AVON — A 10-member team of junior golfers, including five Hendricks County youths, has qualified for the Junior PGA All-Stars National Tournament after winning the Chicago Regional qualifier last weekend at Cog Hill Country Club.
The Junior PGA All-Stars program is golf’s answer to the Little League World Series in baseball. It’s a new program started just three years ago, with this being the first year for Prestwick Country Club to participate as a sponsor course.
Local course junior teams competed against each other before being grouped together in districts to form squads for all-star competitions that lead up to the six final teams qualifying for the national tournament.
Competing as Team Indy in regional play, the newly dubbed Team Indiana was the lone unbeaten squad in Chicago, earning a trip to Atlanta as one of six finalists that will play at TPC Sugarleaf Country Club Sept. 6-8.
Team Indiana, with players ranging from ages 10 to 13, has a heavy Hendricks County influence as five of the 10 players and both coaches also represent Prestwick Country Club in Avon.
Avon players Mark and Luke Poole, Sydney Stiener, and Tyler Nickol, along with Plainfield’s Kasey Lilly made the district all-team comprised of junior players from programs sponsored by Prestwick, Winding River Golf Course of Indianapolis, Riverside Golf Course of Indianapolis, and The Legends Country Club of Franklin.
Prestwick Golf Shop Assistant Jared Alexander is the team’s head coach, with Prestwick owner and PGA pro Ben Weaver assisting him.
The other team members are Jonah Manning and Corey Miller from Winding River, Akio Fujita and Brad Kruszynski from Riverside, and Peyton Short from The Legends.
Alexander said he has enjoyed teaching and leading the local team in its trek to the top.
“We have a great group of kids, and that makes it fun to go out and do this,” he said. “Even though they’re from different courses, they’ve grown into a really strong team and are embracing one another.”