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Japan, Here we come!

Japan, Here we come!

 (left to right: Eduardito Figueroa, Evan Peña, Derek Feliciano, Sidney Wolf, Kelvin Hernandez)


This week, Grand Reserve Golf Club hosted the North American qualification for the prestigious Toyota Junior Golf World Cup. The countries participating were Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, and Puerto Rico, the latter as the host. The female teams comprised four girls from Mexico, Guatemala, and Canada, while the male teams included Mexico, Guatemala, and Puerto Rico.


The qualifier featured teams of four players competing individually, with only the best three scores counting. Puerto Rico was represented by Kelvin Hernandez, Evan Peña, Daniel Belardo, and Derek Feliciano, led by Grand Reserve Golf Club Director of Golf and Puerto Rico Junior National Team Coach, Eduardito Figueroa. 


Hernandez started his first round with a four-under 68 and only improved from there, carding a five-under 67 and a massive six-under 66 to close out the 54-hole qualifier 15-under. Not far behind, his fellow countryman Evan Pena finished the qualifier in second place with a 54-hole seven-under. Belardo would finish 20-over par for a total of 236, while Feliciano wraps up the foursome with a score of 241, 25 -strokes over par. 


On the girls' side, Canada and Mexico finished tied after 54 holes. Canada won the playoff after two holes played on the 18th of the Championships Course.


This was a proud moment for PRGA President Sidney Wolf as "Puerto Rico's youth will once again represent the Island at the international level. We aim to create opportunities, and these kids are taking full advantage of this one. I thank the participating countries for coming to our beautiful island, especially team Canada, where it's still a bit chilly back home for them”, expressed Wolf with a huge grin. 

Many players who competed in the TOYOTA Junior Golf World Cup are now active as young world-class golfers. These players include Justin Rose (England), a Rio 2016 Olympics gold medalist and major tournament champion, Jon Rahm (Spain), the 2023 Master's Champion, who continues to be one of the world's top players, and Hideki Matsuyama (Japan), the first Japanese golfer to wear the coveted green jacket, who won The Master's in 2021.


Over the past two years plus, Grand Reserve Golf Club and the PRGA have been hosting international championships non-stop, a stretch like no other in their history, including the USGA's Women's Four-Ball, the PGA TOUR Puerto Rico Open, and the Latin America Amateur Championship, among others, with more to come.


The Chairman of the Toyota Junior Golf World Cup, William Kerdyk shared his congratulations via email “Congratulations to the winning Girls’ Team Canada along with the winning Boys' Team Puerto Rico.  These two countries have now won the right to compete in this year's World Team Championship, to be held June 20-23 at the Chukyo Golf Club in Nagoya, Japan. I wish each North American Qualifier participant safe travels and continued success in their golfing careers.”

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