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First-ever USGA event coming to Jamestown next week

The Jamestown Country Club will host a qualifier for the 74th Annual U.S. Junior Amateur golf competition on June 13.

uj dustin jensen at jcc 060222.jpg
Dustin Jensen, the United State Golf Association's committee liaison for the state of North Dakota, was integral in getting a qualifying event for the 74th Annual U.S. Junior Amateur golf competition, to come to the Jamestown Country Club.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun
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Connections could end up forming traditions — at least that is what Dustin Jensen is hoping for.

"It's kind of a crazy story," Jensen, the United State Golf Association's committee liaison for the state of North Dakota, said. "My previous life was spent in the golf industry and at that time I was a committee member for the governing body of the USGA so I traveled around the country and ran golf tournaments and helped them with things."

When Jensen moved back to North Dakota there was not a committee member of any kind in the state. One of Jensen's former interns asked him if he would take a committee role. Jensen currently serves on the board of the North Dakota Golf Association.

One of his most recent communications with the USGA and NDGA resulted in one of the most prestigious golf events coming to the Buffalo City.

The Jamestown Country Club is set to host one of the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship qualifiers on June 13. Qualifiers began June 1 and will run through July 1 at 57 sites throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

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This event marks the first-ever USGA qualifier to be held in the community. Jensen said since the announcement a couple of months ago, the response has been decent. There are 15 to 20 girls and 30 to 40 boys who will be looking to shoot their shot at the qualifier.

"There have been a few years where the state of North Dakota has not hosted any (USGA) competitions," Jensen said. "We used to host the junior events at the Fargo Country Club but numbers kind of dwindled and the east and west sides of the state are very separate in the golf industry."

"We talked about bringing this qualifier back and creating a rotation from Fargo to Jamestown to Bismarck. We decided to bring it to Jamestown right away because it's kind of the hub of competitions with the East-West Classics and a lot of people like to play out here because it's a little closer than Fargo or Bismarck."

Jensen said the event is also likely going to attract youth from other states like Arizona and California. There are 25 to 30 qualifying events nationwide.

"Every state and regional golf association have the option of hosting qualifiers but not all do," Jensen said. "It kind of depends on what it is and what's going on. It's kind of exciting to be one of those events and be able to host it here in Jamestown."

Entries were open to all amateur golfers who will not have reached their 19th birthday on or before July 30, and who have a Handicap Index of 4.4 or below.

Girls who come out on top in the qualifier will go on to play at the 2022 U.S. Girls' Junior is slated for July 18-23 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The boys are working to qualify for the U.S. Junior Amateur. The event is scheduled to be held from July 25-30 at Bandon Dunes Golf Course in Brandon, Oregon.

"The U.S. junior and the U.S. girls junior are the two largest junior golf tournaments in the world actually," Jensen said. "They are, hands-down, the largest recruited tournament worldwide. It's a massive competition for people to participate in."

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"We've never hosted anything like this from a USGA championship qualifier perspective," Jensen said. "This would be the most prestigious national tournament-type qualifier that the country club has hosted."

Jensen is the tournament official for the upcoming event. The North Dakota Golf Association will also be on site to assist with running the tournament.

"The quality of play will be very, very good," Jensen said. "You'll get the top 10 or 20 players in the state of North Dakota but then you are going to get kids from other states or other countries who are very good players and travel all around the world to play tournaments.

"They are seeking to get into the championship and so they do a lot of analysis of where their best chance to get in is. While it might not be a hugely attended participation event, it will be some really, quality competition."

Floodwaters have not affected greens.

The first group of golfers is expected to tee off around 8 a.m. and will finish the course around noon or 12:30 p.m. Jensen said the event will likely have tee times from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and expects the event to conclude between 12:30 and 3:30 p.m., excluding playoffs.

"You have to uniquely identify each qualifying spot so if there's a tie, we go back on the golf course and keep playing until we know who our qualifiers are and who our alternates are," Jensen said.

The Club will be shut down to outside play for most of the day on June 13, but spectators are more than welcome to check out the event.

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"We are totally open to spectators and would love to have people out there, no cost," Jensen said. "The magnitude of a qualifier like this is pretty major and it's fun to have it in our community and it's fun to see the work that golf has done in Jamestown."

Katie Ringer is a sports reporter for the Jamestown Sun. Katie joined the Sun staff in the summer of 2019 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire with a degree in journalism. She can be reached by email at kringer@jamestownsun.com or by phone at 701-952-8460.
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