2007 Archived News


Patrick-AkinoijFollowing his second place finish at the 2007 Pepsi Little People’s Golf Tournament, his first place finish at the 2007 Country Youth Classic, his 10th place finish at the 2007 US Kids Golf World Championships, and his 2007 US Kids Golf Chicago Summer Local Tour Player of the Year Trophy this past summer, Patrick Akaniroj won the 2nd Runner Up Trophy after a scorecard playoff in the 2007 Doral Publix Junior Golf Classic – Boys 7 and Under Division. He shot a 34 for the first round and 35 for the second round (par was 35 for each day) was only one stroke away from the 1st Runner Up and four strokes away from the Winner.  Congratulations, Patrick!!




The top three finishers and all ties in 2-B and 2G through 6-B and 6G in the 2008 Pepsi Little People’s will gain exemptions to compete in the CKG (California Kids Golf) World Championship at Myrtle Beach, SC, August 6-10, 2008.  The format is three-day stroke play August 7-9, wth a team event on August 10.  High finishers for the first two rounds of stroke play for the 18-hole divisions will qualify for the team competition.  You can get more information at www.ckgtour.com, or email ebonham@ckgtour.com

All who qualify at Little People’s will be responsible themselves for contacting the CKG Tour and for posting their own entry applications.  Little People’s will notify CKG of the qualifiers.


Pepsi Little People’s is included in the AJGA Performance Based Entry system for boys and girls aged 16-17, as well as the AJGA Junior All-Star exempt status criteria for the 12-13 and 14-15 boys and girls.  For more information contact www.ajga.org.

Pepsi Little People’s is a ranked tournament for the Junior Golf Scoreboard for boys and girls 10-17.  We are delighted that this year the 10-11 boys and girls will also be ranked by JGS.  For more information, contactwww.njgs.com.

Pepsi Little People’s is also a ranked tournament for GolfWeek/Titleist Junior Rankings for boys 16-17 and girls 14-17.

Pepsi Little People’s is also a qualifier for boys and girls 6 through 14 for the 2008 Callaway Golf Junior World, and for boys and girls 6 through 17 for the 2008 CKG World Championships.


Manuel Rexach, 4, from Guaynabo, PR, has won his first three tournaments playing in the 6 and under division. For the first time in his young career, he scored a 2-under-par and was in red numbers! Manuel is looking forward to the 2008 Pepsi Little People’s as he feels that the experience of playing with kids from different areas has made him very confident in his golf game. According to his father, he is “now acting like he is a big boy”.

Alexandra Velez, 9, from Vega Alfa, PR, scored her first hole-in-one in a tournament recently. Alexandra’s sister Diana Camila, 8, is having a great season playing in the boys 10 and under category. She has finished first, second and third, and was second in her division in the Callaway Golf Junior WorCongratulations to these three players! We look forward to seeing them back in Quincy next June


Twelve Little People’s players have made the 2008 Rolex Junior All-American teams.

Luke Guthrie of Quincy heads the list for the boys 1st team, along with Peter Uihlein.  Austin Cody was named to the 2nd team, while Jace Long was given Honorable Mention.

Alexis Thompson was named to the girls 1st team, while Sarah Brown, Megan Grehan, Isabelle Lendl and Julie Yang was named to the girls 2nd team.  Elisa Aoki, Haley Sanders and Kristina Wong were given Honorable Mention.

Congratulations to all players!!!


Quincyan Luke Guthrie shot a 5-under-par 67 to finish with a two-day 139 total at the Illinois Class 3A state tournament to take his second consecutive title.  He ousted Ross Frankengerg of Barrington by 5 strokes.

Guthrie won the Class AA state championship in 2006 and finished third in 2005 to become the second Quincyan to win three individual medals.

Luke led his Quincy Blue Devils team to a second place with 605 team total.  The Devils thus won their 12th state trophy in their record 40th state tournament appearances.

Guthrie won the 14-15 boys division of Pepsi Little People’s in 2004 and 2005, and finished second in the 16-17 division in 2006.

Congratulations, Luke!!!

Lucy-ClarkJohn Tournear writes:

For the second year in a row Lucy Clark of Quincy, IL, came home with a 1st Place trophy at Crescent Farms Country Club in Eureka , MO.  In the Girls 8-11 Division Lucy carded a two day total of 169 for 36 holes,  winning by a wide margin over her opponent.  It was not any easy win, but was highlighted by some of her best play this year.

The Crescent Farms course and the weather conspired against all of the golfers on Saturday.  With recently top dressed and aerated greens, the putting was difficult, especially on the home nine.  The difficult course conditions and a steady rain on Saturday made it a challenge for all of the young golfers.  Lucy carded a 91 on Saturday.  However, she hit 17 of 18 fairways and was on the green in regulation 16 times.  But an abundance of putts drove her score.

The one good thing about the rain on Saturday was that it seemed to settle the greens down for Sunday.  With bright sunshine and blue skies Lucy was much more relaxed and focused.  She came out of the gate strong with a 1 under par 35 on the  out nine with a string of 6 pars and 2 birdies.  On the in nine she slipped with a couple of bogeys to start off and then settled down to play par golf for the rest of the way, except for the finishing hole.  She carded a 43 on the in nine for 78 on the day.  For the day she hit 13 of 18 fairways and was on the green in regulation 18 of 18 times. Lucy was well pleased, thanking the PJGT for having the tournament and her family for their support.


Allen Brinkley,  owner of River View Golf Club (formerly River Valley Country Club), where  the 10-11 boys play their competitive rounds, has announced that the course will have WATERED FAIRWAYS for the 2008 tournament!!

The course, which is also the site of the Pepsi Parent-Child event on Father’s Day prior to Little People’s, will also have new tee boxes.

Both of these additions, along with new clubhouse facilities, will greatly enhance the  playing conditions for the 10-11 (4-B) boys division of Pepsi Little People’s, as well as the Pepsi Parent-Child event.  

Allen is working closely with Little People’s officials to make sure that River View will be in excellent condition for the 2008 tournament.

“We are delighted with our relationship with Pepsi Little People’s,” stated  Brinkley, “and are looking forward to a great season”.


Sarah Brown, 15, became the only female to qualify for the Championship Flight of the historic 71st Lehigh Valley amateur, shooting a 4-over-par 75.  Her brother, David, also qualified by shooting a 1-under-par 70 and finishing in a tie for second medalist place.

Last year, Sarah became the first female in the history of the tournament to qualify for the Championship Flight.  In 2006, one other girl attempted to qualify for missed the cut.  This year, two other girls tried and failed, leaving only the  15-year-old Brown, who is ranked 19th in the nation, to advance to match play.

In the opening round, Sarah defeated high school sophomore Jordan Abel 4 and 2 at Green Pond Country Club. She joined her 17-year-old brother David, who was a 5 and 3 winner over Andy Lykon, in the 32-player second round.

In the second round of match play, Sarah 3-putted her way to oblivion, losing 5 and 4.  Brother David was 2 up through the 13th, but doubled 14 and 15, sending the match into extra holes, where his opponent birdied to take the match.

Congratulations to both Sarah and David on their fine play!!


Sarah_Brown07Sarah Brown finished the 2007 season with victories in two AJGA events, the AJGA Corse Max Runner in Elverson, PA, and the AJGA Fidelity Investments in Danbury, CN.  In both events, Sarah beat Marina Alex in playoffs.  

The spectacular finish won the 15-year-old Player of the Week honors from Golfweek for September 3, 2007.

Sarah, who plays out of Stewartsville, NJ, started the year working on her new “two-plane swing” which, according to her Father, Keith, is much harder to execute, but results in much better accuracy.  Keith taught Sarah the “one-plane swing” as a child, but switched her this winter.

In April, Sarah finished 5th at the AJGA in Atlanta, and 6th in the AJGA in Durham, NC.  She began to understand and trust the new swing in July, resulting in her reaching the final 8 of match play in the USGA Junior Girls.

Sarah and her family have attended Pepsi Little People’s in the past.

Congratulations, Sarah, on an outstanding year!!  And best wishes for the future.


Michael-SuazoMichael Suazo, 10, of Wheaton, IL, has two aces to his credit — both scored in tournament play this summer.

In a Madison, WI, U.S. Kids qualifier, he was three strokes down after 7 holes, pulled out his pitching wedge for his drive on the par-3, 93-yard hole 8th hole and made a hole-in-one.  He made par on the 9th hole to his opponent’s bogey, and won the playoff for his ‘ticket’ to Pinehurst this year.  It was his third playoff in a qualifier in 1-1/2 weeks.  

At Pinehurst, playing his third round, he aced the par-3 103-yard 13th hole, thus giving him two aces during official tournament rounds, playing the regulation red tees for 10-year-olds.

Michael also won player of the year in the US Kids local Chicago tour, and a ‘ticket’ to compete in the Worlds in Pinehurst in 2008.

Congratulations, Michael!!

Michael has competed at Pepsi Little People’s for the past four years, and “can’t wait” to come back next year!


Luke-GuthrieLuke Guthrie got a glimpse of life on the road this summer as he traveled from tournament to tournament.

The Quincy, Illinois, native played eight tournament, winning three and finishing in the top 10 in four others.  He ended the summer ranked 10th nationally according to the Polo Junior Golf Rankings, and was named Callaway PGA Junior Series Player of the Year for the third straight year.

Guthrie, 17, won his 14-15 division in Pepsi Little People’s in 2004 and 2005, and finished second in the 16-17 division in 2006.

“I wanted to compare myself to other golfers,” said the defending Class AA State Champion.  “I played well in them, so I felt good about it.

“My parents are great,” he continued.  “They always support me.  They knew I really wanted to do this, so they backed me.  That was awesome.  They understand this is exactly what I want to do all day.”

Luke took first place in the Rand Graphics-Wildcat Championships in Wichita, KS, the U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier in St. Louis, MO, and the Muskogee PGA Series in Muskogee, OK.

He finished third in the Rolex Tournament of Champions in Columbus, OH and the Westfield Junior PGA in Westfield, OH.  He tied for 2nd in the Stone Creek PGA Series in Urbana, IL.

Congratulations to Luke on his fine play this summer, AND in his previous Little People’s tournaments!



Jace Long of Dixon, MO, who has been a regular contender in Pepsi Little People’s, won the Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championships at Rivercut GC, Springfield, MO, August 7-9.  Jace shot 66-72-70–208 over the par-72 course.

Luke Guthrie of Quincy, IL, winner of boys 14-15 division in 2004 and 2005, and runnerup in the 16-17 age group of Pepsi Little People’s in 2006, won the 16-18 division of the PGA Junior Series held August 6-7 at Muskogee CC, Muskogee, OK.  Luke shot 68-71–139 over the par-71 layout.

rachel-powersIn the girls 13-15 division of that event, Rachel Powers of Quincy, IL, was victorious, shooting 83-80–163 to outdistance her nearest competitor by 14 strokes.  Rachel won the girls 14-15 division of the 2007 Pepsi Little People’s.

Congratulations to all the players!!



Jeff-WeisheitJeff Weisheit of Flower Mound, TX, scored a 10-under-par 62 in the second round of the Randy Smith Classic, presented by the Lubbock (TX) Sports Authority.  The event, conducted by the AJGA, was held at the 7208-yard Rawls Course at Texas Tech University.

After struggling with a first-round 82, Jeff came back to tie Stewart Whitt’s 10-under-par 62 in 2002 as the lowest score in relation to par in AJGA history, and broke the competitive course record of 65 at The Rawls.

Weisheit, 16, has competed in Pepsi Little People’s the past few years.

“I was just trying to take it one hole at a time because I knew there were still 36 holes to play,” said Weisheit.  While he had his putter working,it was just one of those rare days where everything clicks and works together.

“It really felt good,” Jeff said.  “Shocking, but really good.”

He recorded three eagles on the day, starting on #2 and then nearly acing the 382-yard par-4 7th, leaving a mere tap-in for an eagle.  He chipped in from just off the green on the par-4 11th for his final eagle.  He also birdied # 1, 6, 9, 13 and 18.

“I was putting very well; it really felt like everything was clicking for me out there today,” he said.  “You play all the time and nothing ever clicks like it did today.”

The buzz for Weisheit’s round started as he made the turn, and by the end of the day, it seemed every staff member, volunteer, parent and junior had heard about his low round.

Jeff finished the tournament with a third-round 70 for a 214 total and tie for 15th.

Jeff and his high school team head for Myrtle Beach, SC, in September for a tournament.



Sahith_TheegalaSahith Theegala, 9, winner of the boy’s 8-9 division in the 2007 Pepsi Little People’s, finished 4th in the recent US Kids Golf World Championships played on the Pinehurst, NC, No. 3 golf course.  Sahith scored even par 72s in the first two rounds and finished with a 4-under-par 68 the final round.

In the preceding Callaway Junior World Golf Championships, Sahith finished in a tie for 13th in the boys 9-10 division.  He tied for the best finish among 9-year-olds who made the cut.  He scored even par 62 in the first round, and finished 65-67.  His division was played at Welk Resort Excondido Fountains executive golf course.




Francesco-RuffinoFrancesco Ruffino from Bloomfield Village, MI, won the 12-year-old division of the U.S. Kids Golf World Championships in Pinehurst, NC, when he birdied five holes and shot a three-under-par 69 the final day on Pinehurst’s No.8 course.  His final 69 gave him a 215 total for a two-stroke victory over Beau Hossler Jr of Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, who had held a four-shot lead entering the final day.

The come-from-behind victory was Ruffino’s firstin a national tournament.

“Well, I kind of felt that I needed to play my game,” said Francesco.  “And I knew if I just kept plaing well the whole time that the birdies would come. I tried not to focus on what he (Hossler) did and just sort of focus more on my game.”

His strategy, “playing just one shot at a time, focus on that one shot.  Don’t worry about being four back or five back, just try to keep hitting one shot at a time.”

Ruffino has been playing in tournaments since the age of 5, and has competed in Pepsi Little People’s several times, having tied for third in the 8-9 boys division in 2004.



Patrick-AkanirojPatrick Akaniroj,  7, who finished second in Division 2-B (Boys 6-7) of the 2007 Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships, shot a one-over-par 39 to take first place  in the US Kids Golf Chicago Summer Tour Championship, to secure his Player of the Year trophy for the Boys 7 division.

Patrick also placed 10th in the Boys 7 Division of the US Kids Golf World Championships, shooting a three over par 38-35-38–111, just 8 shots behind the leader.  His 35 the second day placed him among the top 10 low scores for the day and earned him a silver plate.

Akaniroj, from Willow Springs, IL, qualified for the 2008 US Kids Golf World Championships by virtue of his Player of the Year status.




LPGA Co-Founder Marilynn Smith visits with 13-year-old Rory  McIlroy at the 2002 Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships


Little People’s can claim another ‘victory’ in a British Open, to go along with Ben Curtis and Todd Hamilton.

Rory McIlroy from Holywood, N. Ireland, who competed in Pepsi Little People’s as a 12 and 13-year-old, made news when he shot a first-round 68 in the recent British Open — just three strokes behind the leader Sergio Garcia.

Rory, now 18, made the cut and finished with 76-73-72–289, just 12 shots back of the winner, to take the Silver Medal as low amateur.

Young McIlroy finished third in the 2002 Pepsi Little People’s in the 12-13 division played at Indian Trails Golf Club (now Arrowhead Heights) in Camp Point, IL.

Ben Curtis, who won the British Open in 2003, finished with a 65 for a tie for 8th in this year’s event.



Congratulations to our Pepsi Little People’s players who went on to finish first or second in the Country Youth Classic the following week in Bloomington, IL!!

They included Bretz Sodetz, first in Division 1-B, also winning the long drive and putting contest for that division;Chandler Davis and Deon Germishuys, who tied for second in 1-B; Patrick Akaniroj, first in Division 2-B; Gustav DeLange, second in 2-B and winner of that division’s putting contest; Leigha Kelly, winner of division 2-G and first in that division’s driving and putting contests; Orion Yamat and Russell Matos, who finished first and second respectively in Division 3-B, and David Basa and Allenby Ramos, who finished first and second respectively in Division 4-B.

Also, Yueer Feng, winner of Division 4-G and first in the driving and putting contests in that division; Felicia Medalla, second in 4-G; Brian Bullington and Joann Germishuys, who finished first and second respectively in 5-B;Ember Schuldt, winner of 6-G and first in the driving and putting contests in that Division, and Jenna Wampler, second in 6-G.

Congratulations to ALL of the players — we hope to see you back at Pepsi Little People’s next year.


Russell Matos, 8, of Lombard, IL, a regular contender at Pepsi Little People’s, scored his first hole-in-one on the fourth hole of the Cantigny Youth Links course.

Russell took a full swing with his 56 degree Vokey Wedge. The ball took one hop and dunked straight into the hole. He backed up the ace with a round of 27, including 13 putts.hole-in-one


Congratulations Russell!!! We are looking forward to seeing you at Little People’s in June!!

See video (QuickTime)   Download QuickTime



Zach Johnson of Cedar Rapids, IA, who competed in the 1992 and 1993 Pepsi Little People’s, has won the coveted Masters title in Augusta, GA.

Zach, 31, competed in the 16-17 division in 1992 and 1993, finishing in a tie for 7th in the 1993 event.

This is Zach’s first major victory on the PGA Tour.

Other Pepsi Little People’s alumni who have won major victories on the Tour include Ben Curtis, who won the 2003 British Open, and Todd Hamilton, winner of the 2004 British Open.


Little People’s players Russell Matos and Claire Hodges each won their 8-year-old divisions at the U.S. Kids tournament played at Jekyll Island, GA, February 18-19.

Russell was tied for the lead at 1-over-par 37 after day one, and matched it on day two for a two-stroke victory.  Claire shot a first-round 38, four shots off the lead, but finished with a divisio low 33 on day two to take the championship by two strokes.

Both Matos and Hodges are now qualified for the U.S. Kids World Championships at Pinehurst in August.

 Congratulations, Russell and Claire!!!  Here they are with their U.S. Kids trophies.Russell-and-Claire-US-Kids








The USA World qualifier event for South Africa has held January 20-21 at Eagle Canyon Country Club, Honeydew, Johannesburg, South Africa.  More than 120 players from around South Africa competed. 

Littlekidsgolf, which has the rights to host qualifiers, held the event to qualify players to represent their country at various championships in the United States, including Pepsi Little People’s, Callaway Junior World, US Kids and the Optimist Tournament.

“The committee wishes to extend their gratitude and thanks to these organizations in awarding Littlekidsgolf the rights to host these qualifiers for these prestige events,” writes founding member Allan Burke of Littlekidsgolf.  

Winners of the various divisions were:  

Boys 13 – Haydn Porteous 
Boys 12 – Angus Ellis-Cole
Girls 12 – Lara Weinstein
Boys 11 – Dylan Raubenhiemer  
Girls 11 – Gemma May Grotepass  
Boys 10 – Lieben Sheard
Girls 10 – Courtenay Morris  
Boys 9 – Aneurin Gounden 
Boys 8 – Eric Wowor  
Girls 9 – Eleonora Galletti 
Boys 7 – Deon Germishuys
Girls 7 – Brittney-Fay Berger  
Boys 6 & under – Alexander van de Merwe
Girls 6 & under – Kaiyuree Moodley

All of these, along with several others from South Africa, are expected to compete in the 2007 Pepsi Little People’s.

Congratulations to all of these fine players!  We look forward to seeing you and your families at Pepsi Little People’s in June.



Katrina Delen-Briones, one of the 2006 Pepsi Little People’s/First Tee Scholars, was featured on the cover of the Fall 2006 First Tee magazine, along with her playing partner, World Golf Hall of Famer Hale Irwin.

The 16-year-old representing The First Tee of San Francisco, played in the 2006 Little People’s and finished 5th in a field of 42 in the 16-17 girls division.  She was later honored as  one of two recipients of the inaugural President’s Youth Leadership Award by the USGA and AJGA.

She participated in The First Tee Open in 2006 at Pebble Beach and tied for third with partner Jay Haas.  

In a five-hole alternate shot charity event in August, Katrina teamed with Hale Irwin to finished T-3, netting her First Tee Chapter $1000.

Congratulations, Katrina!!