Buffalo Peak Plays Host to 91st Bob Norquist Oregon Junior Am
By Josh Gaunt for OGA.org
The 91st Bob Norquist Oregon Junior Amateur is scheduled for June 28-July 2 as the tournament heads east to Buffalo Peak Golf Course in Union.
The first Oregon Junior Amateur tournament was played in 1927, being one of the most prestigious and longest-running Oregon Junior Golf events. The event was named after Bob Norquist who has supported OJG for over 50 years.
The tournament features two rounds of stroke play qualifying to establish flights and seeds for match play. The winner of each division comes from the Championship Flight. The tournament will finish with three rounds of match play with the Finals on Friday, July 2.
“This is our only event that we have match play, it gives the kids the opportunity to see what match play is all about which is a fun format,” Oregon Junior Golf Director Shanda Imlay said.
Buffalo Peak Golf Course was designed by William Phillips who has also designed several courses in Arizona and New Mexico. The course located in the Grande Ronde Valley overlooks the Blue and Wallowa Mountain ranges.
“The course has been here for 21 years, it’s true inland links-style golf,” Dana Londen, the PGA Head Golf Professional at Buffalo Peaks said. “The course plays up and down, front nine is the outward nine, and back nine is the inward 9. It’s not overly long, from the gold tees it’s 6,489 yards. It’s about hitting the right spots or you’re going to have problems.
"It’s target golf. The ball stands up nice on our fairways and the greens run very well. We have a great driving range and practice area, it’s 400 yards long.” Londen was previously the General Manager at the La Grande Country Club for five years and before that the head PGA golf professional at Creekside Golf Club in Salem for 17 years.
“We have put our best foot forward, the kid's lunches are going to be great. We’re trying to lift the standard and we have a ton of volunteers,” Londen said. “We’ve tried to let everyone know that we're hosting the tournament, so the community is excited to host everyone.”
“It’s going to be challenging, this is the first time we’ve been in Eastern Oregon in the last 15 years for the Oregon Junior Amateur,” Imlay said. “But we’re very excited for Buffalo Peak Golf Course because no one has seen the course, which makes it an equal playing field.”
There are 110 players scheduled to participate in the Oregon Junior Amateur.
“We try and cover all the regions in Oregon and Southwest Washington, so I’m very excited to have Buffalo Peak to represent the Eastern Oregon region,” Imlay said. “Buffalo Peak and the chamber of commerce are pulling out all the stops for this event. It’s encouraging that they want this event, and the juniors there and we couldn’t be more pleased.”
Graham Moody and Kyra Ly both have repeated as Player of the Year for the last two years and they’re also defending champions from the Oregon Junior Amateur.
Shanda Imlay who has been the OJG Director for the last three years is retiring on July 9 as Joon Yang will take over.
“I’m retiring, Oregon Junior Golf is in great hands, Joon was an intern for Brent Whittaker the Director of Tournament Operations,” Imlay said. “He’s had a lot of great experience. He was our events coordinator last year so I’m very excited for him to take on the job after July 9. It’s been my privilege to be the director. I’m going to miss the juniors and parents who have made it so special, and it’s not even been a job, it’s been a passion so I’m going to miss it.”
“I have two boys who play junior golf, and it tipped my curiosity of running a tournament,” Yang said. “Getting a course ready and getting a tournament ready. Overseeing all the summer series events last summer including 18 one-day events, four junior majors, and six adult championships. It solidified the skills I had learned from 2019 because we knew Shanda was going to retire.”
“We want to thank Buffalo Peak for taking on the Junior Amateur and wanting us there,” Yang said. “They’ve made every effort to make it a great event out there, Dana arranged a lot of things to make us feel welcome. They helped with hotels and a guidebook to help parents and juniors see the town. Dana went the extra mile.”