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My Awesome Experience at the Nike Junior Invitational

Adam Xiao, Contributor

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This past Columbus day weekend, I flew out to Portland, Oregon to compete in the AJGA Nike Junior Invitational. The AJGA Nike Junior Invitational is a very exclusive national junior golf tournament. Each year, the AJGA (American Junior Golf Association) chooses the top 48 ranked players from ages 12-15 to compete in the Nike Junior Invitational. This year, I had the honor of being invited. The AJGA Nike Junior Invitational was held at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club-Ghost Creek course. Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club has hosted 6 USGA events including the 1996 US Amateur Championship, 1997 and 2003 US Women’s Open Championships, 2000 US Junior and Girl’s Junior Championships, and the 2006 US Women’s Amateur Championship. The 1996 US Amateur Championship is probably the most notable of the 6 USGA Championships because it was Tiger Woods’s third straight US Amateur title. Pumpkin Ridge has also hosted 2 PGA Tour events: the 1993-94 Nike Tour Championships. Pumpkin Ridge has hosted the Safeway Classic on the LPGA circuit from 2009-12. Pumpkin Ridge currently hosts the WinCo Foods Portland Open on the Web.com tour, since 2014.

To know I was playing on a golf course that Tiger played on was truly incredible. The Nike Junior Invitational was a three-day event (54 holes). I arrived in Portland late Thursday night and played a practice round on Friday. After the practice round, all participants of the event were invited to Nike World Headquarters, about 20 minutes away from Pumpkin Ridge. Nike HQ was really breathtaking because of its sheer size. Tiger Woods’s niece, Cheyenne Woods was there and I got to play her in a chipping contest that I won. I got a NikeGolf beanie as a prize. Afterward, I took a tour of the Nike HQ and got to visit the Michael Jordan building that had all of the designs of his shoes that he wore when he played for the Bulls. I also got to see some Nike concept design shoes as well.

The next 3 days of golf each had its own highlights. The first day was a struggle for me as I was not hitting the ball particularly well or putting well. I blew up on the tricky 9th hole and made a quadruple-bogey 8. Seething with anger, I was looking forward to “rip up” the back nine. I accomplished my goal somewhat by shooting a 2 under 33 on the back nine including hitting the pin with my second shot on the par 4 12th. I ended up shooting a 4 over 75 the first day and I was sitting somewhere in the middle of the 48 contestants.

The second day was a terrible and rainy day. The front nine of the second day (back nine of the golf course) was very memorable due to the fact that I missed almost every green, yet I got up and down for par five out of six times. I capped off the day with a birdie bomb (approximately 40 foot putt) on the infamous 9th hole where I had made a snowman the day before. I carded a 1 under 70. All in all, I was pleased with my second round and stood in 14th place at the end of play.

The front nine of the third round was a very boring round of golf. I parred the first eight holes and made a bogey (my only bogey of the day) on the tough 9th hole. However, I played lights out on the back nine making birdies on holes 11, 15, and 17 and missed 2 other birdie tries on the same nine. I came in with a 2 under 69. My 3 day total was 75-70-69 (+1). After everyone finished, I stood in 9th place. If I had not made the quadruple the first day, I would have been easily in the top 5. But, hey that’s golf.

My dad and I left for the airport after the awards ceremony. I bought an Oregon University Nike flat bill cap in the airport as a souvenir. Despite the fact that I took a red-eye flight back home, it was a great trip!

 

 

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Beautiful par 3 14th

Beautiful par 3 14th

 

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Cheyenne Woods and I

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The student news site of Manhasset High School in Manhasset, New York
My Awesome Experience at the Nike Junior Invitational