qualifier played at Lake Mer- ced and Harding Park. Not bad for a one-time baseball star who didn’t get serious about golf until four years ago after breaking his wrist sliding into second base. Now Sebastian is entertain- ing numerous scholarship offers and dreaming of play- ing professionally. But just as Alexandra Wong has been a coach and mentor to many kids at the First Tee of San Francisco, Sebastian has also learned to give back to the game that has given him so much. He is a junior at the Stevenson School in Pebble Beach and frequently travels up the road to volunteer at the NCGA headquarters, where he has done everything from office work like stuffing envelopes to conducting youth clin- ics. “It’s the least I can do,” Sebastian says. “People have been very generous in helping me.” This includes an honor-
ary membership to Monterey Peninsula Country Club. And did we mention that Stevenson is located adjacent to Spyglass Hill Golf Course and that’s where the team practices four days a week? Sebastian knows that wherever he goes to college, his home course is going to be slightly less fa- mous. With a laugh, he says, “Yeah, you can get pretty spoiled being a junior golfer around here.”
Alan Shipnuck is a senior writer for Sports Illustrated and writes two weekly columns for cnnsi.com.
Junior Tour Players of the Year
The 2012 Junior Tour of Northern California points season concluded in August at Mayacama GC with two first-time winners receiving player-of-the-year honors: Carly Childs and Jacob Solomon. The August Tour Championship was a
result of a change in scheduling whereby the five-year-old Junior Tour’s calendar began in the fall of 2011 and ran through the summer to better align with the school year. Childs, an 18-year-old from Alameda, earned the 2012 Girls JTNC player-of-the-year award via winning two JTNC events at the Reserve at Spanos Park and Roddy Ranch, the second tour- nament by a margin of 16 strokes. Her final round at Roddy Ranch was powered by six birdies on the way to a five-under 67. In other JTNC events, it was common to find Childs among the top three finishers as she earned runner-up honors at Stockton GCC/Swenson Park, Poppy Ridge and Shadow Lakes. In a three-week span during late June and early July, Childs played solidly in two NCGA events earning top six finishes at the Women’s Championship (T-6th) and the Junior Championship (3rd), and made it to the quarterfinals of the California Junior Girls’ State Cham- pionship. But her biggest coup was a strong performance at the Northern California CIF HS Girls Championship last November, where the Alameda High School senior took first place overall, firing a 71 at Stanford GC. Childs qualified for the championship by setting an NCS record of seven-under-par 64 at Las Positas GC. Childs’ terrific golf game led to several scholarship offers from different universities, but ultimately, the Alameda native decided to stay close to home and take a scholarship offer from the University of California-Berkeley. She began competing for the Golden Bears this fall, just missing the opportunity to play with her sister, Emily, who recently finished up her senior year with the team.
Carly Childs Jacob Solomon
The Boys POY race was much tighter and wasn’t decided until the con- clusion of the Tour Championship. In the end, Solomon earned the honor over fellow Dublin resident Justin Pagila. Solomon was bolstered by a win at San Jose CC and performed well at other JTNC events at the Reserve at Spanos Park (T-3rd), Diablo Grande (T-5th) and Poppy Ridge (T-9th). Besides his success on the Junior Tour, the 15-year-old won three AJGA events and placed first in his division in two NCGA events (JGANC/NCGA Nor Cal Players and NCGA Junior). With his steady play in a variety of tournaments in 2012 and fearless play against players two and three years older, the sophomore at Dublin High proved he will be a perennial threat in future junior events across Northern California. The Junior Tour of Northern California, which began in 2012, is a part- nership with the NCGA and the Northern California chapter of the NCPGA.