The 22nd Annual Taylor Made Junior Classic is next week’s major event for Northern Golf Club. The Club Championships are over for another year and it’s straight into our second major for our Juniors; and just when they are all in their best form of the year.
Northern has offered its course to the state’s best juniors twice a year since 1997 for the Northern Junior Open in April and the Taylor Made Junior Classic in December and we have had some significant winners along the way and a number of our own players have been successful too. The tournaments are an opportunity to showcase our course and give our Juniors a chance to challenge the best on their home ground. Next Tuesday we’ll do it all over again.
The Taylor Made Junior Classic began in 1997 as the PGA Mastercard, then the Ben Hogan, Taylor Made, Cobra Puma and back to Taylor Made for 2018. It all depends on our club pro’s choice of supplier for major prizes; sponsorship.
Started as stroke event the Junior Classic has been a nett event since 1999 to give the handicap players a chance to win the major prizes against the best. There is also a stroke prize to challenge the low markers. Our tournament has attracted fields of 120 players in earlier years and has always been recognized as one of the leading junior events in the state.
Our winners have been Nathan Lane (1997-8), Tara Lagan (1997), Kate Lagan (1999, Matthew Burns (2004), Jordan Yogarajah (2008), David Vadori (2009), Eugene Pring (2012) and Cameron Bell (2017). A number of our Colts pennant players have won their age groups in this event including Alex Austin, Ben Weatherly, Nathan Page and Rata Lata.
This year’s event will feature our first international player, Elias Willemark from Sweden. I don’t think he has travelled all this way just to play in our event but we’ll make him most welcome anyway. In recent years we have also been well supported by a contingent from Ballarat golf clubs and they’ll be here again with Andrew Cartledge, PGA Junior Coach of the Year 2017.
The nett event does special things for some young players and gives them confidence for their futures in golf. The 2016 winner 11 year old Rupert Toomey (36) from Huntingdale won with a nett 64. Cheeri Tan (29) from Yarra Yarra had a 57 nett. Jake Barnes, a current Northern member, playing off an 11 handicap had a 62 nett in 2010. Blake Collyer from Metropolitan, a state junior representative, holds the stroke record with a 68 in 2012 and Tristan Britt shot 69 in 2015. We challenge the long hitters too and Lance Go hit one 308 metres in 2013 and the best girl has been Bianca Ling, 239 metres in 2012. Rata hit it 275 metres in 2017.
We look forward to another successful tournament on Tuesday 11th December. You’re welcome to come along and watch the youngsters play, and we have some good viewing positions outside the clubhouse and the pro shop.
Northern Juniors, it’s not too late to enter.