OGA Junior field loaded as winners earn trips to U.S. Juniors

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OGA Junior Pairings

A field loaded with talent will begin play Monday in the Oklahoma Golf Association Junior Boys and Girls Championship with an extra carrot for the winners, a trip to the U.S. Boys Junior Championshp and the U.S. Girls Junior Championship on the line.

The tournament returns to its usual home at KickingBird Golf Club in Edmond for the first time in three years, as KickingBird was closed for a more than $21 million renovation in 2022 and 2023.

Boys and girls will play 18 holes of stroke play on both Monday and Tuesday with the top 16 in boys 12-15, boys 16-18 and girls advancing to match play. There will be two rounds of match play Wednesday to cut the fields to four, then the semifinals Thursday morning and finals Thursday at noon.

If the event were televised, one of the “featured groups” would be the pairing of 2022 champion Parker Sands, 2023 14-15 champion Ben Lathrop and Oklahoma State signee Grant Gudgel. Sands has signed with Florida.

Other top boys in the field include OU signee Cameron Cheek of Owasso, OU commit Preston Albee of Choctaw, Seton Hall signee William Hennessee of Tulsa, Oral Roberts signee Sam Morris of Tulsa, Mason Haley of Enid, Samuel Bonaobra of Broken Arrow, Hunter Baumann of Edmond, Banks Cozby of Tulsa, Benton Manly of Tulsa, Jace Chaney of Ardmore, Parker Pogue of Ada and many more.

Two of the more intriguing juniors in the state are not competing in 13-year-old Chase Hughes and 15-year-old Emerson Majma, mainly because they would not be eligible to compete in the upper division for the USGA berth. The OGA is going to address that issue with new guidelines for 2025.

In the girls division, Class 6A state champion and defending OGA Junior champion Juliana Hong of Norman, 5A champion and Arkansas signee Natalie Blonien of Altus, who won the stroke play title in 2023, and 14-year-old phenom Evyn Cannon of Edmond, one of the mainstays of Oklahoma highly successful PGA Junior League national team, would be three of the favorites along with decorated juniors Natalie Purvis, Abbie Justiz, Peyton Coburn, Harlow Gregory, Sofia Lefler and Rylee Roberts.

The U.S. Junior Amateur is July 22-27 at Oakland Hills in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., while the U.S. Girls Junior is July 15-20 at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, Calif.

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Ken MacLeod

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