By Diane Borden
An international field of junior golfers (girls’ division, ages 11-12) gathered at the Rancho Bernardo Inn golf course July 8-12 to compete for top spots in the 52ndannual Junior World Championships.
The 96 players at RBI were among more than 1,300 juniors, representing 56 countries and 42 states, who participated in the weeklong tournament at golf courses throughout San Diego County.
“It was an absolute privilege to host this prestigious international event,” said Peter Wininger, director of golf at RBI. “Our course was in perfect shape, thanks to our course superintendent Chris Hayman and his team. These are the best 11- to 12-year-old girls in the world, and the scores they were able to achieve were remarkable.”
Over the three days of competition at RBI, the field posted an average score of 80.07, according to tournament organizers. The young golfers scored seven eagles and 520 birdies; the lowest round posted was a 65 and the highest a 110; and the division champion shot 15 under par for the three rounds.
“These girls were amazing to watch,” said Cretia Hadley, a new member of the Rancho Bernardo Inn Women’s Golf Club, who has served as a volunteer at the championships for the last five years. “So many played under par.”
“By the third day,” she added, “many of the girls had become friends and were exchanging ball markers and contact information and taking photos. They were all such great sports.”
The top five division winners and their 54-hole scores were: first place, Chutimon Rujiranan (Thailand, 204); second place, Rianne Mikhaela Malixi (Philippines, 209); third place, Eila Galitsky (Thailand, 211); fourth place, Kexin Guan (China, 214); and fifth place, Kaila Elsayegh (Pacific Palisades, Calif., 216).
A second girls’ division (ages 13-14) played at the Country Club of Rancho Bernardo, and a third girls’ division (ages 15-18) played at the Bernardo Heights Country Club.
Other participating courses included: Colina Park (boys under 6, girls under 6); Sycuan Oak Glen (boys, 7-8); Sycuan Pine Glen (girls, 7-8); Shadowridge (boys, 9-10); Sycuan Oak Glen (girls, 9-10); Morgan Run (boys, 11-12); La Costa (boys, 13-14); and Torrey Pines North (boys, 15-18).
The San Diego Junior Golf Association hosted the first Junior World Championships in 1968. The organizers sought to host a tournament in which “juniors from all over the world could come together to play golf and share in cultural exchange.”
Tournament sponsor was IMG Academy, a private boarding school for student-athletes headquartered in Bradenton, Fla.
By Diane Borden
As the golfers prepared to caravan out to their starting tee assignments, the upbeat sounds of Hakuna Matata wafted over the cart-staging area. The title of the award-winning song from The Lion King means “no worries” – a message well-suited, perhaps, to participants in a daylong golfing safari.
“Swingin’ Safari” was the theme chosen for the 2019 Rancho Bernardo Inn Women’s Golf Club Invitational, held on May 14 at the Rancho Bernardo Inn Golf Course. The tournament drew a full field of 144 players on a sunny, spring day.
“The RBIWGC continued its proud tradition of treating Invitational participants to a classy, fun event, where players and hosts could shine,” said Romona Smith, Club president. “Led by Chairwoman Angela Schmidt, our ‘Swingin’ Safari’ theme provided numerous creative opportunities for the tournament. It was truly gratifying to see so many Club members and golfers embrace this event.”
In keeping with the safari theme, cardboard elephants, zebras and giraffes greeted golfers at the registration table; earth-toned tablecloths and colorful floral arrangements graced the luncheon tables; and tournament participants cheerfully donned a variety of safari-related outfits. Winners of the most creative team-costume contest were Shirley Rehkopf, Suzy Leif, Janet Stewart and Doris Cronkhite.
Sixteen teams won prizes for low scores for the tournament format (four-person team modified waltz), and individuals were rewarded for closest to the pin on the four par-threes, for the longest drive on hole No. 12 and for the straightest drive on hole No. 8.
The Invitational Committee also awarded first-, second- and third-place prizes in the tournament’s inaugural putting contest, open to current RBIWGC members and Legacy Club members who chose to forgo the 18-hole tournament.
Golfers began their early day with a continental breakfast on the Rancho Bernardo Inn patio and then proceeded to their starting tee assignments for an 8 a.m. shotgun start. After the round, players gathered in the Bernardo Ballroom for a three-course gourmet luncheon.
A large group of RBIWGC volunteers planned and produced the 2018 tournament. Angela Schmidt served as Invitational Committee chair. Other committee chairs included Hilary Quinn, registration; Donna Dahl, raffle; Romona Smith, tee-sign sponsors; Judi Berlin, handicaps; Liz Burchill, breakfast; Diane Borden, communications; Mary Jo Rice, player’s gift; Fran Maxfield, Legacy liaison; and Nancy Amon, costume judging. Many other Club members volunteered to serve on the various committees.
Among the Rancho Bernardo Inn staff who contributed to the success of the tournament were Peter Wininger, director of golf; Matt Loflen, tournament director; Paul Kipfstuhl, tournament coordinator; Nolan Schmuckle, first assistant; John Sullivan and Calvin Nollner, banquet managers; and all golf outside staff.
The Rancho Bernardo Inn Women’s Golf Club was founded in 1963. The first Invitational was held in spring 1964 and has since grown into one of the premier women’s golfing events in San Diego County.
CARTS IN MOTION — Participants in the 2019 RBIWGC Invitational caravan out to their starting tee assignments. The May 14 tournament drew a full field of amateur women golfers from across Southern California. (Video by Maria Chavez)
The Rancho Bernardo Inn Women’s Golf Club Invitational, scheduled for Tuesday, May 14, has registered a full field of 144 amateur women golfers from across Southern California.
This year, entries opened on March 4 and closed early because the maximum number of players was reached within a few days. The entry fee is $105 per player, which includes greens fees, golf cart, range balls, continental breakfast, magic putt, lunch and prizes. The tournament theme is, “Swingin’ Safari.”
Check-in for the event will begin at 6:30 a.m. for an 8 a.m. shotgun start. The format will be four-person team modified waltz.