Southern California Shoots 6-under Par to Take Round 1 Lead at Red Hawk

The first round of the 51st Annual Junior America’s Cup, hosted by the Northern Nevada Junior Golf Association, is in the books with Southern California represented by Baron Nguyen, Jeffrey Kwak, Kai Hirayama and Luke Bailey shooting 6-under par, 207, team score. Southern California has a two-stroke lead over host team Nevada at Red Hawk Golf & Resort in Sparks, Nevada.

Leading Southern California were three players all shooting 2-und par 69’s: Baron Nguyen, Jeffrey Kwak and Kai Hirayama, all tied for 5th individually. Leading individual leaderboard, Mason Snyder (Nevada) and Gerardo Gomez (Mexico – Red) both fired 4-under par 67’s. Snyder’s round included 5 birdies, while Gomez’s round included 4 birdies and an eagle.

Host team Nevada is in solo 2nd place as a team, at 4-under par. In addition to Snyder’s 67, the two other counting scores for Nevada include two even par rounds of 71: Angelo Bidart and Drake Harvey. There are three teams tied for 3rd at 3-under par, San Diego, Arizona and Hawaii.

Like a collegiate event, the Junior America’s Cup features 18 teams of four boys representing their state, province or country. The competition takes place over 3 days with 18-holes played each day for a total of 54-holes played to determine the winning team. Each team counts its best three scores each round with the low scoring team after 54-holes being crowned the 2021 champions and presented with the champions medals & trophy.

The 2023 competition marks the 51st anniversary of the Junior America’s Cup championship and the fourth time it will be held in Wyoming. The previous time the event was hosted in Nevada was 2003 which also at Rio Secca Golf Club, in Henderson, Nevada. The team from Oregon won the championship that year. JAC Alumni from the 2003 Championship include Kevin Chappell (team Northern Cal), Joel Dahmen and Kyle Stanley.

Past Junior America’s Cup participants who have gone on to successful professional careers include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Fred Couples, Corey Pavin, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay, Rickie Fowler, Ryan Moore, Kyle Stanley and Tony Finau.

Andrew Columbro
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