Rolex girls tournament on tap

When the American Junior Golf Association’s Rolex Girls Junior Championship teed off this week at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club, the 78-player field included some of the country’s best female junior golfers. Right there among them was Katie Sylvan, a La Jolla Country Club member and recent Francis Parker graduate.

Sylvan was scheduled to play in the elite AJGA event, a three-day, 54-hole championship event that featured players from as far away as Florida, New York, Hawaii and just about every other corner of the country.

The AJGA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. It has a membership of more than 5,000 and puts on more than 80 tournaments a year across the country, as well as around 40 qualifying events.

Many of the top players on the men’s and women’s professional tours today are AJGA alumni, including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Paula Creamer, Lorena Ochoa and Morgan Pressel.

The schedule of events for the Rolex Girls Junior Championship included a practice round on June 16 followed by 54 holes of golf Wednesday through Friday. As a special treat to the players, many of whom are ranked among the top junior players in the country, Tuesday night featured a dinner hosted by Nancy Lopez, the longtime LPGA star and World Golf Hall of Fame member.

Sylvan is currently ranked 31st nationally among girls junior players by Golfweek magazine.

As a senior at Francis Parker this year, she was named the Coastal League Player of the Year and helped the school to the league title. She was also named to the San Diego Hall of Champions all-section team.

Sylvan was also honored as a member of the All-CIF San Diego Section team in 2007.

Sylvan has committed to attend Harvard in the fall and play golf for the Crimson. Boasting a 4.53 GPA, she was named to the AJGA’s HP Scholastic Junior All-America team last fall, an elite group of 12 girls and 12 boys. Sylvan won the organization’s essay contest for a short essay about her experiences traveling around the country playing junior golf.

She was also nominated for the AJGA’s 2008 Presidents’ Youth Leadership Award for her work with The First Tee of San Diego, the San Diego Zoo, the Children’s Hospital Toddler School and Autism Intervention Center and the Parker Youth in Action chapter of Free the Children.