The 2022 Junior PGA Championship hosted at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Illinois will have four Utah junior golfers, two boys and two girls, who qualified through the Utah Junior PGA Championship at Soldier Hollow Golf Course in Midway, Utah June 13-14.
Looking at the scoreboard alone, you wouldn’t guess the competitors battled through rainy and windy conditions. Alpine’s Cooper Jones shot rounds of (-17) 64-63 to qualify for the championship at Cog Hill. Runner-up, and high school teammate Kihei Akina also put together two rounds in the 60’s with an (-11) 68-65 to snag the second qualifying spot.
“It’s exciting to get in,” Jones said of qualifying. “I haven’t played in it before so I’m excited to get out there. To play a PGA Tour venue is sweet.”
Jones put together two bogey-free rounds and was six-under through nine holes in the final round. “Nothing was off, it was just simple golf,” he added.
“Everything was solid all around,” Akina said of his play, “didn’t have too many bogeys and I took care of the par-fives. “It feels good to qualify, I’m excited to go play. If I can play well there, it shows me I can get to the PGA Tour one day like some of the past champions have.”
Ali Mulhall is at it again by winning back-to-back Utah Junior PGA Championships. With rounds of (-9) 67-68 she’ll be making her second-consecutive appearance in the Junior PGA Championship.
This time, however, a sudden-death playoff was needed with Sunbin Seo, who also finished T2 in the 2021 Utah championship, to determine a winner.
Seo had rounds of (-9) 66-69 to claim the second qualifying spot and force a playoff with Mulhall.
With a birdie on the first playoff hole, Mulhall took the top spot.
“It almost doesn’t feel real to compete on the same courses as Tour professionals, because I’m just a junior,” Mulhall said about Cog Hill, “but it’s nice to have that opportunity.”
Mulhall won her age division in the 2021 Drive, Chip & Putt Championship at Augusta National and has also qualified to compete in Japan this September in the Professional Long Drivers Ladies World Championship.
Seo was undecided on whether she will be able to play in the Junior PGA Championship. If she does not attend, the first alternate is Berlin Long, who finished third with rounds of (-8) 68-68. She also represented Utah in the 2021 Junior PGA Championship.