NORTH AUGUSTA — An area golf course that's hosted its fair share of championship tournaments can now add another to the list.
The 2019 Vaughn Taylor Championship is coming in early June to North Augusta's Mount Vintage Golf Club, site of past championships like the LPGA's Asahi Ryokuken International Championship, the NGA Tour's Kandy Waters Memorial Classic, and most recently the South Carolina High School League's Class AA state championship.
The Vaughn Taylor Championship has been a top event on the American Junior Golf Association circuit for nearly a decade, and it's making the move across the Savannah River following the closure of previous host site Jones Creek Golf Club in Evans.
A field of 78 juniors, 54 boys and 24 girls, will make up the final field. Eleven of those players will come from a 100-player qualifier held June 2. The 54-hole event begins June 4.
"We're really excited about coming to Mount Vintage. It's a great venue, a great golf course," said Taylor, who has two top-10 finishes this season on the PGA Tour. "Seeing that the LPGA used to play here, I've played here a good number of times, this is gonna be a great venue for the kids to play. There's plenty of space, plenty of room, great practice facilities. It's just gonna be a good place to host this event."
The layout at Mount Vintage, a course built for championship golf, should pose a challenge to the juniors. There were only two under-par rounds over two days at the Class AA state championship this past week, won by Fox Creek senior Colin Trahan at 5 under.
"It's a hilly golf course, a physically demanding golf course. I don't know how far the kids are gonna be driving it on some of these holes," Taylor said. "For me, from the back tees it's a great test. I think it's gonna be a good test for the kids.
"Hard to say how the setup is gonna be, things of that nature. Looking forward to seeing how they do. I know the first year is always a little bit of a roll of the dice, trying to figure out setup and things. Hopefully everything will go well, and we'll see how it goes."
The tournament will be open to the public with no charge for entry. Guests will have clubhouse access for refreshments and food purchase.
"We're very excited to be a part of this, and I'm glad to see Vaughn here," said head professional David Usry. "Vaughn and I go back – we grew up on the same side of town, so we know what junior golf's all about. We're very excited to have the tournament here, and I know all the residents are. We're looking forward to it."
In addition to a new venue, a new logo and a new primary sponsor, the 2019 Vaughn Taylor Championship will also occupy a new page on the calendar. Since its inception, the tournament has typically teed off in the middle of July, with occasional tournament dates at the end of the month. Playing in early June should produce more pleasant weather while also taking advantage of the current condition of the course.
Regardless of all of those changes, it still brings a smile to Taylor's face every time he sees his name associated with the event.
"It's a great feeling. Every time this time of year comes around, I still can't believe that I actually am part of this tournament and its continued success," he said. "It feels really good. I'm really proud to have my name on it and be behind it and support the local community and the AJGA, as well. It was a big part of my upbringing, and I know how important junior golf is. It's really nice to behind the tournament and behind the kids."