Four New Jersey junior golfers booked their spot in the 43rd Junior PGA Championship next month.
This week, Rossmoor Golf Club hosted the Junior Section Championship, a 36-hole event that also serves as a qualifier for the Junior PGA Championship.
Boys Results: Overall
Girls Results: Overall
Brendan Hansen survived a three-way playoff with a birdie on the first hole to win the overall event, while Brandon Valvano made par on the fourth playoff hole to outlast Kevin Smith and grab the final qualifying spot.
“It feels good now,” Valvano said, who will be competing in his first national event. “Hopefully when I get there I’ll stay mentally stable.”
Ami Gianchandani repeated as the girls overall champion with a one-stroke victory over Megha Ganne in the girls division. Gianchandani, a quarterfinalist in the 2017 U.S. Girls Junior last year, is excited to make her return to the national event.
Ami Gianchandani won the Junior Section Championship for the second straight year.
“Being able to go back and see if I can make the cut again or play even better is a great opportunity,” Gianchandani said. “Being able to play here and win [this week], especially for the second time in a row, is really special to me.”
Ganne and Gianchandani will compete in the Junior PGA Championship at Kearny Hills Golf Links in Lexington, Kentucky, July 9 - July 12, while Hansen and Valvano will play at
Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, July 31 - August 3. Both fields will be comprised of 144 players each.
Gianchandani, who will be attending Yale University this year, finished in a tie for 34th in the Junior PGA Championship last season.
At 14 years old, Ganne has already had plenty of experience on the national stage. Ganne competed in the U.S. Women’s Amateur, U.S. Girls Junior and Drive, Chip and Putt National Championship at Augusta National last year.
PGA Professional Ted Servis was recognized for hosting the Junior Section Championship this year.
“It was a really big field,” Ganne said. “I’m happy that I came in second. Ami played really well and I played really well both days.”
Hansen, who will be attending Rutgers University in the fall, played in the 2016 U.S. Junior Amateur, his only national event. Hansen also finished in third at the NJSGA Open last year.
“Playing in this is going to be a lot of fun,” Hansen said. “Hopefully I will gain some momentum going into the summer.”
Megha Ganne will play in her first Junior PGA Championship.