• The 14-year-old won by three shots in front of Sky cameras
• The Girls title went to 13-year-old Elle Gibson
Fourteen-year-old Kyle Honer has been crowned the American Golf Junior champion for 2016 after seeing off stiff competition from the country’s best golfers to take the title at Gainsborough GC.
Honer, a member of Roganstown GC, Co. Dublin, beat more than 500 golfers to take the top prize and comes just a year after he made the final and was dubbed a ‘Star of the Future’.
"It was really good fun and a great experience" - Kyle Honer
His handicap has been trimmed from 36 to 22 in that time and he played fantastic golf throughout the final, keeping his cool in front of the Sky Sports cameras to beat Dylan Shaw-Radford by three shots.
“It was really good fun and a great experience,” said Kyle afterwards. “From the qualifier to the final, it was well organised and they really made us feel like professionals.
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“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 winner of the Best Gross category at the final was Stirlingshire junior Lachlan Reynolds (above) – who represents Dumbartonshire Golf Union at County level – after he shot a round of 72 in the final.
The Girls title went to 13-year-old Elle Gibson (Shire Golf Club, below) who played the round of her life to score an incredible net 63 playing off 16.
Two special awards were contested on Finals Day, marking out the PING Star of the Future in Under and Over 8s 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 nine holes.
"We’ve been treated to some fantastic golf" - Daniel Gathercole
In the Over 8 category, Sean Keeling of Roganstown came out on top with a very strong score of 40 while, in the Under 8s, Sam McIntyre of Oulton Hall Golf Club triumphed with an impressive gross 47.
Daniel Gathercole, director of marketing and communications at American Golf, said: “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.”
About American Golf's championships
The Junior Championship is a vital part of American Golf’s drive to get more people out playing golf more often.
2017 will see a series of free events aimed at encouraging juniors and families to pick up a club when American Golf introduces its Family Cup, Pitch & Putt Championship and Adventure Golf Championship alongside the Junior Championship.
These perfect introductions to competitive golf for experienced Junior golfers and absolute beginners alike will complement the schedule of free events for senior golfers which includes Long Drive, 9 Hole, Seniors, Ladies, Scratch and Individual Championships.