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Junior golfers adapt in more ways than one at Pronghorn AJGA event

Junior golfers deal with disrupted recruiting plans as tournaments play on

(Update: Adding video, comments from player and tournament director)

BEND, Ore (KTVZ) -- If Sophie Dalfonsi wasn't able to play in tournaments like this week's AJGA Junior at Pronghorn Resort, she really isn't sure what she'd be doing.

"I'd probably just practice and maybe just pick up a new hobby,” Dalfonsi, a senior at Summit High School said Friday as she finished up her final round. “Because this is really my hobby, this is what I do."

She continued competing through the pandemic, but even an outdoor sport like golf has to adapt to the changes.

Katie Nord, a tournament director with the AJGA, said they had "to figure out the best way to go forward with hosting our usual golf tournaments and how that would look different in this new environment. For this tournament specifically, we worked with the local government in Bend to get approval."

One example: There were no scorecards this week. All scoring was done through an app.

Additionally, players were directed to stay six feet apart and wear masks while meeting with the scorer.

But unlike professional tournaments, the juniors playing in the AJGA are allowed one spectator.

"With these being juniors, they do need their parents to still help them out," Nord said.

While these tournaments go on relatively normally, what's different is possibly the biggest decision of these player's lives: choosing a college.

"I was supposed to go visit a few colleges on officials,” said Dalfonsi, who finished tied 11th in the 54-hole event. “So those were canceled because of the pandemic, so it's been virtual, online stuff."

Aside from eight locals, the rest of field 78-player field was made up of players from around the Pacific Northwest.

Traveling to tournaments like AJGAs is important for the recruiting process.

And players like Dalfonsi appreciate the get-away the tournaments provide.

"It's been great to have something to work for, and something to do," she added.

For more information on the tourney, visit: https://www.ajga.org/tournaments/2020/ajga-junior-at-pronghorn

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Jack Hirsh

Jack Hirsh is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jack here.

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