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Locals Defend Home Track

Julie Luo, 12, grabs second in popular event for local golfers.

Although Bethesda hosted Tiger Woods’ grand PGA Tour event last week -- the AT&T National -- Herndon welcomed a smaller golf extravaganza on Monday, July 6. The Mid-Atlantic PGA Junior Tour rolled onto Herndon Centennial Golf Course for a one-day, 18-hole tournament. It was one of 24 events the PGA has scheduled in Virginia and Maryland this year.

The Herndon Centennial Classic featured 89 young players, which organizers divided into four age groups for boys and three for girls. Three Herndon residents entered and each played well. The youngest, Julie Luo, placed second in the 12-14-year-old girls’ division with a score of 87.

“I wish that I had done a little better,” she said afterward. The 12-year-old attends Rachel Carson Middle School and only started playing golf recently.

“I only have been playing for three years,” she said.

But Luo has won two of the three events she has entered this year on the PGA Junior Tour. Last year, Luo was the PGA Junior Tour Player of the Year in the 10-12 girls’ division. She also plays on the Plantations Junior Golf Tour and has had four top-five finishes in four events since last August.

Richard Shapiro, 13, finished eighth in the 12-13 boys’ division. Shapiro will be a freshman this fall at Herndon High School.

“My dad gave me a sand wedge when I was 2 1/2,” he said over hot dogs after his round. “Later, he gave me a putter and a driver. He also taught me golf etiquette.”

Patrick Miller, 15, will be a sophomore at Herndon this fall. He shot an 84 and placed 10th in the 14-15 boys’ division.

“Patrick is a good young player,” said Steve Clary, Herndon Centennial head PGA pro. “I expect him to play well this fall at Herndon.”

Centreville High School’s Han Joe Kim posted the top score of the tournament, a 1-over-par 72 to win the 16-18 boys’ division.

“Our junior tour is one of the biggest in the country,” said Bob Heinz, director of junior golf at the PGA Middle Atlantic section. “We have over 500 players signed up for the tour this year. Young players of any skill level can join.”

For further information on the Tour’s tournament schedule and player handbook, visit www.mapga.com. On the left-hand side, click “Junior Golf” and then “MAPGA Junior Tour.”