News from Around the Green

The latest golf-related news, notes, and feature stories from the TGA.

Winter Classic Returns to Dallas Athletic Club

DALLAS – For the seventh straight year, the Winter Classic will be the first event of the Legends Junior Tour season. During that time, the field has proved to be one of the top-ranked LJT events on its schedule.
Dallas Athletic Club’s Blue Course will play host for the 11th consecutive year. It was originally designed by Ralph Plummer before Jack Nicklaus, who won the 1963 PGA Championship held at DAC, remodeled the course in 1984. The esteemed 18-hole championship venue hosted last year’s 110th Texas Amateur and the 2012 Texas Mid-Amateur. The par-72 layout stretches to 6,922 yards.

The 84-player field is divided into three different divisions: Boys 15-18, Boys 14 & Under and Girls 12-18. Players eligible for the tournament have an active membership with the Texas Junior Golf Alliance and have earned their way into the field by way of the LJT Priority Entry Status.

This year’s Winter Classic boasts another strong cast of competitors across all three divisions. Ben Delarosa and Andrew Petruzzelli of Dallas highlight the Boys 15-18 Division. Both players played last season in the Boys 14 & Under Division and finished within the top-7 of the Player of the Year Standings. Delarosa won the 2019 Boys 14 & Under Texas Junior Amateur, while Petruzzelli claimed two Boys 14 & Under Division titles. The 2023 high school graduates will tee it up against a host of great players, including Jacob King of Boerne, Jackson Davenport of Austin and Jacob Salazar of League City.

The Girls 12-18 Division features 2021 University of Oklahoma commit Meagan Winans of Richardson, 2019 George Hannon Junior Invitational Champion Kaylee Vesley of Austin, 2019 North Texas Classic Champion Tillie Claggett of The Woodlands and the 2019 Player of the Year runner-up Estelle Seon of Trophy Club.

Trenton Mierl of Austin, who won last year’s George Hannon Junior Invitational and Bluebonnet Championship, highlights the Boys 14 & Under Division. The 2024 high school graduate registered seven top-10s last season and never finished worse than solo sixth.

“The Winter Classic usually has a strong field as players are looking to get back into competition following a brief break over the holidays,” LJT Tournament Director Kevin Porter said. “This year’s field is no different and will be a great way to start the 2020 season.”

Due to inclement weather, last year’s Winter Classic’s first round was canceled and the championship was cut to an 18-hole event. Heath’s Matthew Watkins won the Boys 15-18 Division after a round of 4-under 68. Maddi Olson of Abilene carded an even-par 72 to win the Girls 12-18 Division, while Tyler Lee of Dallas clinched the Boys 14 & Under Division.

Other past champions include Brad Dalke, Cole Hammer, Brandon Smith, Annika Clark, Hailey Jones, Grace Choi and Sadie Englemann.

The Winter Classic is the first of 10 open LJT events. The open events are available to any member of the Texas Junior Golf Alliance, which is made up of the TGA, NTPGA, STPGA and HGA. Players earn entry into the open events through their play on the LJT and in Texas Junior Golf Alliance events.

Tee times begin Saturday, Jan. 18, at 8 a.m. The final round takes place on Sunday, Jan. 19. For more information on the Winter Classic or the LJT, click here.