Dalhousie will host national junior tourney

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The American Junior Golf Association will stop in Cape Girardeau in 2007.

Cape Girardeau will play host to a tournament on the nation's top junior series, officials with the city and with Dalhousie Golf Club confirmed on Monday.

The American Junior Golf Association, which runs a series of tournaments around the country for more than 5,200 members, will bring an event to Dalhousie in June of 2007.

Sponsorship details are yet to be worked out, but Cape Girardeau Mayor Jay Knudtson, Dalhousie managing partner Cord Dombrowski and officials from the AJGA series met Wednesday at Dalhousie Downtown to discuss that and other issues related to the event.

The AJGA is a nonprofit organization with members in all 50 states as well as 30 foreign countries. Founded in 1978, the association's goal is to assist golfers ages 12 to 18 with their efforts to earn scholarships for college golf.

The AJGA has produced more than 160 golfers who went on to the PGA and LPGA tours, according to the association's Web site.

"We're honored that such a prestigious organization as the AJGA has agreed to bring one of their premier tournaments to Cape Girardeau," Knudtson said. "We're grateful to Cord and his team at Dalhousie for having such a world-class facility capable of attracting this level of event."

Dalhousie opened in 2002 and ranked No. 2 among golf courses in Missouri in the most recent Golf Digest rankings.

No course in the state has hosted an AJGA event previously.

Dalhousie later this week will host the first of three Missouri Golf Association championships for which it has been selected, with another next year and the state men's amateur championship in 2012. The course earlier this year hosted an NAIA regional tournament and plans to bid for that college association's national championship tournament.

The AJGA is the highest profile event to date for the course.

The tournament will attract approximately 120 golfers from at least 16 states as well as some foreign countries. It likely will take place in mid-June and include a qualifying tournament on a Sunday, a junior-amateur tournament on Monday and 54 holes of competition Tuesday through Thursday. Local exemptions are a possibility, officials said, with qualifying tournaments to decide positions.

The AJGA conducts about three tournaments per weekend around the country with some well-known sponsors attached. Players are selected via application process as well as playing their way into the field.

C.A. Roberts, an AJGA board member who serves as senior vice president of O.B. Sports, Dalhousie's management company, said the association's events are on par with any tour other than the PGA.

"It brings as much pizzazz as any other tournament could," Roberts said. "It's a first-class golf event at the highest level, the pinnacle of junior golf. AJGA does a real good job putting on real fun events."

Roberts said the junior-am allows golfers to get to play alongside the top juniors and raises funds for junior golf in the local communities.

"It's a good way for people to get involved," Roberts said. "They come thinking they're going to be impressed by someone, and they're impressed by how many kids can play that well."

Roberts, before joining O.B. Sports, began his work in golf in the late 1980s on the AJGA staff with sponsorships and development.

"I was the guy who got to hand the trophy to Tiger Woods on probably 50 occasions," Roberts said.

Roberts said AJGA officials who came to Cape Girardeau "liked everything they saw" of the course and the city's commitment.

Knudtson and Dombrowski will serve as co-chairs for the event and will decide on how to use the proceeds from the event to benefit local golf.

The AJGA seeks a three-year commitment from courses and communities, Dalhousie officials said, meaning the series could return to Cape Girardeau in 2008 and 2009 and possibly beyond.

"We know that with the support of the mayor and the local community," Dombrowski said, "we will be able to send these talented golfers away from here with a once in a lifetime impression of our course, our town, and this beautiful region of the country."

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: