This weekend, 90 of the top junior golfers from all over the United States will tee off at the Sea Pines Resort for the annual Sea Pines Junior Heritage, the unofficial kickoff to the South Carolina junior golf season.
Since 1990, the Junior Heritage has been one of the most prestigious junior golf tournaments in the Southeast. The tournament boasts past champions with PGA and LPGA pedigree such as Charles Howell, Kyle Stanley, Paula Creamer, and Lexi Thompson, among others.
In 2020, Vanderbilt University commit Jackson Van Paris finished two-under and won the boy’s title by one stroke over Luke Sample, while the girls’ crown went to Natasha Kiel.
This year’s talent looks to follow in those elite footsteps of the past. Both the boys and girls fields are stacked with future NCAA Division I talent, familiar last names, and future stars.
On the girls side, all eyes will once again be on Kiel as she looks to repeat last year’s one stroke victory in which she edged out Bluffton and Hilton Head Prep’s own Sophia Burnett. Burnett’s sister, Camila is in the field after a great 2020 season highlighted by a stellar win at the prestigious SCJGA Jimmy Self Invitational at the Arthur Hills Course in Palmetto Dunes. Rounding out the highlight’s of this year’s impressive field are Adrian Anderson, the 2020 SCJGA Beth Daniel Player of the Year, and Hilton Head Island’s Savannah Hylton, who finished third a year ago.
Not to be outdone, the boys’ field is equally as deep and formidable. Three of the 45 golfers in the field are ranked in Golfweek’s top 50 national junior golfers.
Caleb Surratt comes into the 2021 tournament ranked no. 9 nationally, along with a load of confidence after his strong third place finish in the 2020 Sea Pines Junior Heritage. Hilton Head Island native and West Virginia University commit Max Green and Beaufort’s Jerry Bruns look to build off their top three finishes in last year’s tournament, while the always dangerous Hilton Head Island golfer Jonathan Griz, the reigning S.C. Amateur champion, is also in the field and tees off at 10:36,
Other notables in the field include future University of Arkansas golfer John Daly II, son of the boisterous two-time major winner by the same name.
Allan Kournikova, star of the Justin Timberlake produced Netflix documentary, “The Short Game,” and brother of famed tennis star Anna Kournikova is in the field looking for his first major victory of 2021.
The first round tees off at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Davis Love III’s Atlantic Dunes course on Saturday, with Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus’s Harbour Town Golf Links hosting the final round on Sunday.
Written by Brian Rietveld / Submitted photos