The debut of the NB3 Foundation All-Native National Youth Golf Tournament drew a field of more than 30 Native American golfers to Santa Ana Golf Club Aug. 3-4 in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico.
Navajo Nation golfers Skyler Woods, 14, Shandiin Harper, 17, and Zachary BlueEyes, 13, won their age groups and qualified for the Notah Begay III Junior Golf National Championship that will be held in Nov. 15-17 in Kinder, Louisiana, and will be broadcast on the Golf Channel.
“I’m definitely super excited and ready to go,” Harper, of Farmington, New Mexico, said in a press release. She plays golf for Piedra Vista High School.
Harper captured the girls 14-18 division by shooting 79-79—158.
BlueEyes, from Kirtland, New Mexico, won the boys 13-and-under division with scores of 87-88—175.
“I played good. Some holes I did bad, but I shook it off and just played on and tried my best,” he said. Woods, who plays for Kirtland Central High School in New Mexico, won the boys 14-18 age division. His scores were 83-86— 169.
Due to state travel restrictions with Covid-19, the event was only open to Native youth residing in New Mexico. The tournament hopes that by next year youth from throughout Indian Country will be able to travel to play in the tournament.
“I am proud of the youth, families and coaches who participated in our inaugural event. Despite the set-back with COVID-19, we were honored to host a top-notch event for Native youth and to continue to provide them with opportunities for their future,” said Justin Huenemann, president and CEO of NB3 Foundation.
Regional qualifying tournaments for the Notah Begay III Junior Golf National Championship are being held throughout the country.
Qualifying is open to all boys and girls ages 8-18 who compete in one of the four age categories: boys 14-18, boys 13-and-under, girls 14-18; and girls 13-andunder.
The championship is expected to have a field of 140 players.
The final qualifier – and second of two in Florida – is scheduled to held Sept. 27-28 at Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the-Hills, about 35 miles northwest of Orlando.
The first qualifier in Florida was held in July, also at Mission Inn.
Brendan Valdes (Orlando), Campbell Kennedy (Green Cove Springs), Caden Burr (Windemere) and Michael Mays (Winter Park) earned the four qualifying spots.
Valdes led the field with a 6-under 168 total for two rounds.
In a video post from March, Notah Begay III (Navajo/Pueblo), a four-time PGA Tour winner and current Golf Channel analyst, described the championship as “…a great way to work your way into a little bit higher profile and get seen by many of the coaches across America…”