WACO, Texas (KWTX) Another year, another Starburst Junior Golf Classic set to get underway. There are a few changes to the 21st iteration of the annual event however. The first being there will be no caddies for the players. The tournament has also gone from four golf courses to two, and a three day event to a two day event.
The tournament has also combined the younger divisions to make it just a 12 and under division. But these changes may have little effect on the young golfer's game.
"They are starting at younger ages now," said James Williams Jr, the PGA professional at Ridgewood Country Club in Waco. "You know back when I was playing they were starting at 10 years old. Now what we are seeing, we're seeing kids starting as early as four or five years old. so they are getting an early start. The kids are better."
"You know, by the time they get to high school they are better than they used to be and playing junior golf, especially in the state of Texas is very competitive."
With big names like Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth having played in this tournament as Junior golfers the next generation of Texas PGA professionals could very well be in this tournament.
"It just reminds you that they were just like me at one point and now they are on tour winning majors," said Awesome Burnett, a junior golfer from the Dallas area.
"I've followed around Zach Johnson, and he was really nice, and he talked to me and he was really cool," said Abby Hirtzel, who will compete on Monday and Tuesday. "So i wanted to be like him and start coming out here."
These young athletes will also get the experience of seeing how a professional tournament is ran as the greater Waco chamber partnered with the Northern Texas PGA to run the tournament.
"I think it's great for young golfers to see that this is a great path to lead to maybe where they could fill some big shoes one day," said Autumn Outlaw with the Greater Waco Chamber. "But it definitely is a great tournament to kind of build the skill and see who else is out there."