“The golf course is a phenomenal track and is set up to test all facets of the game which is what we look for,” said tournament director Andrew Greenfield of the event which has been won in the past by names like Phil Mickelson (1986-88), Morgan Pressel (2001), and Webb Simpson (2001). “We want golfers to be tested from tee to green and that is what this course does for both guys and girls.”
If any group of golfers can master the lengthy bunker-filled course it will be one the 132 invitees that Greenfield called one of the best lineups the AJGA had ever assembled — including juniors from 30 states, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand and Venezuela; 59 Rolex Junior All-Americans; and 32 who have signed National Letter-of-intents.
Two local players garnering invites were Alpharetta’s Michael Pisciotta and Centennial’s Rinko Mitsunaga.
Pisciotta, a 16-year old rising junior, comes into the event ranked No. 31 in the Polo Golf Rankings and was a 2011 Rolex Junior All-American.
“I didn’t quite qualify last year so I’m excited to see how I will match up against the other top juniors in the world,” said Pisciotta, who recently made a verbal commitment to play collegiate golf at Georgia Tech. “To be this close to home and on a course as elite as [The Capital City Club-Crabapple] makes it that much more exciting.”
Mitsunaga, a 15-year old rising sophomore, played in last year’s event at the Sunriver Resort in Oregon. She is a 2011 Rolex junior All-American and recently qualified to play in the 2012 Women’s U.S. Open in July.
“It’s always a real honor just to be invited to this event,” said Mitsunaga. “With so many great players here my only real goals are to play better than I did a year ago.”
Other local golfers competing include Zack Jaworski, a recent Milton graduate that will play at Vanderbilt, and Stanford-bound Mariah Stackhouse of Riverdale.
The first of four rounds of tournament play began yesterday — results were not available at press time.
A cut will be made after the third round on Thursday with final round play will follow on Friday.
“In this championship we always expect to see the very best boy and girl crowned,” said Greenfield. “My expectation is that this week will be no different.”