others. Remaining spots are filled based upon information collected from Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings, the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR), Rolex AJGA Golf Rankings, Junior Golf Scoreboard and the European Golf Rankings. For a complete explanation of eligibility criteria and selection process, click here.
Many Junior Invitational alumni have found success following their time at Sage Valley, including 13-time PGA Tour winner Justin Thomas, as well as 2017, 2018 and 2019 U.S. Amateur Champions Doc Redman, Viktor Hovland and Andy Ogletree, respectively. The 2020 Masters Tournament qualifiers include alumni John Augenstein, Justin Thomas, Matthew Wolff and Andy Ogletree.
Recognized by Golfweek as the #1 junior event in golf, the Junior Invitational welcomes 54 of the very best junior golfers from around the world to Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, South Carolina, each year. Founded in 2011, it has become one of the most desired invitations in the world of competitive junior golf. The 10th Junior Invitational at Sage Valley Golf Club will be held March 12-14, 2020. For more information, visit www.juniorinvitational.com.
Sage Valley Golf Club, host of the Junior Invitational, is located only minutes from historic Augusta, Georgia, and is surrounded by several thousand acres of preserved southern pine forest. The club features a Tom Fazio championship course, a brand-new Fazio-designed par 3 course, a learning center and practice facilities, clubhouse, spa and cottages. The Gun Club was introduced five years after Sage Valley opened and includes world class sport shooting facilities and hunting and fishing opportunities throughout the season.
The SVJI Sports Foundation was established in 2015 as a nonprofit entity to run the Junior Invitational. Since its inception, the SVJI Sports Foundation has donated more than $1 million to The First Tee chapters in Aiken, South Carolina, and Augusta, Georgia.