MAPGA Junior Golfers Will Compete In The National Championship in July
STAFFORD, Va. – Four local junior golfers have earned national qualifying spots at the 2021 MAPGA Jr. PGA Championship. Rylan Shim (Centreville, Virginia), Bennett Espenshade (Baltimore, Maryland), Sophie Simon (Potomac, Maryland), and AnPhi Le (Frederick, Maryland) will represent the Middle Atlantic Section at the Boys and Girls Jr. PGA Championships in July.
This year’s Section championship was held June 29-30 at Laurel Hill Golf Club in Lorton, Virginia. The championship featured a four-person playoff to determine the two boys’ qualifying spots. Shim, Espenshade, Jake Roth, and Aryan Vuradi all finished 36 holes at 3-under-par and advanced to the playoff. Shim and Espenshade clinched qualifying spots with pars on the first playoff hole, while Roth clinched the first alternate spot with a bogey.
Shim claimed a boys’ qualifying spot after shooting 72-67-139 (-3) to tie for the low score among all boys. His 4-under-par final round was highlighted by a clutch birdie on 18 to make the playoff and zero bogeys in his final 16 holes. He will graduate high school in 2023.
Espenshade claimed the other boys’ qualifying spot through scores of 71-68-139 (-3). After starting 3-over in his final round, Espenshade made six birdies from holes five through 14 and finished with four straight pars to secure a spot in the playoff. He will graduate high school in 2024.
Simon shot 68-71-139 (-3), leading all girls to clinch a qualifying spot. Simon’s 3-under opening round included five birdies from holes seven through 16. She made 18 consecutive pars to finish at even par during the final round, and was the only girl under par for the tournament. She graduated high school this past spring and will play collegiately at Yale University.
Le had a come-from-behind qualifying bid, as she was tied for eighth after the first round, three shots out of the qualifying cutoff. She was the only girl to finish under par for the final round, shooting a 1-under-par 70. She will graduate high school in 2022.
All four qualifiers outlasted a total field of 103 total golfers, 70 boys and 33 girls. This represents the largest tournament by field size within the MAPGA Junior Tour schedule. Many players in the field qualified through six local qualifiers held between June 12-24, with others receiving exemptions to compete in the Section championship.
The Boys Junior PGA Championship will be held July 12-15 at Kearney Hills Golf Links in Lexington, Kentucky, while the Girls Junior PGA Championship will take place July 27-30 at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville. More information, tee times, and a live leaderboard can be found on the Jr. PGA Championship website.
For photos from the 2021 MAPGA Junior PGA Championship, please visit our social media.