Toronto, ON: The major event of the 2019 calendar year for the International Junior Golf Tour will take center stage this week, as the playing of the prestigious North America Cup shall be contested at TPC Toronto, specifically on the Heathlands Course. 24 of the best junior golfers from across both the United States and Canada will gather together from Wednesday, July 24th until Friday, July 26th to face off in the historic rivalry between these neighboring nations. After snatching away the Cup on American soil in 2018, the Canadians will feel confident heading into 2019 with the tournament right in their back-yard. However, as current all-time leaders in the event by a score of 11-5 in the NAC, the United States will travel with an extremely skilled and talented roster, who will be sure to put the pressure on Team Canada.
The North America Cup is unique to both Canada and the USA as it was the first international junior event to take on a Ryder Cup format, generally consisting of a team match-play including a Fourball, Alternate Shot, and Singles Matches. Each match won is equivalent to one point, with all points earned being totaled-up, even in the occurrence of ties. Eight Junior Boys (U19), Two Bantam Boys (U14), and Two Junior Girls (U19) will be selected to represent both countries.
In 2003 the International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) & the Canadian Junior Golf Association (CJGA) developed a partnership to enhance the international opportunities for junior golfers in both countries, and has seen a tremendous amount of success in return for both its young players, and for the continued growth of the junior golf tournament platform. Hence, the creation of this tradition.
Most recently, in 2018, the two sides met at the Dolphin Head Golf Club in Hilton Head, South Carolina, where Canada emerged victorious over the historically-dominant USA by a score of 13 ½ to 10 ½.
As the Cup now travels back north of the border this year, the USA squad will hope to retrieve a title which they have predominantly held in the past for the seventeenth playing of the NAC.
Team USA will be comprised of players selected by the IJGT, primarily who compete throughout the season throughout the United States and demonstrate world-class abilities and skills both on and off the course. On the other hand, Team Canada will be selected by the CJGA Team Canada Selection Committee, who will determine the 12 juniors to represent CJGA Team Canada by a national point-ranking system.
After spending the last few alternating years hosted at the Weston Golf Club in Canada, the North America Cup travels not-too-far down the road to TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley, which has quite a resume in itself.
A classic links-style layout, with an irregular par of 71, the TPC Toronto ranks 51st on the ScoreGolf Top-100 courses of Canada. Originally opened in 1992, the Heathlands Course harkens back to golf’s beginnings and the dune-swept hills of traditional Scottish links. Once the carefully-guarded secret of local aficionados, the course has become a favorite of those seeking a traditional golf experience and a stirring challenge that pays homage to the simple-yet-brilliant creativity of classic golf design.
Known above its Osprey Valley sister courses as one of the truest tests of golf in Ontario, the Heathlands course employs an array of feeder slopes, pot bunkers, backstops and winding fairways, rewarding shots that employ the features of what many consider to be one of architect Doug Carrick’s finest designs.
Though this year’s host course may be a challenge, The United States has traveled extremely well to these tournaments in the past. Gracing the various golf courses throughout the years have been Rickie Fowler (2003) and Morgan Hoffmann (2005), both of whom have become incredible professional golfers, kickstarted by their successes in this international junior tournament, and in the promise they showed as talented youngsters.
The talents levels to this day have remained the same, as both IJGA and CJGA boast some of the most skilled junior golf players in their respective countries. Headlining Team USA are 2019 Playing Captain Jaden Wiseman (Malvern, PA), 2018 Playing Captain Mikee Ordona (Upland, CA), and IJGA-representing Chase Phillips (Hilton Head Island, SC), all of whom have competed in the event at least three occasions in the past, and will look to continue to make their mark this year up in Canada.
Also among the three aforementioned veteran junior golfers of the tournament, three additional players will be returning to challenge for the Cup for the second consecutive year, namely Chandler Brewer (Tybee Island, GA), Alex Burnett (Owings Mills, MD), and Jeep Patrick (Hilton Head Island, SC).
To round off the rest of this year’s team, there will be six “rookies” competing for Team USA. Joining the Boys U19 division will be two IJGA Bishops Gate students in Matthew Hicks (Delray Beach, FL) and Tyden Wilson (Concord, MA), paired with IJGA South Carolina student Stephen Strasheim (Bluffton, SC). Meanwhile, the Boys U14 Division will be represented Nick Ciocca (Berwyn, PA), while the Girls Division (U19) will be represented by Kayleigh Zeman (Silver Spring, MD), and Teagan Devoe (Dallas, TX).
This tournament is sure to be one of the most highly competitive events for players on both sides this season, as the passion that burns within both teams will be put to the test as the junior players are tasked with the pride of representing their home countries on one of the biggest stages in Junior Golf.
Will Canada hold on for a second consecutive year, or will the United States snatch away what they believe to be rightfully theirs. Keep an eye out for this season’s North America Cup, set to take place this week, because it is sure to be a classic.
The next stop for the IJGT will be with the playing of the Florida Open at Falcon’s Fire Golf Club (Orlando, FL). To view the full upcoming schedule for the IJGT, follow the link here.
The final results of the North America Cup at TPC Toronto will be recorded and announced later this week upon the completion of the event.
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