Westchester Teens Take on World At USGA Juniors

Kyra Cox, Brent Ito, and Matt Minerva look to follow in Tiger and Lexi’s footsteps at this week’s Championships

Kyra Cox of South Salem will take her exemplary golf game to Paramus, NJ, this week to compete in the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, one of the United States Golf Association’s premier events in our area.

Cox, 16, was the Met PGA Junior Player of the Year for three consecutive years from 2013-’15 and competed in the Drive, Chip & Putt National Championship at Augusta National this spring.

Cox will be facing an international field of 156 players from 12 countries at Ridgewood Country Club. This spring, Cox won the Met PGA Junior Championship at Metropolis Country Club in White Plains. Last year, she won the New York State Junior PGA Championship for the second time and the New York State Golf Association Women’s Amateur. She’ll be a junior at John Jay High School in Bedford this fall and plays out of Centennial Golf Club in Carmel. In 2013, she became the youngest player to ever win the New York State Girls Junior Golf Championship.

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Brent Ito, a graduate of Ardsley High School, made his qualifying mark at Torrington Country Club in Goshen, CT.  Ito won his last chance to compete in the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at the Honors Course in Coltewah, TN, by winning the qualifier with one-under over the two rounds. Earlier this year, he won the Met PGA Junior Championship for the third time. He won the Metropolitan Golf Association (MGA) Junior Championship in 2015. Ito is committed to the golf team at the University of Michigan.

Ardsley High graduate Brent Ito

 photo courtesy of the AJGA

Matt Minerva, a rising sophomore at Iona Prep who lives in Valhalla, will play in the U.S. Junior Amateur this week as well. He qualified for his first shot at the tournament this past June at the Leewood Golf Club sectional tournament by defeating Charles-Eric Belanger of Quebec in a playoff. Rick Maguire of Ridgefield, CT won the qualifier and will also compete in Tennessee.

These USGA events are excellent harbingers of career highlights to come for the youngsters, who must be under the age of 18 to enter. Previous US Girls’ Junior champions have gone on to win 12 U.S. Women’s Opens and include such notables as Nancy Lopez, Inbee Park, and Lexi Thompson. On the boys’ side of the ledger, Jordan Spieth claimed the title twice, as did Tiger Woods.

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Both tournaments begin with two rounds of stroke play on July 18 and 19. The top 64 will advance to match play, with the first round scheduled for July 20 and the 36-hole final match for Saturday, July 23. The girls’ event will be broadcast on Fox Sports FS1 network while the boys will be on Golf Channel.




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