CNMI national golfer Joshua Atalig has been invited to take part in not one but two tournaments by the American Junior Golf Association.
The son of fellow national golfer J.J. Atalig was first invited by the AJGA to the qualifier for the K.J. Choi Foundation Junior Championship presented by Overnight Printing Seattle on July 11 at The Golf Club at Hawks Prairie in Lacey, Washington.
The younger Atalig’s next invite is to the qualifier for the AJGA Junior at the Peach Tree Golf & Country Club in Marysville, California on July 18.
The 15-year-old from Marianas High School was simply pumped after getting the twin invites from AJGA.
“Well my reaction to getting the letter was just pretty excited and it really locked me in. This is finally gonna happen.”
He also extended his gratitude to his parents for allowing him to get hooked on golf at a young age.
“I’d definitely like to thank my parents for making any of this even possible and especially my dad for always being hard on me by pushing me to get better everyday.”
To prepare for the two tournaments in the U.S., Joshua has pretty much been a staple on the golf course.
“Well I’ve been training everyday here such as working on my swing, short game, etc. But when we leave Friday we have two practice rounds Saturday and Sunday just to get a feel of how the course is, conditions, greens, etc.”
He’s also glad that the Mini Games last month also gave him a feel of how high-level competition looks like.
“It really showed me how the competition outside of Saipan is and it helped me feel what it is like to be in a real tournament. Outside of the small ones we have here,” he said.
For his father’s part, J.J. Atalig said he and his wife will always be supportive of their son and this includes allowing him to spread his wings in the two junior tournaments off-island.
“My wife and I were excited for him that he was accepted. He is able to put Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands on the map at the junior level.”
Mini Games golf sports competition manager Geri Dela Cruz congratulated Joshua and his proud parents for his latest achievement.
“The CNMI should be proud of Joshua for being invited to compete in national junior golf tournaments. Joshua grew in this sport competing against older golfers which include his dad. We wish him luck in these tournaments and hope that he will gain experience playing with juniors from all over our country.”
Joshua finished with a score of 383 in the four rounds of the Mini Games at the Coral Ocean Resort Golf Course.
He shot an 80 on Day 1 before firing an 82 and 83 in the next two rounds. Joshua then helped the CNMI to a bronze medal finish in the team event on the last day by carding a 78.
Joshua is set to fly out to the U.S. mainland this Friday, July 8. His father, J.J., will also follow him and will be by his side while he competes.