Top Juniors at Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship

by | Feb 28, 2024 | News

One of the strongest fields in junior golf will compete in the Ninth Annual Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship, presented by LA Golf,  March 1-3 at TPC Myrtle Beach.

A 54-hole, college-style event, 90 players (54 boys, 36 girls) secured invitations to the DJ World Junior, including Tyler Watts (Huntsville, Ala.), the world’s top-ranked junior boy. Watts enters the event after 2023 wins at the Jones Cup Junior Invitational, the Keith Mitchell Junior Championship, the Southern Junior Championship, and the Alabama State Amateur.

In total, 68 of the 90 players are ranked among America’s top 100 juniors by either Golfweek or Junior Golf Scoreboard, highlighting the depth and quality of the field. On the boys’ side, 42 of the 54 players are ranked among America’s top 100 juniors, while 26 of the 36 girls are top 100 players.

With Blades Brown (Nashville, Tenn.), the No. 1 ranked junior in America, according to Junior Golf Scoreboard, in the field, Watts isn’t the consensus favorite entering the tournament. Brown, like Watts, is a sophomore in high school coming off a spectacular 2023 that included wins at the AJGA Junior at Canebrake, the Junior Championship, the Wyndham Invitational, the Tennessee Junior Amateur, and the Elite Invitational.

The girls’ field is highlighted by the return of the top three finishers from 2023, led by reigning champion Ryleigh Knaub (DeBary, Fla.). Knaub earned a two-stroke victory last year, and Alice Ziyi Zhao (Irvine, Calif.), a freshman who was the runner-up, and Chloe Kovelesky (Boca Raton), a junior who finished tied for third, are back in search of the crown.

This year’s tournament will again feature a co-ed team event designed to mirror the competition players will enjoy at the collegiate level.

Three past champions at the DJ World Junior have already won at the game’s highest levels. In the past 12 months, Akshay Bhatia and Nick Dunlap each have won on the PGA Tour, while Alexa Pano won on the LPGA Tour.

“The Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship is one of the best junior events in America, and this is our strongest field to date,” tournament director Scott Tomasello said. “TPC Myrtle Beach is an ideal host course, and the tournament gives spectators the opportunity to see golf’s next generation of stars up close.””

Admission to the Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship is free.

With Johnson’s support, the tournament provides players with one of the premier experiences in junior golf and the opportunity to test themselves against outstanding competition.

A significant part of the event’s appeal is TPC Myrtle Beach, one of the Grand Strand’s most decorated layouts. TPC Myrtle Beach has hosted the Senior PGA Tour Championship and has been ranked among “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” by Golf Digest.

The Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship is sponsored by LA Golf, Founders Group International, the Dustin Johnson Golf School, and Golf Tourism Solutions.

Johnson’s involvement with the tournament reflects his long-time commitment to junior golf, particularly in South Carolina, where he became one of the world’s best players. Through the Dustin Johnson Foundation, headquartered in Myrtle Beach, Johnson has donated more than $500,000 to junior golf, sponsoring numerous events throughout the state and helping cover entry costs for kids who need financial assistance.

Feature Photo: Ryleigh Knaub (Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship)