Noblesville golfer Clay Merchant recently was invited to participate in the United States Golf Association (USGA) Jr. Amateur Championships at the Inverness Club in Toledo Ohio. Unfortunately for Merchant he will be forced to miss the tournament which will take place July 15-20 as he is currently nursing a broken foot.

Merchant was one of only four kids in the entire state to qualify for the tournament. The field of 156 golfers was determined through sectional qualifying which took place from June 10-25 at 56 locations across the country and in 39 states. Merchant already had received a spot in the tournament as he was in the World Amateur Golf Rankings top 50 age-eligible points leader.

Practice rounds for the tournament will be begin on July 13-14 with the first round of stroke play beginning on July 15. After July 16 the golfers will enter match play on July 17 and then the tournament will conclude on July 20 with a 36-hole championship match between the two finalists.

The winner of the tournament will receive a gold medal and custody of the championship trophy for one year, exemptions for all future USGA Jr. Championships if eligible, from qualifying for the next two U.S amateurs, and receive a spot in the 2020 U.S Open if amateur status is held.

The championships semi-final and championship rounds will be televised on Fox Sports One from 2-4 p.m. each day.

In 1948, the USGA inaugurated the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship to determine the best junior golfer in the United States and to help junior golfers realize the most from the game, win or lose. The first U.S. Junior Amateur was played at the University of Michigan Golf Course and received 495 entries.

Dean Lind, of Rockford, Ill., was the first champion. Lind defeated Ken Venturi, of San Francisco, a future U.S. Open champion, in the final. Only two players, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth, have won the Junior Amateur more than once; Woods winning in 1991, 1992 and 1993, and Spieth in 2009 and 2011.

In 2017, the U.S. Junior Amateur champion began receiving a full exemption into the following year’s U.S. Open Championship.

For Merchant this would have marked the second straight year he would have been competing in the tournament. Last season he ultimately missed the cut after the first two rounds, shooting an 11 over par.