Topsy Siderowf, who covers the junior golf scene for Golf Digest, sends observations from the Canon Cup, a competition between the best American Junior Golf Association players from East and West. It takes place this year at the Stanwich Golf Club in Greenwich, Conn.
Similar in format to the Ryder Cup, the 19th annual Canon Cup pits a team of the 20 top-ranked juniors east of the Mississippi River against their counterparts from the west. After two days the competition's score was lopsidedly like recent Ryder Cups as well. Having lost Wednesday's morning fourballs, 6.5-3.5, the West rebounded and led heading into today's singles matches 19-11, with 20 points at stake today.
The field is impressive: Both newly crowned U.S. junior champions are competing, Junior Amateur champ Cameron Peck, for the West, and U.S. Girls' Junior champ Alexis Thompson, the for East. Part of the reason for the strong field is that Canon Cuppers are treated royally, from their Polo outfits and FootJoy shoes (red saddles for the East players, blue for the West), to their accommodations at the local Hyatt Regency hotel.
But it was the golf that was most dazzling. I was taken by the ferocity of the boys' swings. Most were going for the green on the first hole, a 350-yard, dogleg-left par 4. Coach Martha Richards, on a recruiting trip from the University of Texas, said the girls are also "making more noise at contact." And they are good at such a young age. Victoria Tanco, an Argentinian who qualified for the East Team because she attends the Leadbetter Academy, is a ninth grader.
Richards was one of the few coaches present, simply because the majority of Canon kids are either going to college this fall or have committed for 2009. But there are still some plums to land. Kimberly Kim, the youngest winner of the U.S. Amateur at 14 in 2006, is eschewing pro ranks--for now, anyway--in favor of a college career. She has yet to commit.
Along with a pace of play policy which is strictly enforced, it was interesting to note that the AJGA has a six-point, card-signing procedure. A staff member is always in the tent to oversee the signing of every scorecard. They make sure the contestant as well as the marker has signed, that each 9-hole score is correct as is the 18-hole total.
No Michelle Wie incidents here.