Junior Golfers Compete In Optimist Championships

This weekend, 600 of golf’s top young players will compete in the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens.

The tournament will bring together some of the world’s most talented young competitors, many of whom have the potential to become leading collegiate and professional golfers in the future.

The following junior golfers in the Boys 16-18 and Girls 15-18 divisions from Palm Beach Gardens are competing in the second phase of the championships on July 26-29: Wellington resident Mary Janiga and Palm Beach Gardens residents Annie Dulman, Luke Graboyes, Gage Marino and Zachary Smith.

Junior golfers ages 10 to 18 are traveling from throughout the world to play in the annual tournament, which started July 21 and continues until July 29. Boys in the 10-11, 12-13 and 14-15 divisions and girls in the 10-12 and 13-14 divisions played July 21-23. The boys 16-18 and girls 15-18 divisions will have their turn July 26-29.

The Optimist prides itself as an international event, with players representing 42 states, six Canadian provinces and 31 total nations. Former champions and top finishers of the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships include PGA Tour members Jonathan Byrd, Jason Day, Bill Haas and Jeff Overton in addition to LPGA members Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome and Lexi Thompson.

A number of other well-known professional golfers have participated in Optimist-sponsored championships, including Ernie Els, Nancy Lopez, Davis Love III, Michelle McGann, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.

The Optimist will return to PGA National for the 17th consecutive year. Three of PGA National’s championship layouts will be used for the event — the Champion, Palmer and Squire courses. PGA National is home to the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic and has been host to the PGA Seniors Championship, the 1987 PGA Championship and the 1983 Ryder Cup.

Optimist International is one of the world’s largest service club organizations with nearly 100,000 adult and youth members in 3,000 clubs worldwide. Carrying the motto “Bringing Out the Best in Kids,” Optimists conduct positive service projects that reach more than 6 million young people each year. The Optimist Junior Golf program is one of the organization’s most prominent projects.

Scores, photos, news stories and tee times will be updated daily throughout the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships. Results are available under the tournament’s information at www.optimist.org/golf. News items will also be included on the Optimist Junior Golf Facebook page at www.facebook.com/optimist.golf and Twitterfeed @OptimistGolf.