More than 100 junior golfers are expected to compete in the 37th NOPGA Junior Tour Championship conducted by the Northern Ohio Section of the Professional Golfers Association of America.
The event will be played at Club Walden in Aurora on July 29-30 for qualifying boys and girls in two age groups: 16-19 and 11-15.
Affectionately known as the Kenny Novak Memorial Tournament, it is the final event of the NOPGA’s junior season and will help determine the section’s Player of the Year.
Players qualified for the event by either winning a regular-season tournament or through the Player of the Year Points List.
The reigning champions are Justin Atkinson (Brookfield) and Madison Ardelean (North Canton) in the 16-19 age group and Matthew Stephan (Green) and Kaitlin Kormuth (Solon) in the 11-15 group.
Current leaders on the points list are Stow’s Ben Skripac (11-15) and Strongsville’s Michael Lee (16-19) and Mansfield’s Kira Moore (16-19) and Medina’s Emily Krutkiewicz (11-15).
The 16-19 age groups will play 36 holes over the two days while the 11-15-year-olds will play 18 holes on the final day.
Additionally, Merrill-Lynch will sponsor a four-hole shootout for the older players after the first day of competition. After the first 18 holes the top eight boys and girls will qualify for the shootout. The two highest scores will be eliminated after each hole until a winner is determined.
The two days are to honor the memory of Kenny Novak, an outstanding junior golfer, all-around athlete and a staff member at Club Walden until he accidentally lost his life while saving a friend from drowning.
Club Walden members have embraced the tournament throughout its existence. Members Alton and Sharon O’Neil have provided $500 higher education scholarships to the two 16-19 winners during the life of the event.