Dixon All-America junior golfer Jace Long will be back in the field attempting to defend his championship next week in the Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship.
For the second year the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) has announced an impressive field for the Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship, to be held Aug. 4 – 7 at Rivercut Golf Course in Springfield, Mo.
Ninety-nine of the nation’s top junior golfers will tee up at Rivercut for the 54-hole stroke play event. The field will represent 12 states and 27 juniors from Missouri.
Long has had another solid summer of golf heading into the Bass Pro event Finishing with an 8-under-par 208, Long added the 2007 Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship to his long list of accomplishments. The recent Dixon High School graduate has recorded five career AJGA victories and was named a 2007 honorable mention Rolex Junior All-American. Long is currently No. 42 in the Polo Golf Rankings and will continue his career playing collegiate golf for the University of Missouri. He has been recognized as Golfweek’s Player of the Week earlier this summer.
Kevin Kring is one of five Springfield locals that will be teeing it up at the second annual Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship. Kring, a recent graduate of Central High School, represented his hometown well at last year’s event finishing in 11th place. In addition, he finished second at the Lockton/Capitol Federal Kansas City Junior and eighth at the Rand Graphics-Wildcat Golf Wichita Junior Championship in 2007. Kring has signed a National Letter of Intent to play collegiate golf for University of Colorado in the fall.
Kring will compete in the Boys Division alongside Adam Sterling and Brian Steele, also of Springfield. Sterling is a rising junior at Glendale High School and will be playing in his first-ever AJGA event. Steele will be returning to the event for his second year. A recent graduate of Glendale High School, Steele has signed a National Letter of Intent to play collegiate golf with Southwest Baptist University in the fall.
Both playing in their first AJGA event, locals Jessica Dillard and Lindsey Johnson will tee up for the Girls Division. Both girls attend Kickapoo High School.
The Girls Division defending champion, Julia Thead of Poway, Calif., will also return to the event for her second year. Thead earned her first-ever AJGA victory after a sudden-death playoff at last year’s event. She earned four more top-10 finishes during her 2007 season and was named a HP Scholastic Junior All-America.
Thead will face a challenging Girls Division, including Katie Sylvan of San Diego. Sylvan is the highest ranked player in the Girls Division with a current Polo Golf Ranking of No. 75. She has recorded two AJGA victories in her career at the 2007 Dalhousie Junior Championship and the 2006 Buick Junior Open presented by Golfweek. Most recently, Sylvan placed sixth at the Heritage Junior Championship.
The Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship will kick off on Monday, Aug. 4. The Junior-Am Fundraising Tournament will begin at 8 a.m. followed by a 1:30 p.m. practice round. Tournament tees times will run from 7 – 11:48 a.m. off of Rivercut Golf Course’s No. 1 tee, Tuesday, Aug. 5 through Thursday, Aug. 7. An awards ceremony will take place immediately following final round play on Thursday, Aug. 7.
Prior to the event, an official AJGA Qualifier will be staged at 1:30 p.m. at the Rivercut Golf Course Sunday, Aug. 3. AJGA Qualifiers serve as a way to round out the tournament field and allow less experienced players an opportunity to play their way into the Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship.
The largest Association of its kind, the AJGA has an annual junior membership of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 25 countries.