Earns Sally Pini Award as individual medalist
Team Arizona notched an historic second place finish at the 2022 Junior America’s Cup, held July 31-August 4 at The Club at Ruby Hill in Pleasanton, California. The runner-up finish marks the best showing for Arizona since a T1 finish in 1992 at Oregon’s Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club and team championship in 1986 at La Hacienda CC, Mexico City, Mexico.
In the 54-hole team competition, the three lowest scores, of four, determine the team score. Arizona fired 18-under par, 212-208-210—630, two strokes behind champions Utah, who rallied to win on the final hole. Southern California filled out the top three, with a final tally of -16.
As primarily a team competition for many years, in 2006 the Sally Pini award was launched to recognize and memorialize her contribution to Junior America’s Cup by honoring the low individual medalist. Rylan Johnson of Gilbert became the first Arizona player to win the award, after firing -11, 66-70-69—205, two strokes clear of Southern California’s Josh Koo at -9.
Finishing T6 at in last year’s championship, Johnson grabbed a share of the first round lead, with a 6-under 66. After making a bogey on the very first hole, the 2021 JGAA Player of the Year quickly covered it with three birdies by the time he made the turn. He then caught fire on the back nine, going 4-under for three holes, culminating with an eagle-3 at No. 13.
In the second round, the soon to be Oregon State Beaver moved to 3-under par by the sixth hole (No. 15, started on back nine). He then gave two back before finishing strong with a birdie on the second-to-last hole to shoot 2-under-par 70. And in a turbulent final round, he made the turn at -3, thanks to three birdies and an eagle-3 at the 4th hole. Johnson picked up two more birdies on 11 and 13, before sliding back with a bogey at 14 and a double at No. 16. He then steadied the ship with a birdie-par finish on the final two holes to clinch the championship.
Tucson’s Carlos Astiazaran came in sixth place after firing -5, 70-69-72—211. Adam Miller of Phoenix – in his second go-round after a T22, +8, finish in 2021 – moved up the leaderboard as the 2022 tournament played out, starting with a 4-over 76, then 1-under 71 and closing with a 3-under 69 to finish at even par T15. And Mesa’s Johnnie Clark finished T42, +8, after rounds of 79-69-76—224.
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Clark and Johnson currently sitting No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the JGAA’s point race for 2022 Boys Championship division Player of the Year award. In seven tournaments entered so far in 2022, Clark won four of them, including three in a row in June. He also posted a second-place finish.
As the 2021 Boys Championship division Player of the Year, Johnson won two 2022 JGAA tournaments in seven events entered in addition to a T2 and T3. Currently in third place in the 2022 JGAA Player of the Year race, Adam Miller of Phoenix also rejoined the team after competing in the 2021 Junior America’s Cup. He’s entered 11 tournaments so far in 2022, placing T9 or better in all of them and T5 or better in seven, including two victories. Likewise, Carlos Astiazaran competed in 11 JGAA tournaments so far in 2022, highlighted by a victory at home in early June at the Tucson City Junior, in addition to posting eight top-10s and six finishes of fifth place or better.
About The Junior America’s Cup:
The Junior America’s Cup first started in 1959 as matches between Mexico, Alberta and the Southern California Junior Golf Associations with each association hosting the event every three years. Since 2001, the competition annually brings together an elite international field of 18, four-player teams featuring the top boys representing 12 western states, two Canadian provinces and Mexico. To learn more about the Junior America’s Cup, visit junioramericascup.com, or contact Scott McNevin, JGAA Executive Director, email@example.com, 602-944-6168.