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NORTON, Massachusetts – While most of the region was hammered with another batch of heavy snow this past week, three of Mass Golf’s top junior competitors were showcasing their talents against some of the world’s top juniors at the 2018 Major Champions Invitational – an inaugural event hosted by World Golf Hall of Fame member and six-time major champion, Sir Nick Faldo. The three-day tournament featured 82 junior golfers aged 13-21 from 23 different countries and is an extension of the Faldo series.
Hitting the links at Bella Collina in Montverde, Florida, just outside Orlando, Massachusetts natives Dillon Brown, David Rogers and James Imai were among the players competing for Team Keegan Bradley, one of 19 active or past major golf champions who represented the junior teams. Vermont junior competitor Logan Broyles was the fourth member for Team Bradley.
The tournament, which also had representation from PGA Tour players like Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Tom Watson, most of whom were in town for this weekend’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, provided the opportunity for some of the game’s major champions to mentor and inspire the next generation of players while also providing the opportunity for them to give back to the game.
This past week, 3 of #MassGolf’s top juniors represented Team @keeganbradley1 at the inaugural @majorchampions Invite against some of the *WORLD’S* best competitors! With 82 competitors from 23 countries in the field, safe to say these gents have bright futures ahead of them! Full recap at MassGolf.org. (Photo credit: Dillon Brown)
Of the three Massachusetts competitors in the field, it was reigning Massachusetts Junior Amateur Champion Dillon Brown who finished with a team low 5-over par 221, which placed him T27 place on the leaderboard. After shooting a 1-under par 71 in Monday’s first round, becoming one of only 12 competitors to shoot under par in the first round, the Silver Lakes Regional High School senior registered matching 3-over 75’s in each of the final two rounds. His 5-over 221 was behind champion, Tom McKibbin of Northern Ireland, who registered a 12-under 204 over three rounds to win the individual title.
Two spots behind Brown was Needham native David Rogers, who sandwiched a 1-over par 73 in round 2 between a pair of 3-over 75’s in both the first and third rounds to finish at 7-over 223. His finish placed him in a tie for 33rd place on the leaderboard.
Rounding out the Bay State contingent was Brookline’s James Imai, who shot 75-75-78 in three rounds to place T46.
In addition to competing for Keegan Bradley, who won the 2011 PGA Championship, the experience was extra fitting because of his own ties to the Commonwealth. In 2004, the now 31-year year old Bradley attended Hopkinton High School where he won the 2004 MIAA Division 2 Individual Championship and garnered a second straight team state title for the Hillers, who had also won in 2003 with the help of fellow Tour player, Jon Curran.
In the team scoring category, Team Bradley finished 12th of 19 teams.
Highlights from the week’s tournament will be aired in a made-for-television that will be aired on CBS on August 11, 2018, leading into coverage of the PGA Championship.
About the Players:
Dillon Brown signed his letter of intent to compete for the Men’s Golf Team at the University of Maryland beginning this fall. At last year’s Junior Amateur Championship, held at the Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley, Brown finished the three-day tournament at 8-under par 205, holding off University of Notre-Dame bound Andrew O’Leary (Glen Ellen CC) and Notre Dame freshman, Alex Jamieson (Marshfield CC), both of whom placed T2 at 6-under 207.
Less than a month later, Brown and Rogers, a student at the Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill, teamed up to finish as co-medalists at the USGA U.S. Amateur Four-Ball qualifier held at Black Rock Golf Club. The duo combined to shoot a 9-under par 62 to earn a spot in the field at the Championship Proper, being contested this upcoming May at the Jupiter Hills Club in Tequesta, Florida. In addition to his play in some of the top junior events across the country, Rogers finished T6 at the 2016 Massachusetts Junior Amateur Championship. Rogers is a member of the class of 2019.
James Imai, of Brookline and a member of the Brookline High School golf team, is another former champion in Mass Golf events. The BHS junior, who set a course record at Manchester Country Club (Vermont) en route to winning the 2017 New England Junior Invitational individual championship title, won the 2016 Massachusetts Junior Amateur Championship at Salem’s Kernwood Country Club as a pre-junior competitor. In addition to his play in regional events, Imai most recently won the 2018 Orlando Junior Shootout the first weekend of March, one of the top junior tournaments in the country.
For more information about Mass Golf, visit MassGolf.org or follow on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram at @PlayMassGolf.