BILLINGS – The PGA Championship opens Thursday, but Sunday in Billings youth golfers were stealing the show thanks to a PGA opportunity.
Peter Yegen Golf Course hosted an all-star team competition between Billings and Sheridan, Wyo., to close the PGA Junior League season. Billings players were clad in blue jerseys with Wyoming sporting orange.
There were six teams in Billings that played against each other all summer before recently trying out for Sunday’s all-star match. Billings is in its fifth season of PGA Junior League while the Powder Horn is finishing its first.
Kids ages 13-and-under got acquainted with golf over the past few weeks before laying it on the line at Peter Yegen.
“It took the team aspect of baseball and all that stuff and put it into golf,” said Jeff Allen, assistant PGA Professional at Hilands G.C. who led the all-star match. “You’ll see kids out there with jerseys.”
The event also allows spectators on the course, something the Montana High School Association forbids except in limited roped-off areas.
“Kids are walking, spectators have carts, grandparents, parents. We’re just really trying to introduce them to the game, and this is a really low-pressure introduction to competitive golf,” Allen said. “If they can start here at 7 years old, work their way through the PGA Junior League program, then by the time they get to our local high schools hopefully our golf teams, boys and girls, are littered with kids who grew up through the PGA Junior League program.”
Sunday’s match was ultimately shortened due to lightning, but Billings won 8-0. The winners qualified for sectionals in Idaho Falls on Aug. 23.
Those interested in PGA Junior League activities for next season are invited to contact the PGA professional or assistant pro at your local golf course.