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What is the FWJGA?
The Fort Worth Junior Golf Association conducts the annual Fort Worth City Boys and Girls City Junior Golf Championships. The tournaments traditionally are in July and are free for participants. There are no entry fees and no greens fees, and courses played include Fort Worth municipals and country clubs. There are eligibility rules, which a link can be found on the menu. The tournaments are open to boys and girls 8 to 18 years old. The boys tournament has been conducted since 1936 and the girls tournament since 1974. Thanks to the generosities of the City of Fort Worth and the country clubs, which donate their courses each year, there has never been a fee for participants.
Dates for the 2016 boys and girls championships will be determined in January or February. Tournaments usually are the second and third weeks of July.
Some photos from the boys tournament: Sycamore & River's Edge, Riverside, Meadowbrook, Rockwood
Ridglea, Mira Vista, River Crest, Colonial, Shady Oaks, Walnut Creek
More are available at Movin' Pictures
Trinity King, 13, wins girls title by three shots
River Crest professsional Reid Parrish presents Trinity King the permanent girls trophy
Trinity King, 13-year-old from Arlington, endured a nerve-testing three days by winning the Fort Worth Junior Golf Association's Girls City Junior Golf Championship, leading wire-to-wire. King shot a final-round seven-over par 77 over the 6,047-yard River Crest Country Club course for a 54-hole 12-over-par 227 total. She didn't start shaking until she checked her scorecard. "Look at that. I'm shaking," she said with a laugh after holding off challenges from Alexandra Batista and Maddie White.
King won by three shots over White, who turned 16 on July 2 and who was playing the three courses (Woodhaven, Ridglea and River Crest) for the first time. White, who's home-schooled, began the day five shots behind and played consistently, but couldn't make a key putt even though she had several chances to apply pressure. She had pulled to within two shots after four holes, but fell back by four after nine and couldn't mount a charge on the back, though she did finish with the day's best score of 75. (White is pictured left with girls director Madeleine Sulley).
But Alexandra Batista, who could have celebrated her 17th birthday Thursday with a victory, probably was the most disappointed as she fell to an 81, thanks in part to a nine on the par-5, 512-yard hole after her third shot rolled into a greenside water hazard. She began the day only a shot behind and had gained a one-shot lead after four holes. But even though she begin losing command of her driver on the tight course, she sill managed hold a one-shot lead after eight holes thanks to a birdie on the par-4 284-yard hole after a bogey onNo. 7. Then came No. 9.
King might have hit the shot of the tournament on the ninth after driving into a fairway bunker, laying out with an 8-iron to the middle of the fairway and then lacing a hybrid to within four feet of the hole and sinking the putt for a birdie. That was a five-shot swing with Batista. Batista's third shot had almost trickled into the water hazard right of the green. Her pitch from the taller grass (she said she shanked it) landed in the fringe short of the green and the ball rolled back down the bank into the water. After a penalty stroke, she pitched short of the green, chipped on and two-putted for her nine and falling four behind. "I tried to come back from that, but...I'm disappointed. I thought I had a good chance of winning, especially after yesterday (when she shot a 72 at Ridglea Country Club's North Course)." She finished third and five shots back at 232, though she did manage to pull withini two shots as late as the 15th hole when she parred the 138-yard par 3 and when King missed her short par putt. But King avoided a big number on No. 16 and saved par after her second shot on the par-4 stopped about six inches short of a greenside water hazard
White shot 37 on the front and missed another opportunity to close the gap on the 152-yard 10th hole when her tee shot stopped about 12-15 feet from the hole. King three-putted from about 30 feet, but White not only didn't convert the birdie, but three-putted, too.
King avoided possible disaster on the 386-yard par-4 16th when her second shot stopped about six inches short of a water hazard left of the green. "That's when I started getting nervous," she said. However, she pitched to about 12 feet past the hole and made the pressure par putt. White again had pulled to within two at that point thanks to her par on the 138-yard par-3 15th and King's bogey when she missed a par putt that was only a little longer than a foot. But after King salvaged her par on 16, another big opportunity never occurred as King parred the final two holes.
King said even after that putt on 16 and all the other adventures, she was unaware of her standing. "I was just trying to stay focused on what I was doing. I wasn't trying to keep track of the scores," she said.
After her par putt on the final hole, King knew she had won and that's when the shaking began. "I'm very exciting. This is a major win for me," said Trinity, noting that her 77 was 10 shots better than her finish last year at River Crest. The victory also was a statement to King's focus on golf after she gave up soccer this season. However, it was soccer that sort of got her into golf. She and her dad, Dan, had gone shopping for soccer gear when she was 6, but she saw some golf clubs she wanted and that's when she started. Dan, who had been a golf professional, said he began showing her how to play, but Trinity quickly took the the sport. "She was getting the ball airborne right away," he said.
Golf isn't the only thing she excels. She also was one of 125 frosh (which she'll be at Martin) to be selected from the Arlington ISD for a STEM Academy technical program that teaches science, engineering and math. She can earn up to 20 to 30 college credits when she finishes the program, Dan said.
Winning the First Flight, which also finished at River Crest, was Caitlyn Lindell, 15, of Mansfield who cared an 84 for a 259 total, two in from of Quinn Barber, 15, of Grapevine. Bryle Alcorn, 17, of Burleson won the second flight by shooting a 79 at Rockwood G.C. and finishing with a 253, two ahead of Ashley Riemitis, 17, of Fort Worth. In the third flight, Kenney Hailey, 15, of Fort Worth edged Jessica McCue, 16, of Crowley by a shot with a 272 total after a final-round 86. Gwen Lefler, 16, of Ennis also won by a shot after a final 83 for a 283 total. Finishing tied for second were Catherine Moring, 14, of Bridlewood and Rachel Morton, 18, of Cleburne. In the new Division III, Shelby Ferraccio, 15, of Saginaw won by seven shots after a final-round 46 for nine holes at Sycamore Creek. The players began at Woodhaven and played 18 holes. Because they didn't qualify for either Division I or II after their scores, they began nine-hole competition at Sycamore for the final two days. Fifth Flight winner was Lauren Wallace, 15, of Keller whose final round 45 and 217 won by two shots.
In the 9-hole Division at Sycamore, Ella Fisher, who'll be 12 this month, won the Championship Flight by carding a 45 and a 131 total. First Flight winner was JJ Betz, 11, of Keller.
Doug Higgins, 1942 champion, passes away
Doug Higgins Sr., the 1942 champion and longtime supporter of junior golf, died July 8. Mr. Higgins, 88, attended Texas Wesleyan University, where he lettered in golf and basketball. He was golf director at Diamond Oaks Country Club for several years and was an enthusiastic promoter of the FWJGA boys championship. He also helped the girls tournament start at the club, where it was held exclusively for several years. Mr. Higgins was a former PGA Tour player and business associate with Arnold Palmer. His two sons, Doug Jr. and Brad, also competed in the boys junior tournament.
Wendell Conditt retired as FWJGA executive director before the 2013 boys and girls championships after being the guiding hand of the Fort Worth Junior Golf Association since 1973. The FWJGA, comprised of volunteers, honored him by awarding the first Wendell Conditt Medalist Award to the girls and boys champions in 2013. The award will be presented each year to the player with the lowest first-round score in each tournament. Wendell presented the boys award this year after the final round at Colonial C.C. He's pictured at right with the award.
Wendell began his involvement with the boys tournament when the Fort Worth Men's Golf Association, which included the city's country club members, conducted the tournament. The free boys tournament began in 1936 at the behest of businessman Marvin Leonard, with help from Dr. Alden Coffey, with its purpose of giving all boys, no matter financial standing, a chance to play in a tournament.
The men's association disbanded in the 1960s, but had enough money remaining for Wendell and good friend Guinn Phillips to conduct the tournament for a few years. Several of Wendell's friends also contributed to help keep the tournament going. However, the contributions eventually ran dry and the tournament wasn't conducted in 1972.
Jack Montgomery of Fort Worth, a PGA Tour competitor and who had a sentimental attachment to the tournament, helped Wendell resurrect the boys tournament in 1973. Not only did Montgomery help raise money, he also bagged a donation of wieners and chili, and helped conduct the younger boys at Sycamore Creek. He skipped playing in the Western Open to donate his time.
''That year, we gave away about 10,000 chili dogs,'' Wendell said. ''We gave those kids chili dogs as long as they could eat them.'' Because there were few junior tournaments at that time, the boys tournament would attract large numbers, even more than 700 players, which is one reason so many chili dogs were consumed.
Before the age of computers, Wendell, Guinn and Star-Telegram sports writer Jim Trinkle often would be figuring results and pairings until midnight.
There were several businesses that stepped in to help the tournament, and one of the biggest supporters has continued to be Marty Leonard, daughter of the tournament's founder Marvin Leonard. The boys permanent trophy is named after him.
Woodhaven assistant pro Bobby Seaholm acted as tournament chairman when Montgomery became involved and, Wendell said, Seaholm was instrumental in getting the Star-Telegram to sponsor the tournament. In fact, the tournament became known as the Star-Telegram tournament to participants until the newspaper ended its sponsorship in the '90s. Also, Coca-Cola has supplied drinks to the boys and girls competitors for many years.
Wendell was instrumental in adding the FWJGA girls tournament in 1974, which was played only at Diamond Oaks C.C. for several years under the directorship of Benita Christensen. Over the years, there have been several volunteers who have been crucial in the organization's ability to conduct the tournaments.
Wendell had talked about retiring for a few years, and he and Guinn had handed over many of the duties to their sons, John Conditt and Martin Phillips, in the '90s. However, after a few years, Martin stepped aside and Wendell jumped back in as the director. Stepping entirely away from a tournament, Wendell said, has been difficult. The tournament has been a big part of Wendell's life for many years. And it still was when he announced he was retiring before the 2013 tournament.
Wendell has been the backbone of the tournament, and has been instrumental, along with Marty Leonard, in ensuring the country clubs and the City of Fort Worth have continued to provide their support by donating their courses for the girls and boys tournaments to make this a truly unique tournament -- the largest free junior tournament anywhere. Wendell also has had his friend, PGA great Lee Trevino, involved in helping raise money, which mainly goes for trophies.
Wendell's influence and guiding hands will be missed.
Present and past volunteers, staff and sponsors: Jim Barrett, Darren Baucom, Donna Berry, Chuck Birkhold, Ann Brown, Nancy Burk, Frances Busch, Randy Cairns, Martha Campos, Arlene Clark, Charles Clines, Leslie Clines, Colonial Country Club Charitable Fund of the Community Foundation of North Texas, John Conditt, Wendell Conditt, Gere Cozby, Vada Cushman, Pat Evans, Rudy Flores, Betty Floyd, Jim Ford, Suzi Gallemore, Ann Gilley-Hemphill, Melissa Gower, Joe Hancock, Bill Hatley, Linda Hicks, Jim Hilton, Gail Hitt, Brain Hutchins, Jan Jackson, Diane Johnson, Gere Johnson, Gay Joyner, Judy Knifong, Martha Kolb, Marty Leonard, Martha V. Leonard Fund, Wade Lewis, Harold Lockman, Kevin Long, Rick Lopez, Eugenia Ludwig, Jan Marsell, Debbie Martinak,, Ben Matheson, Dr. Don Matheson, Leah McCann, Jackie Meinen, Lyndle Motley, Rick Murr, Marilyn Neely, Larry Nelson, Marcus Newton, Dee Norris, Mike Pennell, Nancy Pennell, Orville Persons, Darrell Peters, Pat Peters, Karen Petrie, Martin Phillips, Chad Potts, Roberta Reeves, James Renfro, Sheila Rowland, Pat Ryan, Sandra Ryan, Piper Sanders, Barbara Smith, Karen Stepp, Mary Stembridge, Kevin Sulley, Madeleine Sulley, Dale Thelan, Kate Tran, Dale Thelen, Lee Trevino, Cameron Webb, Mike Wells, Lela White. Note: Congratulations to volunteer Harold Lockman, who at 80 had shot his age 647 times as of July 9, since he turned 67. Yes, he has played and is playing a lot of great golf.