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Published: Wednesday, 6/8/2005

Juniors get chance to play 'majors'

BY DAVE HACKENBERG
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

The Toledo Junior Golf Association begins its 32nd season Friday and, for the first time, there will be a major championship schedule and eligibility requirements for boys and girls player of the year candidates.

The organization's four oldest events - the District Junior Match Play, the Lew Osterman Memorial, the PGA NW Ohio Junior, and the TJGA Invitational - will comprise the four majors.

To be eligible for player of the year, boys and girls must compete in at least four TJGA events, including two of the majors. Top player awards will be determined on playing record as well as sportsmanship, dedication and knowledge of the rules.

The top boy and girl will receive first-ever sponsor exemptions to an American Junior Golf Association event. The AJGA is a nation-wide junior league with the strongest fields in the country.

"There are so many junior events being offered in our region and so many other demands on kids' time that our top players have only competed in a couple events in recent years," said Karen Stone, the executive director of the TJGA since 1984 who now shares those duties with Joy McGurk. "So we'd like to see them play in as many of our top events as possible which is why we developed the new eligibility rules."

The TJGA will also bring back its Junior High Tour next fall after an absence of several years. The format features a half-day clinic and rules seminar along with a qualifying round in late August. Five nine-hole events will follow over the next month. Nick Szymanski, the PGA head pro at South Toledo and the TJGA president for 2005, will coordinate the tour.

"We've seen junior golf numbers start to slip a little and we'd like to head that off," Stone said. "The Junior High Tour will keep players involved and serve as a good feeder system both for the TJGA and high school programs."

The TJGA will also add a first-time tournament this year. The Northern Ohio-Southeast Michigan Junior Open, sponsored by Jim McGowan Development, will be played June 21 and will mark the TJGA's first-ever event at The Legacy.

ETIQUETTE: According to a survey of members of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, the top three violations of golf course etiquette are:

●Failure to repair ball marks on greens.

●Failure to replace or repair divots in fairways.

●Failure to properly rake sand after a bunker shot.

Are you guilty?

FUNNY GAME: Two weeks ago, Joe Inman closed out the Senior PGA Championship with a one-hole score of 15 after dumping five consecutive short iron shots in the water guarding the 18th green at Laurel Valley. Last week, at the Champions Tour's Allianz Classic, he holed his first iron shot of the tournament for an eagle 2.

SOREN-SLAM: Annika Sorenstam tries to become the first player ever to win the same LPGA major three straight years when she tees off tomorrow in the LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock in Maryland.

She also continues her stated bid for the Grand Slam. She won the Kraft Nabisco earlier this year by eight shots and hopes to become the first player since Pat Bradley in 1986 to win the season's first two majors.

CHIP SHOTS: Entry deadline for the S.P. Jermain match-play championship sponsored by the Toledo Metro Golf Association is a June 30 postmark. The flighted event runs over two weekends (July 9-10, July 15-17) at Ottawa Park Golf Course and there is a $95 entry fee. Entry forms are available at the Ottawa Park pro shop. ... Dana Quigley is the leading money winner on the Champions Tour, which may be why he never misses a tournament. Or vice versa. He'll tee it up in his 275th consecutive start this week in Kansas City. ... You may not have heard of Bart Bryant prior to last weekend, but if the next U.S. Ryder Cup team were to be selected today he'd be on it. His win at the Memorial Tournament moved him into 10th place in the Ryder Cup standings. ... Two-time U.S. Open champion Andy North has received a special exemption from the USGA to compete in the U.S. Senior Open July 28-31 at NCR Country Club in Kettering, Ohio.

Contact Dave Hackenberg at:

dhack@theblade.com

or 419-724-6398.



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