On Thursday, June 18th, 2015, Chun An “Kevin” Yu, an uncommitted rising senior at Montverde Academy – who is also a full-time student in the junior golf program at Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, will have his name etched on the Milt Woodard Champions Trophy alongside PGA TOUR stars Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan and Jim Furyk after claiming the 98th Western Junior Championship in a playoff. A 2-under 68 helped Yu force a playoff with Carl Yuan, the No. 19 ranked in the U.S. according to Junior Golf Scoreboard, at even par after the completion of 72 holes. On the first extra hole, Yu clinched the title with a par following rounds of 71-72-69-68 at Riverside Golf Club in North Riverside, Illinois.
The playoff was the first since the championship switched from match play to stroke play in 1999. The Western Junior is the oldest national junior tournament in the United States and draws top junior players from all over the world. The tournament has been a testing ground for stars of the future, such as current PGA TOUR stars Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, Fred Couples, Craig Stadler and Corey Pavin. Following a second round of stroke play, the field was cut to the low 44 and ties with exemptions into the Western Amateur awarded to the top three finishers and ties.
Yu, a native of Taiwan, and known by his peers as Kevin, is just 16 years old and despite being somewhat of unknown junior on the world stage, is no stranger to big events. Yu will play the 2016 Australian Open by way of winning the Aaron Baddeley International Junior Championship – China and has represented his home country of Taiwan in many international events. By way of winning the Western Junior, Yu also received an exemption into the Western Amateur in August, which also has its own list of high-profile winners including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Curtis Strange, Ben Crenshaw and many more.
According to Patrick Donohue and Jordan Goltz of Westernjunior.com, “The final round of the 98th Western Junior championship provided drama befitting a major championship Thursday, with Taiwan’s Chun An Yu rallying to win the title in a sudden-death playoff at Riverside Golf Club in North Riverside, Illinois. Yu – an unranked 16-year-old who relocated to Orlando, Florida, from Taiwan in January – beat Yechun Yuan, the nation’s No. 19 ranked junior, with a par on the first playoff hole. Yuan bogeyed, the last in a string of five that doomed the University of Washington golf commit. The playoff was the first for the nation’s oldest national junior golf championship since the Western Golf Association switched the format from match play to stroke play in 1999… Yu arrived at Riverside with no major American victories to his name. Having his father on the bag all week helped change that and made his dream of winning the Western Junior a reality.”
Yu joins a growing list of major junior winners from the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy including Morgan Hoffmann (2008 AJGA HP Boys Championship), Patrick Winther (2008 AJGA Polo Classic & 2009 AJGA HP Boys Championship), Nicholas Reach (2011 Junior Invitational at Sage Valley) and Fumie “Alice” Jo (2014 U.S. Women’s Public Links Champion). Yu trains under the direction of Gary Gilchrist and his coach Matt Fields, Assistant Director of Player Development at The Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, located at Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey in the Hills, FL, 40 minutes northwest of Orlando. GGGA features a full-time junior boarding program, summer golf camps and other year-round golf camps and other private training opportunities.
WHO IS CHUN AN YU?
Graduating class: 2016, Montverde Academy & Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy
Junior rank: N/A
Major accomplishments: 2015 Western Junior (1st), 2014 Aaron Baddley Junior Championship (1st), 2014 Asian Games (1st team, 3rd individual)
WAGR: No. 164
College: not committed
The Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, located near Orlando, Florida, in Howey-in- the-Hills at Mission Inn Resort & Club, and is the world’s premier junior golf academy. In addition to the junior golf program, GGGA also features summer golf camps, winter golf camps and programs, training and golf lessons for amateurs, professionals and adults. GGGA is committed to excellence in every facet of golf, fitness, personal development and academics, being partnered with Montverde Academy. Gary Gilchrist, founder of the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, has been recognized as a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher 2013-2014 and as a Golf Digest Top 50 Teacher in America 2012-2013 and 2014-2015. Gilchrist teaches many of the games top juniors and pros at the Academy, including Morgan Hoffmann, Shanshan Feng, Fabrizio Zanotti and many more.