Mill Creek to host junior tournament

The American Junior Golf Association will host the Mill Creek Foundation Junior All-Star tournament from Monday through Thursday at Mill Creek Park Golf Course.

The tournament is comprised of 96 boys and girls ages 12-15. Golfers from 23 states and three foreign countries (Canada, China and Russia) will compete.

The event will take place on the South Course.

A practice round will be held Monday at 8 a.m. with the first round beginning Tuesday at 7 a.m.

Second-round play will be Wednesday and the final round will be Thursday, both taking place at 7 a.m. An awards ceremony will be held Thursday at 5 p.m.

This is the second consecutive year Mill Creek Golf Course is hosting the event.

“We can bring $500,000 to the Mahoning Valley in just two years,” said Brian Tolnar, PGA Director of Golf at Mill Creek MetroParks. “Last year, we brought in around $255,000.” 

The above figures are curated from expense reports for hotels, meals and other costs from the families of the participating golfers that they submit to the AJGA.

Area hotels, restaurants and other businesses will also send data to the Mahoning County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Former PGA pro Jerry McGee of East Palestine will serve as the tournament’s honorary guest host.

McGee, a New Lexington native, played on the PGA Tour from 1967 to 1981. He was a member of the 1977 Ryder Cup team. He was the former pro at Oak Tree Country Club in Middlesex, Pa. His son, Mike, is married to Annika Sorenstram.

“He’s one of those guys I’ve come to know from being in the golf business,” Tolnar said Saturday. “He’s got a passion for youth sports and working with younger golfers.”

Three AJGA champions are participating in what will be one of 16 American College Development Solutions events this year on the Junior All-Star Series which concludes at Reynolds Lake Oconee for the Justin Rose Junior All-Star Invitational.

Locally, Conner Stevens from Brookfield and Jayne Bernard from Youngstown will compete in the tournament among 17 Ohio golfers.

Other Ohio golfers include Benjamin Basta (Hudson), Kahmar Byers (Columbus), Zach Hazard (Olmsted Falls), Ali Khan (Westerville), Colton Levey (Twinsburg), Maxwell Moldovan (Uniontown), Donovan Morris (Northfield Center), Joshua Qian (Westerville), Topher Reed (Fairview Park), Michael Shyu (Grove City), Mason Witt (Jamestown), Ashley Zi-Tong Au (Westerville), Leila Raines (Galena), Natalia Sompolovorachai (West Chester) and Madison Spiess (New Albany).

Moldovan won the event at Mill Creek last year and will look to defend his title against a field of 65 boys.

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