Tournament chairman Paul Simon measures the success of the inaugural Junior Invitational at Sage Valley Golf Club in several ways.
The event, which ran April 20-22, received plenty of positive feedback from participants and their families. Now, the tournament is receiving worldwide recognition in the golfing community.
According to Simon, a soon-to-be-released ranking by Golfweek will display a remarkable feat for the first-year event. The Junior Invitational is ranked No. 1 among 25 junior tournaments selected by the magazine.
"That motivates us to do even better next year," Simon said. "We hope to continue to improve. There's always a lot of little things behind the scenes you can make better."
The Junior Invitational played host to the top 54 juniors from around the world at the private course in Graniteville. Nicholas Reach of Moscow, Pa., shot 20-under-par to win by eight shots.
A TV special, which was produced by PGA Tour Entertainment, was broadcast nationally last month. The highlight show will be televised again at 2 p.m. Sunday on WRDW-Ch. 12.
About 8,000 tickets were sold for the week, and Electrolux, in the first year of its three-year deal as presenting sponsor, discussed expanding its role in the future.
"We accomplished a lot of good things in the first year," Simon said. "That set a standard to follow in the future."
Simon said the tournament netted around $200,000. A portion of the money will be donated to The First Tee chapters in Aiken and Augusta, along with the national chapter. Simon said the rest of the money will be held back for the future.
The Junior Invitational is moving around on the calendar for 2012. The event will remain two weeks after the Masters Tournament, though the three-day event will now start on Friday. This year, it ran from Wednesday-Friday.