The American Junior Golf Association, which features some of the top young golfers in the world, made its return to Greenwood for the second consecutive year with Monday’s Junior-Am tournament.
The AJGA Junior-Am tournament is a fundraising event designed to help local junior golf programs and the AJGA Foundation. It wasn’t played in Greenwood last year, but the Burton Center Foundation was selected as a local sponsor and main beneficiary of this year’s event.
The Burton Center, a nonprofit organization in Greenwood that specializes in assisting the physically and mentally disabled, will receive a portion of the funds raised through the Junior-Am tournament.
Burton Center Foundation executive director Jeff May said partnering with Discover Greenwood for the event came together after the Burton Center canceled its 30th annual golf classic in May because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s a great opportunity for us because of the fact that we had to cancel our tournament,” May said. “This ended up being a perfect partnership with Discover Greenwood and AJGA. They’ve been great, and this is real important for us because the revenue we generate help us fund our programs for the clients we serve.”
The Burton Center Golf Classic is a yearly fundraiser to help meet the special needs of people with disabilities in Greenwood, Abbeville, Edgefield, McCormick, Saluda and Lexington counties where no other funding is available.
The golf classic has generated more than $800,000 of net proceeds during the past 29 years. The Burton Center will get to continue that funding this year through the AJGA tournament.
“Outside of our annual fund and some grants that we receive, our golf tournament has been our biggest revenue generator,” May said. “To be able to join this AJGA tournament and still be able to get some revenue for our foundation is real important and means a lot to us.”
The tournament hosted a silent auction Monday with several prizes. May said there are also 57 hole sponsors for this week’s event.
“The community has always been very supportive of the Burton Center and the Burton Center Foundation,” May said. “We’ve got a good turnout with the teams and our sponsors.”
During the Junior-Am tournament, golfers also participated in an official practice round before the main Greenwood Junior Championship tournament, which begins today and runs through Thursday.
The Links at Stoney Point will host the 54-hole tournament. The field will consist of 78 boys and girls (ages 12-19) from around the country and the world.
Some of the best players on the PGA and LPGA Tour got their start in the AJGA, including Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Lexi Thompson, Inbee Park and Paula Creamer.