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Landon Ashcraft Wins Betsy King IMG Jr World Qualifier; Charlene Lamb Takes Girls Title

By April 23, 2024April 24th, 2024No Comments

The first local qualifying tournament to enter the esteemed IMG Academy Junior World Championship took place April 20-21 at the Betsy King IMG Academy Junior World Qualifier, yielding 20 players to become championship bound. The IMG Academy Junior World Championship is held July 6-11 in San Diego.

Whirlwind Golf Club’s Cattail Course hosted the Boys Championship division, with the first qualifier Landon Ashcraft of Scottsdale earning top medalist honors after two red-hot rounds of 67-66. The Scottsdale resident recorded only one bogey over the weekend and racked up a staggering 12 birdies in 36 holes. Ashcraft finished the tournament at 11-under par to seal the deal by two strokes. At 9-under par, Nicholas Lyman of Surprise and last year’s winner Owen Bolles of Chandler tied for second place and each secured the remaining two qualifying spots. Dylan Boenning of Phoenix (-8) and Asher Nelson of Scottsdale (-6) are the two alternates in the Boys Championship division.
Whirlwind also hosted the Boys 15-18 division, with Hudson Roberts of Chandler shooting red figures in the final round at 1-under par to land a three-stroke victory at even par (73-71).

The Girls Championship division squared off at Ahwatukee Country Club and Arizona Golf Resort with two qualifiers and two alternates heading to San Diego. Charlene Lamb of Scottsdale fired 72-74 to squeak past the rest of the leaderboard in first place at 2-over par. The win marks her first of the 2024 season. Last year’s victor Alexis Vakasiuola of San Tan Valley and Kaitlyn Moreland of Scottsdale shot 3-over par to come in tied for second place. Vakasiuola snagged the final qualifier spot on the leaderboard. Kaitlyn Moreland and Zaida Wise of Tucson secured the alternate spots.

In the Girls 15-18 division, also contested at Ahwatukee Country Club and Arizona Golf Resort, it came down to the wire as Kaeleen Giardina of Phoenix, London Valdez of Gilbert and Izzy McGlone of Chandler went neck and neck down the final stretch. Kaeleen Giardina eventually edged out Valdez and McGlone by a stroke after carding a 2-over-par 74 in the final round, the lowest score in the field. Giardina secures her first victory of 2024 at 15-over par (85-74).

Bear Creek’s Bear Course hosted the Boys and Girls 13-14 divisions. Ty Gould of Gilbert dominated the Boy’s side with his lowest round of the season at 7-under-par 64 to pull away from his fellow competitors. Gould posted nine birdies on day two and ended up winning by four strokes to earn the first qualifier spot in the Boys 13-14 division. Two other players received qualifier spots as Sam Meltzer of Paradise Valley and Troy Stahl of Phoenix tied for second at 3-under par. AJ Ramos of Tucson and Nash Yogurtian of Gilbert wrap up the two alternate spots. In the Girls 13-14 division, Aubrey Hilgers of Litchfield Park wins her second tournament in a month by an impressive eight strokes to cruise into the top qualifier spot. Highlighted by a bogey-free final round with six birdies, Hilgers shot her best score of 2024 at 6-under-par 65. Mischa Wang also earned a qualifier spot as the Scottsdale resident concluded solo-second at 2-over par. Alyssa Rigby of Goodyear (+3) and Taylor Underhill of Gilbert (+6) each sneaked into contention as alternates.

Three players in the Boys 11-12 division moved on. March Osland of Litchfield Park won by two strokes at 2-under (57-59) at Bear Creek’s Cub Course. Ronan Khosla of Scottsdale (57-61) came in second place at even par, and Adam Rigby of Goodyear shot +1 (60-59) to take the final spot.

The Girls 11-12 division, Kimsey Terrell of Phoenix shot 63-66 on the Cub Course for back-to-back top honors at. 11-over par, and Alyxandra Summer of Scottsdale ended up +21 (73-66) to join Terrell in San Diego.

Kyle Wojtcuk of Waddell clinches the Boys 10 and Under division at +1 (58-61). He finished one stroke ahead of Maddux Zlotoff of Scottsdale who finished at 66-54. They both earned spots to San Diego.

In the Girls 10 and Under division, Amy Xuan of Chandler finished at 9-over par (59-58) to take the first qualifying spot for the division, and Cecelia Sumner of Scottsdale secured the second after shooting 70-80, +32.

The second IMG Academy Junior World Championship qualifier will be June 4-5 at the Antigua Milt Coggins AZ Jr Stroke Play held at both Papago Golf Club and Encanto 18/9.

The 2024 edition of the IMG Academy Junior World Championships will kick off from July 6 to July 11. Originating in 1952 with just 50 young players gathering at the then Mission Valley Country Club, the event has evolved significantly. Today, the IMG Academy Junior World Golf Championships proudly welcomes 1,200 participants hailing from 56 countries and 42 states. As the largest international tournament globally, it stands out for its rich cultural tapestry.

The mission of the Junior World Golf Championships is to unite young golfers worldwide, offering them a premier golfing experience while fostering cultural cohesion and mutual understanding. Originally conceived by John W. Brown, A.S. “Lou” Smith, and Norrie West in 1968, the San Diego Junior Golf Association took up the mantle to organize the tournament. Their vision was to create a platform where junior golfers from diverse backgrounds could converge, play golf, and broaden their cultural horizons. Hosted not only at the renowned Torrey Pines but also at various other esteemed clubs across the San Diego area, this championship continues to embody the spirit of global camaraderie and sportsmanship. Click here to learn more about the IMG Academy Junior World Championships.