GRANITEVILLE, S.C. (Feb. 21, 2021) – As the 2021 PGA Tour season continues to ramp up, Junior Invitational alumni are thriving among the world’s best golfers. Nine former participants currently sit in the top 100 of the Official World Golf Rankings as of today.
Five alumni are in the top 20, including No. 3 Justin Thomas (2012); No. 6 Collin Morikawa (2014-15); No. 14 Viktor Hovland (2016); No. 16 Matthew Fitzpatrick (2013); and No. 19 Matthew Wolf (2016-17). Former Junior Invitational champions, Joaquin Niemann (2017) and Scottie Scheffler (2014), are ranked Nos. 29 and 31, respectively. Cameron Champ (2012-14) and Sam Burns (2013-15) round out the world-ranked alumni at Nos. 75 and 80.
To start the year, the top of the Sentry Tournament of Champions leaderboard featured three Junior Invitational alumni, including Niemann (2), Thomas (3) and Morikawa (T7).
Hovland and Scheffler have also begun to climb the ranks with impressive performances early in the year. Hovland finished T2 at the Farmer’s Insurance Open, carding the first 57 in PGA Tour history. Scheffler followed with a remarkable run at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, ultimately finishing T7 despite excellent initial rounds. Coincidentally, Scheffler shared the T7 position with fellow Junior Invitational alumni Matthew Nesmith (2011-12).
Despite a T30 finish, 2018 Junior Invitational champion Akshay Bhatia shot a round two 64––the lowest in his newly-minted professional career––and reached 18 greens in regulation in the second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Burns climbed nearly 70 spots in the rankings following his third place finish at The Genesis Invitational over the weekend.
Originally scheduled for March 18-20 at Sage Valley Golf Club, the 2021 Junior Invitational was canceled due to current challenges surrounding COVID-19. The 10-year-old tournament was poised to host the inaugural girls’ competition in 2021, which will now debut in 2022.
Recognized by Golfweek as the #1 junior event in golf, the Junior Invitational welcomes 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. Past participants have included some of the top names in golf: Justin Thomas, Colin Morikawa, Joaquin Niemann, Scottie Scheffler, Matthew Wolff and more. 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.