Victoria's biggest junior golf event just got bigger

Hira Naveed and Cameron John

After an extraordinary field of 180 participants earlier this year, with 20 players on the waiting list, the Victorian Junior Masters is set to expand in 2016.

In a bid to accommodate all entrants, the 2016 event will be held across two venues in Melbourne’s south-east from Monday 4 – Wednesday 6 January. 

The decision to host the event across two venues will increase the field by over 70 places. All players will be required to play one of their first two rounds at Waverley Golf Club and one round at Churchhill Park Golf Club, with the final two rounds being hosted at the traditional home of the Junior Masters, Waverley. It will mark the 22nd consecutive year Waverley has hosted the event. 

Golf Victoria’s Junior Development Manager, Ben Sweeney, said the decision to host the event across two venues was an obvious one.

“This move is a natural progression for the championship. We need to expand the field to allow for the event to grow and compete with other nationally ranked junior championships,” said Sweeney. 

Further changes include increased handicap limits and the introduction of an U12 section whilst also retaining the U14, U16 and overall prize categories.

“It has become increasingly important in junior golf to provide opportunities for younger age brackets. We have a growing presence of golfers as young as nine and ten years of age playing to the required handicaps for entry.”

A large contingent of interstate players and a number of overseas players will again be welcomed to the field alongside local talent. The tournament will be played in stroke play format across 72-holes, with the leading 68 boys and 24 girls competing after the cut.

Expect to see a high level of competition with the overall champions to receive an exemption to compete in the 2016 Oates Vic Open, a professional event sanctioned on the PGA Tour of Australasia and the ALPG Tour, as well as the Port Phillip Open Amateur. 

“The exemptions on offer to the winner can be very enticing for interstate and international junior golfers,” Sweeney added.

“We continue to draw strong fields year after year and we [Golf Victoria] believe 2016 will be no exception.”

The Victorian Junior Masters is a stage renowned for boosting junior golfers towards touring professionals. Past champions include Aaron Baddeley (1998), Marc Leishman (2001) and Jason Day (2005). The reigning champions are Cameron John (Victoria) and Hira Naveed (Western Australia). 

“Watching past winners rise up the ranks to professional golf certainly provides inspiration for the players. The event is an exciting platform for junior golfers,” said Sweeney.




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