2010 Ping Invitational preview

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AJGA logoThe Ping Invitational is annually the final showdown of the season and the last chance for players to display their skills and make an impression before the Rolex Junior All-America teams are selected. Of the 45 boys and 27 girls competing in The Ping Invitational, only two will top off the 2010 season with an AJGA Invitational crown.

In a competitive field, 72 players will look to capture the titles at Karsten Creek. This year’s participants will include 23 Rolex Junior All-Americans, both 2009 Rolex Junior Players of the Year, 13 of the top-15 ranked girls in the Polo Golf Rankings, along with 11 of the top 15 boys. There will be 18 states represented in addition to Canada, Thailand and the Philippines. Karsten Creek, home of the Oklahoma State golf teams, will once again provide a challenge to the nation’s best junior golfers during the final contest of 2010.

Emiliano Grillo
Grillo looks to defend his Ping Invitational crown this weekend at Karsten Creek. (AJGA)
In the Boys Division, Emiliano Grillo of Bradenton, Fla., will attempt to defend his title and become the first repeat champion in the history of the tournament. Grillo finished tied for second with Jordan Spieth at the 2010 Junior Players Championship, one stroke back of Michael Johnson, who will join The Ping Invitational field along with Grillo and Spieth.

There will be nine other Rolex Junior All-Americans vying for the title: Shun Yat Hak of Lake Mary, Fla., Gavin Hall of Pittsford, N.Y., Patrick Rodgers of Avon, Ind., Matthew Ceravolo of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Wyndham Clark of Greenwood Village, Colo., Billy Kennerly of Alpharetta, Ga., Tanner Kesterson of Plano, Texas, M.J. Maguire of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Motin Yueng of Orlando, Fla.

The Girls Division will be highlighted by eight of the top 10 players in the Polo Golf Rankings.

Victoria Tanco of Bradenton, Fla., captured The Ping Invitational title by one stroke in 2008. Last year, Tanco was to the wire again, this time against Rachel Morris. Morris’ birdie on the 54th hole sent her into a playoff, where she drained a 25-foot birdie putt to defeat Tanco on the first extra hole.  

Tanco will look to reclaim the crown in 2010. She held the No. 1 spot in the Polo Golf Rankings for all but two weeks of 2010 and has a multitude of accolades to her name. A two-time Rolex Junior Player of the Year and first-team Rolex Junior All-American, Tanco earned her fifth AJGA title at the 2010 ANNIKA Invitational.  

Eight more Rolex Junior All-Americans join the Girls Division field: Doris Chen of Bradenton, Fla., Karen Chung of Livingston, N.J., Simin Feng of Orlando, Fla., Erynne Lee of Silverdale, Wash., Lindsey Weaver of  Scottsdale, Ariz., Shannon Aubert of ChampionsGate, Fla., Kyung Kim of Chandler, Ariz., and Kaira Martin of Paradise Valley, Ariz.

These are only a few of the talented juniors looking to wrap up the 2010 season with a victory at Karsten Creek. With end-of-the-season honors on the line, this year’s showdown should provide plenty of excitement to put the finishing touches on another great year.