Zachary, Louisiana – July 7, 2023
Beaver Creek Golf Course in Zachary will host the 66th edition of the Louisiana Junior Amateur Championship and the 58th edition of the Louisiana Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship, July 12th-14th. A total of 136 junior golfers from across Louisiana comprise the field that will compete in the Junior Amateur Championships. The Boys’ Overall Championship and Girls’ Division Championship will be conducted over 54 holes, while the Boys’ 10-11 and 12-13 age group winners will be crowned after 36 holes to be played Wednesday and Thursday.
Beaver Creek has been the setting for success for some former esteemed Louisiana junior golfers. The last three champions to win the Louisiana Junior Amateur at Beaver Creek all went on to be Louisiana’s #1 rated high-school recruit in their respective graduating classes. All three of these champions also committed to play golf at LSU out of high-school. 2005 Champion, Andrew Loupe from Baton Rouge, 2007 Champion, Austin Gutgsell from Mandeville, and 2011 Champion, Chuck Spears from Pineville. All three of these past champions also got a taste of the professional golf ranks. Loupe and Gutgsell both had the opportunity to play on the PGA Tour, with Loupe having the more extended PGA Tour career. According to history, it is very promising that the 2023 Louisiana Junior Amateur Championships at Beaver Creek will serve to reveal Louisiana’s next great golfers.
This year’s field is extremely deep and competitive. This year’s clear favorite to win the most prestigious Junior Championship in the state is Georgia Tech commit, Kale Fontenot of Lafayette. Fontenot is the reigning back-to-back Louisiana Junior Amateur Champion looking for his three-peat title this year at Beaver Creek. Fontenot won the 65th Louisiana Junior Amateur by four strokes after being three shots back heading into the final day. With the help of a low round 64 in the third and final round, he was able to secure his second Junior Amateur Championship at East Ridge Country Club. Fontenot with not only the length off the tee, but with the rest of the tools in the bag to pair with it, certainly has the ability to go for the three-peat, a feat that has never been accomplished before in Louisiana Junior Amateur Championship history. A three-peat for Fontenot would cement his legacy as one of the best Louisiana junior golfers ever. If Vegas had betting odds for the Louisiana Junior Amateur, LSU commit Noah McWilliams of Benton, would be the next most popular betting favorite behind Fontenot. McWilliams finished runner-up in the 65th Louisiana Junior Amateur and is the reigning Louisiana Junior Player of the Year. He also has the ability to go extremely low and if his game is clicking, he will without a doubt be in the hunt for the title come day three.
Others expected to be in contention on Friday include: ULM commit Alston Manne of Baton Rouge (T5 in 2022), James Holtsclaw of Shreveport (3rd in 2022), Ashton Cruse of Columbia (T5 in 2022) and 2023 LJGT at The Wetlands Champion, ULL commit Ross Anderson (9th in 2021) and 2023 Lake Charles Spring Classic Champion. Ben Blanco of Broussard (T7 in 2021) has played well in 2023 with a runner-up and a top three finish already this season on the Louisiana Junior Golf Tour. Drew Prieto, a Baton Rouge native, is also someone to keep an eye on, coming off a win at the LJGT at Beau Chene.
The best female junior golfers in the Bayou State will also compete over 54-holes Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in the 58th Louisiana Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship. 2022 Louisiana Junior Player of the Year and University of West Florida commit, Samantha Schultz of Mandeville, is in the field and looking to cap off her spectacular junior career with a Junior Amateur Championship.
Vivian Volion of Springfield and the young Jade Neves of New Orleans both have had good starts to their 2023 season and hope to carry their early success into the Girls’ Junior Amateur. Volion won the LJGT at Cane Row and Neves was the champion of the LJGT at The Wetlands. The 2023 Sam Burns Junior Four Ball champions Evelynn Artieta of Denham Springs, and Maci Williams of Brusly, also have the ability to play well and be in the hunt in the final round. The stage is set for an exciting week of competition at Beaver Creek.
The Boys’ 10-11 and 12-13 age divisions should also be an exciting championship. These divisions will compete in a 36-hole championship over Wednesday and Thursday. The field includes some 2023 LJGT champions in Parker Greene and Reed Winkler who look to build on their earlier LJGT wins. This championship is ultra important in deciding Player of the Year points and also to see who will take home the championship crystal.
The Louisiana Junior Amateur Championship holds the following performance stars for the AJGA: Champion (Fully Exempt), Top 5 (12 stars), Top 10 (8 stars), Top 15 (4 stars).
The AJGA PBE status has been increased for this year’s Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship as the champion will receive Fully Exempt Status. Top 3 will receive four performance stars. This criteria groups Louisiana with larger golf states like Tennessee, Virginia, South Carolina, and Arizona, and it is just one example that shows the caliber of competition that will be on hand at the 66th Louisiana Junior Amateur Championship and 58th Louisiana Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship.
A player’s finish in the Louisiana Junior Amateur Championships is a crucial factor in determining Player of the Year points, which in turn determine who will be invited to play for Team Louisiana in the Junior River Cup matches against the best junior players in Mississippi. This year, Louisiana is the host state for the Junior River Cup, and it will be held at the coveted Bayou Desiard in Monroe, on September 16-17.
There are multiple prizes that are distributed at the Louisiana Junior Amateur. The 2023 Boys’ champion and Girls’ champion will receive the “Past Champions’ Award” in the form of a $400 gift certificate. In addition, the LGA has a beautiful plaque for the boys and a trophy for the girls, which honors each of the past Junior Amateur Champions. This year’s Champions will have his and her name engraved on the plaque and the trophy and will receive custody of them for his and her championship year. The plaque and trophy will be displayed at their home club until the following year’s championship. They will also receive a brand-new golf bag embroidered with the LGA logo recognizing them as the Louisiana Junior Amateur Champion. A victory at this event puts the Champion in good company. The Louisiana Junior and Girls’ Junior Amateur Champion join an impressive list of former Champions that includes Julia Johnson, Elise Bradley and PGA Tour winners Hal Sutton, David Toms, Willie Wood, Brian Bateman, and current PGA Tour player Sam Burns.
Beaver Creek Golf Course is hosting the Louisiana Junior Amateur Championships for the fourth time in its history, having also been host venue for this event in 2005, 2007, and 2011. Beaver Creek is part of the BREC golf courses and is in absolutely spectacular condition as the staff as done a tremendous job to have the course ready to be showcased for the most prestigious junior golf championship in the state. Beaver Creek Golf Course will play to a par of 72 at approximately 6,700 yards for the Overall Boys’ Championship and 5,600 for the Girls’ Championship and the 10-13 Boys’ age groups. The Louisiana Junior golfers are looking forward to the opportunity to play this course. The greens are firm and fast and the openness of the golf course allows golfers to really attack and aim for birdies.
“We are pleased to bring this Championship to Beaver Creek and give our junior players a chance to play this excellent golf course. Beaver Creek and the city of Zachary have been tremendously supportive of the LGA, and we’re excited to return to this great facility. Our competitors always look forward to coming back to test their skills against this wonderful track. We conduct our Junior Amateur Championships just like our Men’s and Women’s Amateur Championships, and we take pride in providing a first-class experience for the junior golfers who compete in this event. It is rewarding and encouraging to see that the future of golf in our state is healthy,” said LGA Director of Championship Operations Jacob Oaks.
The annual Rules Meeting included with a Q&A with some of the region’s college coaches, will be held at the Walk-Ons in Zachary on July 11th at 7PM. Players will receive a free Walk-Ons hamburger meal and have the opportunity to get some insight from college coaches about the collegiate game, recruiting, and many other important topics. The Championship kicks off Wednesday morning, July 12th at 7:30 AM, off the first and tenth tee.
First round pairings and starting times for the Boys’ Championship can be found here.
Girls’ Championship pairings and starting times are here.