The players are coming.
Many of the best junior golfers in the world will arrive this week for the three-round, 54-hole, Scott Roberston Memorial Junior Golf Tournament at Roanoke Country Club. The tournament plays out Friday through Sunday, May 21-23. This year’s tournament will be the 37th annual event that has gone from more of a regional event in the initial years to now being one of the most prestigious and highest ranked junior golf tournaments in the world.
After last year’s cancellation due to COVID-19, this year’s Scott Robertson looks to be bigger and better than ever. Tournament officials were excited about the player response this year.
Monday night at the Salem Civic Center, tournament officials including Scott Robertson board member Mac McClung, tournament administrator Debbie Ferguson, girls field coordinator Bobby Penn and First Tee Roanoke executive director Jennifer Blackwood, gave a pre-tournament presentation to the monthly meeting of the Roanoke Valley Sports Club.
“It was very devastating last year when we had to cancel the event. It was almost like a death in the family,” Ferguson noted. “When we started the application process (this year) and the applications went live, within 48 hours of the applications going online, I had received 50 applications for the tournament and qualifiers. So, I knew it was going to be a big year. Everybody is excited. The juniors and their families are so excited to get back to Roanoke and to get back to playing competitive golf again.”
Along with automatic qualifiers established by the tournament board, three additional qualifiers, one in Naples, Florida, and the other two at Roanoke Country Club, determine the final field that is made up of four divisions, boys 15-18, girls 15-18, along with boys and girls 14-under divisions. The final qualifier was set for Wednesday at RCC. This year’s field will be made up of 167 golfers representing 27 states and 10 different countries.
Many former Scott Robertson winners have gone on to play professionally on the PGA and LPGA Tours. Those have included Webb Simpson, Kevin Na and Jon Curran on the boy’s side, along with names like Brooke M. Henderson, Moriya Jutanugarn, Jessica Korda and Paula Creamer as former Robertson winners on the LPGA.
Penn noted Monday night that the girl’s field for 2021 will include defending 2019 Scott Robertson Champion Alexa Pano, currently holding a Top-5 junior ranking. Also, Megha Ganne, the #1 ranked girl’s junior who has verbally committed to Stanford and a Top-5 finisher in all four AJGA girls majors last year.
Additionally, Casey Weidenfeld, the #7 ranked girl’s junior who has committed to Auburn and who won the 2020 AJGA Girls Championship with rounds of 69-72-64. Locally, Ashnoor Kaur, the defending Roanoke Valley Women’s Hall of Fame and Women’s City-County winners in 2020 will headline a girls 14-under field. Kaur turned twelve years old on May 12, one month after playing in the Masters Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at Augusta National.
The Scott Robertson Memorial is held in memory of Scott Robertson, a promising young Roanoke Country Club golfer. Scott, a 14-year-old ninth grader at North Cross School, was a top student and sports enthusiast who had won his age division in several junior golf tournaments. Scott died as a result of infectious mononucleosis in the summer of 1982.