BRASELTON, Ga. – The American Junior Golf Association announced its Rolex Junior All-America Teams, headlined by Rolex Junior Players of the Year Noah Goodwin of Corinth, Texas, and Rachel Heck of Memphis, Tennessee.
Introduced by the AJGA in 1978, the Rolex Junior All-America Teams annually recognize players who have proven to be the world’s premier junior golfers. This year’s Rolex Junior All-America Teams are comprised of 96 junior golfers ages 13-19, from 20 states and 13 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand. These young men and women distinguished themselves through their outstanding play in 132 national junior golf events, 120 of which were conducted by the AJGA. The teams were determined exclusively through the Rolex AJGA Rankings as of October 12.
The Rolex Junior Player of the Year award recognizes one boy and one girl who had the most outstanding year in junior golf events at the national level. Past recipients have gone on to become some of the most esteemed players on the PGA and LPGA Tours, including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Alison Lee, Hunter Mahan, Brian Harman, Inbee Park, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.
Goodwin, Heck and their fellow Rolex Junior All-Americans will be honored Sunday, November 19 during the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The awards ceremony, dubbed “The Greatest Night in Junior Golf,” will also celebrate the achievements of the Transamerica Scholastic Junior All-Americans and Jerry Cole Sportsmanship Award recipient as a focal point of the Rolex Tournament of Champions week.
Noah Goodwin – Rolex Junior Player of the Year
Alongside Tracy Phillips, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Brian Harman, Goodwin is only the fifth male in AJGA history to earn the title of Rolex Junior Player of the Year in consecutive years. Goodwin is No. 1 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings and Golfweek Boys Junior Rankings, No. 2 in Junior Golf Scoreboard Rankings and No. 13 in World Amateur Golf Rankings. The senior at Laurel Springs School followed up his quarterfinals appearance at the Polo Golf Junior Classic last November with a win at the 2017 CB&I / Simplify Boys Championship at Carlton Woods in February, his second AJGA Invitational win.
The highlight of the 17-year-old’s season came at the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship in July. One year after falling to Min Woo Lee in the finals, Goodwin became the second player in history to win the championship a year after losing in the final. Down four holes with eight to play, the Southern Methodist University verbal commit came back to defeat fellow AJGA junior and Wyndham Cup West teammate Matthew Wolff in the 36-hole match. Goodwin also competed on the victorious U.S. team at inaugural Junior Presidents Cup and posted a record of 1-1-1.
“It is an honor to be named the 2017 Rolex Junior Player of the Year,” Goodwin said. “To win this award for two consecutive years is such a blessing. The AJGA is the premier junior golf association at the national level and has provided me the opportunity to play against elite golfers from across the country, which helped me become a better golfer. I am grateful to my family, friends, Coach Cameron McCormick, Rolex and the AJGA for making this award possible.”
Noah Goodwin – Season Summary
Rachel Heck – Rolex Junior Player of the Year
Heck is ranked No. 1 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings, No. 2 in the Junior Golf Scoreboard Rankings, No. 3 in the Golfweek Girls Junior Rankings and No. 32 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. The sophomore at St. Agnes Academy won her first AJGA Invitational in 2017, the Rolex Girls Junior Championship.
Verbally committed to Stanford University, Heck has not finished outside the top-10 in a national junior golf event since June 2016. During this time, she won the Bubba Conlee National Junior, was a semifinalist at the Polo Golf Junior Classic, finished T2 at the ANA Junior Inspiration and runner-up at the Thunderbird International Junior. Heck is a three-time Rolex Junior All-American and member of the 2015 ACDS Junior All-Star Team. Heck was the youngest competitor to make the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open in Bedminster, New Jersey, in July and was named the USA Today High School Girls Golfer of the Year in June. She went 2-0-2 as a member of the victorious 2017 Wyndham Cup East Team and 3-0-0 as a member of the victorious PING Junior Solheim Cup U.S. Team.
“Being named the Rolex Junior Player of the Year is a dream come true,” Heck said. “I am humbled to be added to the list of names of all the amazing golfers who have won this award, and I am incredibly grateful to the AJGA, Rolex and to everyone who has helped make this possible."
Rachel Heck – Season Summary
Rolex Junior All-America Teams
The 12 boys on the 2017 Rolex Junior All-America First Team hail from eight states, China and Australia. All but two of the boys, Kaiwen Liu of San Diego, and Shuai Ming Wong of The Woodlands, Texas, competed at the inaugural 2017 Junior Presidents Cup. Goodwin is the only returning member to the First Team, while Prescott Butler of Old Westbury, New York; Joe Highsmith of Lakewood, Washington; William Mouw of Chino, California; and Wong are first-time Rolex Junior All-America honorees. Kaiwen Liu is the lone 2017 grad on the team, earning honors for the fourth time and now competing for the University of California, Berkeley.
The 12 girls on the 2017 Rolex Junior All-America First Team are from six states, Thailand and South Korea. Among the girls, Alyaa Abdulghany, Gina Kim, Emilia Migliaccio, Yujeong Son and 2016 Rolex Junior Player of the Year Paphangkorn Tavatanakit return to the First Team, while two-time AJGA Invitational champion Lucy Li is making her Rolex Junior All-America debut. Abdulghany, Migliaccio and Tavatanakit are the 2017 grads on the team, competing now at the University of Southern California, Wake Forest University and UCLA, respectively.
Of the 96 Rolex Junior All-Americans, 23 are California natives and 19 are Floridians. Alexa Pano is the youngest recipient at age 13, while this year marks the first time in the 40-year history of the award to have a recipient from Kazakhstan, Daulet Tuleubayev. Twenty-eight boys and 21 girls are being honored as Rolex Junior All-Americans for the first time in their AJGA careers.
2017 Rolex Junior All-Americans
Boys – First Team
Garrett Barber, Stuart, Fla.
Akshay Bhatia, Wake Forest, N.C.
Prescott Butler, Old Westbury, N.Y.
Canon Claycomb, Bowling Green, Ky.
Noah Goodwin, Corinth, Texas
Joe Highsmith, Lakewood, Wash.
Kaiwen Liu, San Diego, Calif.
William Mouw, Chino, Calif.
Trent Phillips, Inman, S.C.
Karl Vilips, Wesley Chapel, Fla.
Shuai Ming Wong, The Woodlands, Texas
Wocheng (Aden) Ye, Lake Mary, Fla.
Boys – Second Team
Jake Beber-Frankel, Miami, Fla.
Jacob Bridgeman, Inman, S.C.
Ryan Burnett, Lafayette, Calif.
Reid Davenport, Austin, Texas
Ryan Grider, Lewisville, Texas
Eugene Hong, Orlando, Fla.
Won Jun Lee, Wesley Chapel, Fla.
Sean Maruyama, Encino, Calif.
Logan McAllister, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Cole Ponich, Farmington, Utah
Michael Sanders, Davidson, N.C.
Travis Vick, Houston, Texas
Boys – Honorable Mention
Fred Biondi, Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Ricky Castillo, Yorba Linda, Calif.
Sam Choi, Anaheim, Calif.
Parker Coody, Plano, Texas
Kyle Cox, Carrollton, Texas
Ryan Gerard, Raleigh, N.C.
Noah Gillard, Greenwood, Ind.
Aman Gupta, Concord, N.C.
Ryan Hall, Knoxville, Tenn.
Cole Hammer, Houston, Texas
Derek Hitchner, Minneapolis, Minn.
Turner Hosch, Dallas, Texas
McClure Meissner, San Antonio, Texas
William Moll, Houston, Texas
Charles Osborne, Reno, Nev.
John Pak, Scotch Plains, N.J.
Julian Perico, Howey-In-The-Hills, Fla.
Jackson Rivera, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
Cameron Sisk, El Cajon, Calif.
Bryan Wiyang Teoh, Jupiter, Fla.
Daulet Tuleubayev, Almaty, Kazakhstan
Jackson Van Paris, Pinehurst, N.C.
Alexander Vogelsong, Palm City, Fla.
Sampson-Yunhe Zheng, Orlando, Fla.
Girls – First Team
Alyaa Abdulghany, Newport Beach, Calif.
Jennifer Chang, Cary, N.C.
Youngin Chun, Gainesville, Fla.
Rachel Heck, Memphis, Tenn.
Gina Kim, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Lucy Li, Redwood Shores, Calif.
Emilia Migliaccio, Cary, N.C.
Brooke Seay, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
Erica Shepherd, Greenwood, Ind.
Yujeong Son, Norman, Okla.
Paphangkorn Tavatanakit, Van Nuys, Calif.
Rose Zhang, Irvine, Calif.
Girls – Second Team
Amari Avery, Riverside, Calif.
Caroline Curtis, Richmond, Va.
Sadie Englemann, Austin, Texas
Aubree Jones, Covington, Tenn.
Hailey Jones, Dallas, Texas
Michaela Morard, Huntsville, Ala.
Yealimi Noh, Concord, Calif.
Kaitlyn Papp, Austin, Texas
Calista Reyes, San Diego, Calif.
Rino Sasaki, Bradenton, Fla.
Nicole Whiston, San Diego, Calif.
Lei (Angelina) Ye, Bradenton, Fla.
Girls – Honorable Mention
Hailey Borja, Lake Forest, Calif.
Phoebe Brinker, Wilmington, Del.
Zoe Antoinette Campos, Valencia, Calif.
Hailee Cooper, Montgomery, Texas
Macy Fox, Austin, Texas
Virginia Green, Fairhope, Ala.
Sophie Guo, Orlando, Fla.
Jiarui (Joyce) Jin, Encinitas, Calif.
Gurleen Kaur, Houston, Texas
Jenny Kim, Heathrow, Fla.
Xin (Cindy) Kou, Windermere, Fla.
Rachel Kuehn, Asheville, N.C.
Alyssa Lamoureux, Seminole, Fla.
Cory Lopez, Monterrey, Mexico
Ashley Menne, Surprise, Ariz.
Elizabeth Moon, Forrest City, Ark.
Brianna Navarrosa, San Diego, Calif.
Alexa Pano, Lake Worth, Fla.
Calynne Rosholt, Cedar Park, Texas
Karah Sanford, Escondido, Calif.
Kelly Sim, Edgewater, N.J.
Kailie Vongsaga, Diamond Bar, Calif.
Susan Xiao, Surrey, British Columbia
Zixuan (Jennifer) Zhou, Longwood, Fla.
Rolex, the leading brand of the Swiss watch industry, is headquartered in Geneva and enjoys an unrivalled reputation for quality and expertise the world over. Its Oyster watches, all certified as Superlative Chronometers for their precision, performance and reliability, are symbols of excellence, elegance and prestige. Founded by Hans Wilsdorf in 1905, the brand pioneered the development of the wristwatch and is at the origin of numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism invented in 1931. Rolex has registered over 400 patents in the course of its history. A truly integrated and independent manufacturing company, Rolex designs, develops and produces all the essential components of its watches in-house, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Rolex is also actively involved in supporting the arts, sports, exploration, the spirit of enterprise, and the environment through a broad palette of sponsoring activities as well as philanthropic programmes.
About the American Junior Golf Association
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls, ages 12-19) of more than 6,600 members from 50 states and 55 foreign countries. Through initiatives like the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant, a financial assistance program, and Leadership Links, a service-oriented platform that teaches juniors charitable-giving skills, the AJGA fosters the growth of golf’s next generation.
TaylorMade-adidas Golf became the AJGA’s National Sponsor in 2016 after more than 25 years of support. Rolex, which is in its fourth decade of AJGA sponsorship, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2017, adidas joined the AJGA as a Premier Partner, serving as the Official Apparel and Footwear of the AJGA.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 830 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Sergio Garcia, Hunter Mahan, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Justin Thomas, Stacy Lewis, Ariya Jutanugarn, Alison Lee, Lexi Thompson, Inbee Park, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Cristie Kerr and Morgan Pressel.