American Golf Junior Championships 2016: The Winners

14 year old Kyle Honer was the big winner

American Golf Junior Championships 2016

The American Golf Junior Championships 2016 at Gainsborough in Lincolnshire produced some excellent winners, congratulations to them all.

American Golf Junior Championships 2016: The Winners

The 2016 American Golf Junior Championships have reached a conclusion and 14 year old Kyle Honer was the big winner.

Kyle, a member at Roganstown Golf Club, Co. Dublin, faced down stiff competition to take the overall title at the Headquarters of PING, Gainsborough Golf Club in Lincolnshire.

Over 500 junior golfers took part in this year’s championships, battling it out for a place in the final in a series of qualifying events across U.K. & Ireland.

This was the second year running as a finalist for Kyle after he qualified for the 2015 final of the American Golf Junior Championship as a ‘Star of the Future’ with a handicap of 36.

American Golf Junior Championships 2016

Kyle Honer - American Golf Junior Champion

He returned to qualification in 2016 where he finished second in the event held at his home club, Roganstown.

Kyle, now playing off 22, played fantastic golf throughout the final, keeping his cool in front of Sky Sports’ cameras, taking the 2016 overall title by 3 shots from Yorkshire's Dylan Shaw-Radford.

Related: How can clubs make golf more appealing to youngsters?

After his victory Kyle commented, “The American Golf Junior Championship has been really good fun and a great experience.

"From the qualifier to the final it was well organised they really made us feel like professionals. I won the Munster Championship a couple of days before so I was quite confident but I didn’t expect to win the American Golf Championship as it’s the biggest competition I’ve ever played in.

"On the plane home the pilot announced that I’d won and the whole plane gave me a round of applause which was pretty cool.”

The Best Gross category at the final was treated to some top quality competition and a thrilling finish.

Stirlingshire golfer Lachlan Reynolds eventually secured victory with a fantastic round of 72.

American Golf Junior Championships 2016

Lachlan Reynolds

Lachlan, who represents Dumbartonshire Golf Union at County level, took the title with a birdie on 18, just giving him the edge on countback against Welsh rival Jacob Harrington Wara who matched his 72 but saw his birdie putt on the last slide just wide.

Lachlan, another returning finalist commented, “I played in the American Golf final last year at Gainsborough doing the tour of the Ping factory and really loved the experience and although I didn't play very well, it was my first big competition.

"I really wanted to come back this year with a good score, the whole experience is amazing.

"I love the goody bag and Ping tour, which we did again and the cameras there make it all so professional.

American Golf Junior Championships 2016

Lachlan Reynolds

"I do enjoy seeing some familiar faces too and making new friends. I thoroughly enjoyed my round and loved getting a birdie on the 18th to win the scratch.

"I am looking forward to trying out my new Ping Wood as all my clubs are Ping. Thank you very much to American golf for the experience.”

The Girls title went to 13 year old Shire Golf Club member Elle Gibson who played the round of her life to score an incredible net 63 playing off 16.

On winning the title Elle commented, "This was my first time playing in a national final. I really enjoyed the day, everyone was really friendly which helped to calm my nerves!

American Golf Junior Championships 2016

Elle Gibson

"It was great having my Dad caddy so he could share the experience too.

"I didn't expect to win, so that was a bonus and I'm really happy I get to come back to play in the final again next year."

Related: Should juniors play in adult club competitions?

Two special awards were contested on finals day, marking out the PING Star of the Future in under and over 8’s categories.

Golfers in this category had progressed from qualifying by being the golfer who best embodied the spirit and character of the game of golf.

The Stars of the Future then took to the Gainsborough fairways to contest a gross score shootout over 9 holes.

In the Over 8 category Sean Keeling of Roganstown came out on top with a very strong score of 40 while in the under 8’s Sam McIntyre of Oulton Hall Golf Club triumphed with an impressive gross 47.

American Golf Junior Championships 2016

Sean Keeling (left) and Sam McIntyre (right)

Daniel Gathercole, Director of Marketing and Communications at American Golf continued, “We’ve been treated to some fantastic golf from a set of incredibly impressive youngsters today.

"Every golfer has approached the day with spirit and sportsmanship and there has been some tremendous golf on show.

"With a setting like Gainsborough and with Sky’s camera’s watching there has been a lot of pressure and every golfer, without exception, has been a credit to themselves.”

The Junior Championship is a vital part of American Golf’s drive to get more people out playing golf more often.

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x