Brian Mogg leads field of young golfers in junior circuit

June 28, 2011

By Christopher Huber

Young golfer Brian Mogg couldn’t help but be excited about his recent time spent in Palm Beach, Fla., with players from the PGA Tour.

Brian Mogg

Mogg, 15, has won his fair share of recent youth golf tournaments in the Northwest, but just finished a stint learning from the pros at the first ever Ryder Cup Junior Academy.

Mogg, who will play in the fall for Skyline High School, and about 50 other Sammamish and Issaquah golfers are gearing up for a summer of golf on the Washington Junior Golf Association circuit.

They will compete against about 175 other District 2 golfers, ages 8-17. They will play four tournaments and contend for one of about 50 total spots in the state tournament, held this year at Walla Walla Country Club.

“I get to see all my friends again,” Mogg said. “And I’m just excited for more competition.”

He was chosen as one of the top youth golfers in the country to attend the June 6-12 Junior Academy, where he worked on his swing and mental game, competed in stroke- and match-play and rubbed elbows with pros like Dustin Johnson and Hall-of-Famers like Lanny Wadkins. Mogg tied for third in the 14-15 age group at the 2010 state championship and placed sixth at the 2011 high school 4A state championship.

“It was awesome,” said Mogg, of Sammamish. “They watched us play and gave us a few things to work on.”

Among the other standouts is Spencer Weiss, 15, who will play in the fall for Eastlake High School. He seems to be on an up-tick after winning the Bellevue Classic on June 12 at the Bellevue Golf Course. He shot a first-round 72 and finished with a 70-stroke round two.

“Not only did Spencer shoot lights-out, but he does it quickly,” tournament director Paul Callahan wrote in an email after the Bellevue Classic.

Weiss will look to be a stronger force in 2011 after tying for 12th at districts last year and just barely qualifying for state. Eastlake teammate Li Wang will also be a contender in the 16-17 age group this year. He placed fifth in the 14-15 age group at state in 2010.

“Expect Li Wang to once again play well,” said Larry Weiss, WJGA’s District 2 tournament director.

Also competing in the 16-17 group are Chris Kobak, Jack Strickland, Paul Russo and Jack Fisher, of Sammamish; and Evan Ko and Alex Yi, of Issaquah.

R.P. McCoy, 14, will try to win districts again this summer, but in a new age group — he won it in the age 12-13 group in 2010. Mogg will give him and Weiss a run for their money, but will also have to compete with defending state champ Frank Olav Garber, of Kirkland.

Tommy McCoy, defending District 2 champ; Victor Wang; and John Hayes, of Sammamish, will make for strong competition in the boys age 8-11 group.

On the girls side of things, Issaquah’s Mersadie Tallman should put up plenty of low scores this summer as she tries to finish at the top of the age 14-15 competition. She finished seventh among 12- to 13-year-olds at WJGA state last year.

“I feel like now that I’m in an older age group, there’s more variety of different competition for me,” said Tallman, 14, who will attend Issaquah High School in the fall.

Going into the summer circuit, she said she’s hitting the ball well and balancing out her game in all facets.

“I feel good on the mental side of my game,” she said.

As Megan Wotherspoon comes off a 15th-place finish at the high school 4A state tournament, she will look to continue her increasingly consistent play in the girls 16-17 age group. Eastlake High School teammate Jamie Midkiff will also lead the way among District 2 contenders.

The youth began tournament play June 27 at Jefferson Park and June 28 at The Plateau Club. They play next July 6 at The Golf Club at Echo Falls.

Remaining WJGA District 2 Summer Tournaments

  • July 6, The Golf Club at Echo Falls
  • July 11, Seattle Golf Course
  • July 18-19, Mount Si Golf Course (District 2 Championship)
  • July 27-29, Walla Walla Country Club, Wine Valley Golf Course and Veteran’s Memorial Golf Course (State Championship)

Christopher Huber: 392-6434, ext. 242, or chuber@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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