Naperbrook Golf Course hosts the 2024 Naperville Junior Amateur Championships

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The Naperville Junior Amateur Championships returned to Naperbrook golf course, providing young players ranging from the age of 9-17 the opportunity to compete with some of the best the area has to offer.

The annual event held by the Naperville Park District is split into eight flights, the four oldest groups playing 18 holes, two playing nine holes, and the youngest playing six holes.

The Junior Amateur continues to grow the game of golf

With 114 golfers competing this year, the tournament provides an opportunity to promote the game of golf with a younger generation through the local courses in Naperville.

“We continue to see growth. The game of junior golf is constantly growing. and we love to see it. We’re all about promoting the game. And this this tournament definitely helps with that,” said Naperbrook Assistant Golf Pro Jake Miller.

High school golfers prepare for the upcoming season

Every year, several of the area’s top high school players use the tournament to stay sharp for the upcoming season. The top of the leaderboard of the four high school championships was filled with familiar names with Benet Academy junior Reina Maceren and Waubonsie Valley sophomore Aanish Kamdar winning the 14-15 girls and boys flights and Naperville Central junior Ashika Patel and Neuqua Valley graduate Vetri Anand winning the 16-17 year old flights.

“It’s a little bit less of  competitive as some other tournaments. But it’s more fun to be around here and play like I did. I played with one of the kids on our, Neuqua’s JV team. I see a lot of kids that I like, know from the team and from other golf teams. So it’s just fun to be around,” said Neuqua Valley golfer Vetri Anand.

“What’s cool is there has been there have been players who have been playing in it in the same event for five, six years now since they turned nine years old. and we a lot of these players come from our junior developmental program. They come from our PGA Junior League teams. And, it’s great to see these kids out here competing in the game of golf,” said Miller.

Preparing golfers for a higher level of competition

The tournament provides a higher pressure environment than a traditional round of golf, which is good practice for experienced golfers like Anand, who has played in the event for the past two years as well as golfers who are new to increased levels of competition.

“I feel like a lot of kids sometimes just play. They just go out and play and it’s like, it’s always good to know that you can go play golf and shoot a low score, but it’s a lot different in high school. There’s a lot of pressure. You’re playing it, you’re playing in matches, in tournaments. I feel like a lot of kids, they always try to focus on what they can like, technically fix and their swing and their partying, maybe how they read the greens. But in a tournament it’s always about your mental state,” Anand explained. “I think our kids that maybe this is their only tournament they’re playing. I think it’s good for them to take away a lot of things from their mental side. Like, did they blow up? Did they like end up staying calm and did they like go through the routine every single time, or did they blow up in their mind and end up just forgetting to do the routine? And did it lead to like more worse things? So I think it’s just focusing on what they did mentally is the best.”

While everyone enters with the hopes of playing well enough to take home some hardware, the main goal of the Naperville Junior Amateur is always to create a fun day out on the links.

“I like seeing a lot of kids that I teach personally. have a lot of fun out here and be successful. And a lot of the kids I see, out here every day just practicing or having a great time out here playing golf. That’s what I love to see,” said Miller.

Junior Amateur 2024 Champions

18 Holes
A flight (boys ages 16-17) – Vetri Anand-74
B flight (girls ages 16-17) – Ashika Patel-88
C flight (boys ages 14-15) – Aanish Kamdar-72
D flight (girls ages 14-15) – Reina Maceren-83

9 Holes
E flight (boys ages 11-13) – Alex Chen-39
F flight (girls ages 11-13) – Vivienne Steger-49

6 Holes
G  flight (boys ages 9-10) – Oliver Mack-30
H flight (girls ages 9-10) – Avya Nanda-31

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