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End of Masters doesn't end golf in Augusta area

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When the Masters Tournament ends, golf doesn’t leave town. Not at all.

In two weeks, the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley will be held just across the Savannah River. Billed as the top junior event in the world, the 54-hole tournament will be played April 24-26 at Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, S.C.

The fourth annual event features 54 of the world’s top junior players. Last year, Matthew Fitzpatrick of Sheffield, England, finished eighth in the tournament. He went on to win the U.S. Amateur later in the year to qualify for his first Masters appearance and become the first Junior Invitational participant to play in the first major of the year.

“That just shows you how good our field is,” Junior Invitational tournament chairman Tom Wyatt said. “We’re thrilled Matthew is going to be participating.”

Before the Junior Invitational begins, three-time Masters champ Gary Player will speak at the dinner for competitors. The South African golfer joins a list of dignitaries who have spoken at the event, including PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, former U.S. president George W. Bush and golf legend Jack Nicklaus.

The week before the Junior Invitational, the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships will be held in North Augusta. The eighth annual event will be held at the Hippodrome, April 16-19.

As of now, 60 teams have qualified for the men’s portion of the tournament, while six have qualified for the women’s event. Last year, Tennessee Tech won the men’s title, while Mississippi State won the women’s championship.

In early May, one of the most popular events on the NGA Tour heads to McCormick, S.C., about 50 minutes north of Augusta. The Savannah Lakes Village Classic at Monticello Golf Club will be held May 1-4.

The tournament, which has hundreds of volunteers, features a full week of events, including a fishing tournament for the professional golfers the Monday of the event. After a shoot-out the following day and then a pro-am, the 72-hole tournament begins Thursday of that week.

One week later, the NGA Tour moves to Fort Gordon for one of the longest-running events on the tour. The Kandy Waters Memorial Classic, which has bounced around to several golf courses through the years, will be held May 8-11 at Gordon Lakes Golf Club.

Also in May, the Georgia High School Association state championships will be held in Augusta. The 12 classifications – six in boys, six in girls – will play at different courses around the area May 19.

Golf courses committed to hold play are Applewood Golf Course, Bartram Trail Golf Course, Belle Meade Country Club, Champions Retreat, Forest Hills Golf Club, Gordon Lakes Golf Club, Goshen Plantation Golf Club, Jones Creek Golf Club, Pointe South Golf Club, Waynesboro Country Club and West Lake Country Club.

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