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Team Santa Teresa Junior Golf All-Stars sweep U13 & U17!

Front row: 17U Team (L to R) Coach Terry Sullivan, Alex Thu, Brandon Pantaleon, Taiki Matsuya, Andrew Oh, Liam Eyer, Jaxen Castillo, Coach John Snopkowski. Back Row: 13U Team (L to R) Karl Besinga, Ethan Wang, Maximus Choi, Isabelle Duan, Sai Kaneshiro, Molly Liu, Brian Yu, Justin Hu.

Santa Teresa Junior Golf Club All-Stars is sending not ONE, but BOTH of their PGA Jr. League teams (13U & 17U) to represent region 12 at the PGA Jr. League National Championships!

Santa Teresa Junior Golf Club traveled to Santa Rosa Golf and Country Club in Santa Rosa, CA to participate in the PGA Jr. League Region 12 Championship September 15-17. A total of 16 teams from Arizona, California, Nevada, and Hawaii were involved in the two divisions (13U & 17U). It was a 2-player scramble stroke play and match play tournament. You can check out the results here, Region 12 Regional Leaderboard but one thing is for sure, both their 13U and 17U teams left with all the hardware as they took 1st place in each division.

Santa Teresa 13U leaderboard
Santa Teresa 17U leaderboard

Today’s Junior Golfer (TJG) recently contacted Coach Terry Sullivan to get more details on Santa Teresa’s Junior Golf Clubs amazing weekend that happened just 1 hour north of Oakland/San Francisco - in a smaller town called Santa Rosa.

TJG: Coach Terry, thank you for taking the time to share some highlights from last weekend’s PGA Jr. League Regional Championship. Let’s start out with Team goals. What were your team goals to start out the PGA Jr. League season?

Coach Terry: After many close calls at previous Regional Championships, our team goal we set was to advance to the National Championship this year.

TJG: Can you describe who makes up your two teams - 13U & 17U All-Stars?

Coach Terry: Our 13U team has five 13-year-old boys, two 13-year-old girls and one 11-year-old girl. There are four returning 13U players from the 2022 All Stars that competed in Maui, Hawaii last year.

1st place Santa Teresa 13U All-Stars congratulating 2nd place AZ Jr Golf at awards ceremony

Our 17 U team has four 15-year-old boys and two 14-year-old boys. There are four 17U players that had previous 13U All Star experience. We have no team captains, just leaders who take charge!

TJG: Obviously each player has the skill to be on the team, but what about the “team” factor needed to win, did your kids bond together well?

Santa Teresa 13U All-Star team taking a break together before heading back out to the course

Coach Terry:  Our Teams have one major commitment for all of their competitions and practice, and that is “support your partner and all of your teammates at all times!” Prior to each match/game/competition, each 2-player team member faces their partner and states "I've got you!" And they really mean it! 

TJG: That’s some pretty cool chemistry. I know strategy is also a key component in winning tournaments. Can you share some insight on what your strategy is? I know you won’t want to share too much since your season is still going, but what is the base strategy you work off of?

Coach Terry Sullivan gathers his 13U All-Stars together before heading out to the first tee

Coach Terry:  We just look for great personality matches, and make some strategic moves on order of groups occasionally.

TJG: Very nice. Seems pretty simple and basic, easy and not complicated. How about team strength. What do you feel is your teams (13U & 17U) strength?

Coach Terry: They understand that it's a team competition and don't get caught up in individual performances.

TJG: I like that. As they always say, "There Is No “I” in TEAM!"

TJG: Did you feel like you had your team trending during the year leading up to this tournament? 

Coach Terry: Both of our teams improved at every level of the post season!

TJG: Did the team outperform your expectations or perform exactly as you’ve expected so far? 

Coach Terry: We do not put expectations on the team's performance. We just set high goals, and work toward achieving them! 

TJG: Every good team must have great supporting parents, right? Tell me about your parents.

Coach Terry: Our parents organized multiple team practices throughout the late summer to help the team’s bond, they help dial in the teamwork it takes to succeed in this format.

TJG: Ok let’s change gears and talk about what’s coming up. Where is each team going for their National Championship?

Coach Terry: The 13U travel to the National Championship at PGA Frisco in Frisco, Texas, Fields Ranch West, October 4-8. 

The 17U travel to the National Championship at Twin Warriors Resort in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico, November 16-19

TJG: Can you describe the team’s excitement right now for this next and final phase?

Coach Terry: We are super excited to go to the National Championships, but understand that there are still goals to work toward and achieve!

TJG: Any expectations?

Coach Terry: Our hope is that regardless of the outcome at Nationals, the players experience a life changing opportunity and come home with memories for a lifetime!

The Santa Teresa Junior Golf Team in front of the huge PGA Jr. League Sponsor Banner

TJG: Let’s talk about the junior program at Santa Teresa. You must be very proud of it. This is your chance to brag a little bit!

Coach Terry: The Santa Teresa Junior Golf Club has been participating in PGA Jr. League since 2012, and 2023 will be our second appearance at the National Championship, with 2017 being our previous appearance. Coming from the West Region and now Region 12, it has always been a big challenge to advance from the Section Championship, and the Regional Championship, as there have been 5 National Champions from our region, and 3 from the Northern California Section in past years. 

Winning the NCPGA Section Championship and advancing to the Regional, and National Championship has been the goal for our All Stars since early July, and the players and parents have been committed to put in the hard work and dedication to reach the goal from day one!  

What it means to me and our team to head to Frisco, TX is that it validates what our program is about. The Santa Teresa Junior Golf Club (Youth on Course) is home to almost 500 junior golfers from all over the NorCal Bay Area. We pride ourselves on providing a safe, and inclusive environment for junior golfers of all skill levels, and try to offer an environment where, when Fun and Learning are presented as the primary goals, the performance will follow. 

Santa Teresa Golf Course - Home to the Santa Teresa Junior Golf Club

PGA Jr. League has been a wonderful and fulfilling opportunity for me to see our junior golfers play, compete, and grow in the game, while learning about being a part of a team. 

Click here for a team Facebook video --> Full team video

TJG: Do you have any notable stories from your current team (STJGC and STJGC PGA Jr. League program)?

Coach Terry: Yes!

Maximus Choi played in the 2022 Notah Begay National Championship, and has played in multiple IMG Junior World Championships.

Ethan Wang is competing on his 3rd STJGC Team 1 All Star team. 

Molly Liu has won JTNC events. 

Karl Besinga recently competed on the Steph Curry Underrated Tour. 

Isabelle Duan has won US Kid's State Championships and her older sister Olivia (2024) is the 40th ranked girl in the AJGA/Polo rankings.

TJG: Do you have any notable Santa Teresa Alumni from your program?

Coach Terry: Yes! The Santa Teresa Junior Golf Club's most notable Alumni include:

Justin Suh - PGA Tour member. 3-time NCAA All-American. Former #1 ranked Amateur in the world. (was not age eligible for PGA Jr. league).

Jackson Koivun - Current freshman on the Auburn University Men's Golf team/Former #1 ranked Junior on the AJGA. Polo, JGS, and Golfweek rankings. Quarter-finalist in the 2023 US Amateur. Multiple AJGA Invitational wins. 2023 Dustin Johnson World Juniors Champion. 

Kiara Romero - Current freshman on the University of Oregon Women's Golf team. 2023 US Girls Junior Amateur Champion. 2021 Polo Golf Junior Classic Girls Champion. 2021 California State Girls Champion. 

Kaleiya Romero - Current Senior on the Pepperdine University Women's Golf team. Multiple NCAA tournament winner. Played on 2015 Santa Teresa All Star team at regionals. 

Thomas Hutchison - 2022 NCAA All-American. NCGA Match Play Champion 2019. Multiple NCAA tournament winner (UC Davis).

Ethan Chung - Senior on the Cal Men's Golf team. Played on 2015 Santa Teresa All Star team at regionals.

Brian Ma - 2017 SF City Amateur Champion. 3 time All Ivy League player at Harvard University.

Anton Ouyang - Sophomore on the Stanford University Men's Golf team. 11-12 Boys age group winner at IMG Junior World Championship. Played on 2017 Santa Teresa All Stars who advanced to the National Championship at Grayhawk. 

Aiden Tiet - 13-14 Boys age group winner at IMG Junior World. At 9 years old played on 2017 Santa Teresa All Stars who advanced to the National Championship at Grayhawk in AZ. Played on the Brookhaven All Stars for the NTPGA in the 2021 PGA Jr. League National Championship.

We have over 12 former PGA Jr. League players currently competing on college golf teams and numerous others who have graduated. 

TJG: Alright, as we wrap up this interview, what is your favorite thing about this year’s team?

Coach Terry: My favorite thing about our 2023 All Stars is the camaraderie among the players, and their ability to come together under pressure. We have one player who is on his third season as a Team 1 All Star for STJGC, and three on their second season. The other four players have all previously been on the STJGC Team 2 All Stars and have worked hard to advance to Team 1.  

A quick picture with Charlie Brown to keep the atmosphere light before the round

TJG: How can we follow along as both Santa Teresa 13U & 17U teams participate at the National Championships? Is there a leaderboard?

Coach Terry: HERE is the Homepage for the National Championship. They will likely add a results link once both events begin. 

TJG: Thanks Coach Terry for taking the time with us during your busy schedule and good luck in Frisco, TX and Santa Ana Pueblo, NM. Region 12 is proud of you and your teams!

Coach Terry: Thank you!

Just the FACTS!

Team Name: Santa Teresa 13U & 17U All-Stars.

Age: 13U team -11 to 13 years old. 17U team – 14 to 15 years old.

State: California

Program: PGA Jr. League

Status: Region 12 Champions!

Home Course: Santa Teresa Golf Club , San Jose, CA / STJGC Homepage


PGA Director of Golf - Terry Sullivan

PGA Director of Instruction - John Snopkowski