One of the biggest golf tournaments in the world will invade Waco on Monday, as the caravan that is the Starburst Junior Golf Classic rolls into town.
This will be the 17th year the event will be held at local golf courses. The prestigious tournament, planned and coordinated by the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce Committee, brings in golfers, ages 7-18, from all over the world.
The event will run June 15-17 at nine Central Texas golf courses. Waco courses involved in the event are Cottonwood Creek, Lake Waco, Ridgewood Country Club and Twin Rivers. The three-day event brought in 722 participants and an estimated economic impact of $3.8 million last year, and with around the same amount is expected in 2015. Approximately 720 golfers are expected to tee it up next week.
“We want to welcome Twin Rivers to the mix, as we like to see as many local golf courses participate as we can,” Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce Sports and Special Events Director Ashley Futris said. “The direct and indirect impact, hotels, restaurants, pretty much anything you can think of, is unbelievable. This tournament does a whole, whole lot for the city.”
The committee is made up of approximately 45 members, 40 of which have volunteered for 15 or more years. Futris knows the importance volunteers have on the success of the event.
“Every year, we all get excited when the event comes around,” she said. “Not only the loyalty and hard work of my committee, but the hundreds and hundreds of volunteers that take time out of their own days to help this tournament run smoothly.”
Futris is referring in part to Mars, the title sponsor of the tournament. Each year, a few hundred of its employees use their own vacation time to help pass out water, ice, and help ball-spot for the golfers or simply do anything that any member of the Chamber asks of them.
“I can’t tell you how great of a gesture it is from Mars to do what they do,” Futris said. “The employees using their own personal time to come out and help in any way that they can, it really tells you how much they really do love it.”
Cottonwood serves as the de facto home base, as registration for the event takes place Sunday at the course. As the tournaments begin Monday, Cottonwood will feature several special events, including a Titleist Demo and Skills Challenge, a par 3 shootout and a long drive contest. A helicopter ball drop takes place Tuesday, with food sponsored on both days by Rosati’s and Fuddruckers.
Other Central Texas courses playing host are Sammons and Wildflower in Temple, White Bluff in Whitney, Squaw Valley in Glen Rose and White Bluff in Whitney. Awards are to be handed out at the nine local golf courses on Wednesday.
Baylor’s Kim to play in U.S. Open
Baylor women’s golfer Dylan Kim qualified for the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open last week, tying for first place in a 66-player event at Lakewood Country Club in Dallas.
Kim, a freshman, will compete as an amateur at the event, which is being held July 6-12 at the Lancaster Country Club in Lancaster, PA. Just one week after leading Baylor to a national runner-up finish at the 2015 NCAA Championship, Kim continues to pile up the accolades.
“I am so proud of Dylan for qualifying for the U.S. Open after her first year at Baylor,” head coach Jay Goble said. “She’s going to be a star in the game, and I’m really excited for her to get to play in her first of many U.S. Open Championships.”
Kim shot a first-round 4-over-par 75, followed by a 2-over-par 73 in the second round later that afternoon, tying the lowest score in the 66-player field to jump to a tie for first place with SMU senior Jennifer Park.
Over the 36-hole qualifying event, she made five birdies, 24 pars, three bogeys and four double bogeys.
Kim joined Baylor as an early enrollee in January after graduating from high school a semester early. She went on to have one of the most successful seasons in program history, earning second-team All-America and All-Big 12 honors.
Kim also recorded a crucial match play victory over the nation’s No. 1-ranked amateur golfer, Duke’s Leona Maguire, to help the Bears win, 3-2, in the NCAA Championship semifinals. She finished the season with a 73.08 stroke average over 25 rounds, giving her the third-best single-season stroke average in program history.