Christmas 21—For the fourth consecutive year, Marysville’s Peach Tree Golf & Country Club hosted the best-of-the-best junior golfers in the country for three days in a 54-hole stroke play event that is part of the American Junior Golf Association annual tour.
The tournament is named after PGA golfer and AJGA and Stanford alumnus Brandon Wu, according to Tournament Director Ben Crow.
Crow said the tournament is international with golfers as far away as Hong Kong, Canada, China and Taiwan. It’s one of 132 tournaments nationwide through the AJGA for golfers 12 to 19-years-old.
Peach Tree Golf & Country Club has hosted the tournament for four years now, and Crow hopes to continue the relationship annually in the summer.
“It’s very nice course (with) a welcoming staff. It’s always nice to have people who back you and help run the event,” Crow said. “The course is really neat, it’s tighter (with) smaller greens (to) allow for a little bit of a challenge.”
Crow said the putting greens are smaller and slope back to front to create a challenge for players to stay below.
Some of the top finishers loved the course and the area, including University of Oklahoma commit Clark Van Gaalen who shot an astounding 23 under par 193 over three days to take the boys title.
“I love this place, it was awesome. It sets me up,” said the Turlock product and prep incoming senior.
Van Gaalen is one of the best in the United States in terms of junior golfers. Unofficially he was ranked 53rd at one point by Golfweek and has twice won the US Kids Teen World Championship, and is a two-time Player of the Year by the Junior Golf Association of Northern California.
Van Gaalen said his skill-set is a byproduct of never backing down on the course.
“I never look at the leaderboard while I am playing,” he said. “From past experiences as long as I don’t look at it I can continue to keep going and play to win, not to lose.”
One of the younger golfers in the field of 78 took home the girls top prize on Thursday during the final day of competition. Jude Lee, who traveled up from Walnut in Southern California, shot 5-under 211 over three days to win.
Despite just being a sophomore in high school, Lee travels the country for golf and has agreements with Callaway, Adidas and Southern California Golf Association to help cover equipment and travel costs.
Lee is a fan of Marysville and would love to return to his course one day.
“It’s peaceful here, you can hear the chickens and roosters,” Lee said. “Here (might) be considered the middle of nowhere, but I like that. It’s a good setting for golf.”