New Hartford, N.Y. - The USGA Junior Amateur Qualifier brought some of the best young golfers in the world to the Yahnundasis Golf Club in New Hartford, Friday, with a trip to the Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey in late July on the line.
The tournament was split into a boys and girls division, with three golfers and two alternates for each qualifying to advance to the Junior Amateur Championship.
Golfers from as near as New Hartford and Whitesboro, and as far as China and New Zealand competed in the event.
"When we set this up it was a really good opportunity to bring some of the best kids in the world here to play at the Yahnundasis," said Yanundasis Director of Golf Operations, Todd Riolo. "All of the people from Canada and all over the world, New Zealand have loved coming here and it's just great to have the kids here."
The hometown golfers enjoyed their time on a course they were very familiar with, and were thrilled with the chance to play in this high-stakes event in their hometown.
"It's pretty exciting, I mean it's great for New Hartford," said Michael Mandel of New Hartford. "You can see there's a bunch of people here. It's great for this Country Club, they do a lot for the community so I'm glad for them."
This was also a great way for golfers to network, make friends and learn about the style of golf played all across the world.
"You get to see all the different cultures, and get to see how golf is in their type of country and how they bring it all together with all of us," said Lindsay May of Auburn, N.Y.. who qualified in the girls division. "I learn a lot from their games and we learn a lot, and it's just fun being able to play with people like that."
"I think that's one of the main reasons why I love this game so much, it really drove my interest making these friends," said Kaitlyn Lee of Scarsdale, N.Y., who also qualified in the girls division. The team environment, rooting for each other and everything, that just makes the game really unique."
While those two golfers will move on to the main event coming up later in July, they won't forget the time they had here in New Hartford, at the Yahnundasis Golf Club.
Everyone was great, the pro is great, I came up for two practice rounds, he was really welcoming," said May. "Some of the members came out and watched and they were so nice, so I was just happy to be here."