By Kelsey Marini, AJGA Communications
The Wyndham Cup is the tournament every player dreams of playing. With golf being an individual sport, having the opportunity to play in a team dynamic is a special experience. AJGA players work hard all year in the hopes to make it on to the East or West Team and represent their region with pride.
For six of the 10 girls on the East Team, their hard work has paid off as they get to play another year in one of AJGA’s finest tournaments. The six veterans are Shannon Brooks, Sierra Brooks, Rachel Dai, Jillian Hollis, Lauren Stephenson and Bailey Tardy. Sierra Brooks leads the pack with three previous Wyndham Cup tournaments and a career record of 6-5-0.
Having the majority of the girls returning is an asset for the East Team, and they have already delivered. Tuesday morning, Shannon Brooks teamed up with rookie Maddie Rose Hamilton and won 3 and 2, and Stephenson contributed with a half-point when she made a 20-footer and birdied No. 18.
All six players have made commitment to play college golf and for five of the girls this will be their last time participating in all the excitement Wyndham Cup brings.
In 2014, Stephenson tallied a 2-2-0 record, including a win in her singles match against the West’s Kaitlyn Papp, 4 and 3.
“My favorite part is when the whole team is together cheering each other on,” Stephenson said. “Golf is an individual sport so when you have 20 players all playing together it makes it a fun and unforgettable week.”
Stephenson is currently No. 7 in the Polo Golf Rankings and will be heading off to Clemson University in the fall.
“This is definitely the best way to end my junior golf career,” Stephenson said. “There’s no other tournament experience like this.”
Hollis is also back for her second consecutive year. Last year, she was able to halve her singles match against West player Bethany Wu after making a crucial putt on No. 17, which kept the West from winning the Cup outright.
“Wyndham Cup is everyone’s AJGA goal for the year, to make it here and play among the best players in junior golf,” Hollis said. “It’s such an exciting atmosphere you can’t find anywhere else.”
Hollis is wrapping up her AJGA career and is heading off to play golf at the University of Georgia this fall. She is currently No. 18 in the Polo Golf Rankings, and will always remember Wyndham Cup as a place where she got to play with her best friends.
“We become a big family and make friendships that last a lifetime,” Hollis said. “It’s exciting to become so close with everyone and see how well we all do later on in college golf and on Tour.”