Area golf clubs team up for junior tournament

Published 10:48 pm Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Suffolk native Preston Leigh, who’s currently on Old Dominion’s golf team, lines up a putt during a VSGA (Virginia State Golf Association) tournament at Nansemond River Golf Club this past summer.

Local junior golfers will have two fine golf courses to themselves on a prime weekend when Riverfront Golf Club and Nansemond River Golf Club co-host the Suffolk Junior Open on Saturday-Sunday, Mar. 19-20.

The tournament’s part of the Virginia Junior Golf Alliance, a tour of events around Virginia designed to be competitive tournaments while also introducing tournament play to golfers.

“We started hosting this event a couple years ago,” said Riverfront’s Director of Operations and PGA Professional Tim Newsom.

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The tournament was held around Christmas time, during winter break for middle-school and high-school age players. This edition was slated for Dec. 30-31 before the snowstorm just after Christmas forced a postponement.

Players will play both courses, 36 holes of stroke play, during the two days.

If nothing else, it’s a rare chance for young golfers to play two of the best, and toughest, courses in the area on what normally would be a popular weekend for lots of golfers to break the clubs out of the garage for the first time since November or so.

“It’s a way to promote junior golf and give kids a great opportunity to play competitive golf,” Newsom said.

The event comes early in the annual Virginia Junior Golf Alliance schedule. The VJGA is affiliated with First Tee, Virginia Commonwealth University’s golf program, the Middle Atlantic PGA, the Virginia State Golf Association and other area organizations and associations.

Results from the Suffolk Junior Open will count to the yearly VJGA rankings and to qualifying for the VJGA Tour Championship. At the same time, the Suffolk Junior Open is a tournament to prepare juniors to play in future tournaments. A “stepping stone” is how Newsom described it.

There’s nothing to lose, or it’s fully competitive, or anywhere in between.

Boys and girls, ages 12-18, can register online at There’s an entry fee of $120 and the deadline to register is Mar. 14. The field will be limited to 80 players. There will be flights, with prizes for, boys and girls in three age groups, 12-13, 14-15 and 16-18.