‘We will see the next Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson’: Local golf course set to host AJGA tournament

Sports

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Junior golfers have taken over the Valley this week as Mill Creek Golf Course is set to host the American Junior Golf Association’s Mahoning Valley Hospital Foundation Junior All-Star and Preview Tournaments.

“[For the] past six years, we have had all 50 states encompassed and 27 different countries,” said Brian Tolnar, PGA Golf & Recreation director for Mill Creek Golf Course.

The two events will feature 78 player fields in each, meaning 156 families will be in town for the week, and that means a boost to the local economy.

“About $1.6 million has been raised to this point and about $70,000 to local charity as well,” Tolnar said. “We are excited about that, we are excited to fill the hotels, we are excited to get people out here dining in our community and share the Metroparks as well.”

“Tournaments where you have a local committee, local golf course that you can keep coming back to that truly support the event and that bring their local supporters, volunteers, that makes a world of difference,” said Katie Nord, AJGA Tournament director.

So, what can you expect to see this week as far as talent? Well, you might just catch a future major champion.

“We will see the next Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson,” Nord said. “Everyone you can think of basically starts playing AJGA at a young age and then goes off to college because, at the end of the day, that is our mission.”

Three local golfers will be participating this week and although they are just junior golfers, they will be getting the full professional experience.

“Our communications staff are out there doing interviews, taking pictures, got fans from the local community that come out and that just gets them used to it,” Nord said. “Like you said, when they get to college, that camera — 18th green flashing, clicking — doesn’t bother them as much.”

Play begins on Tuesday for the All-Star Tournament and is free of charge for all fans.

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