Lily Peng of San Ramon was named 2019 U.S. Kids Golf Girls Player of the Year, while the Boys Player of the Year Award went to John John Santospago of Charlotte, N.C.
Peng, who turned 11 on Feb. 23, tied for fifth in the Girls 10 Division of the 2019 U.S. Kids Golf World Championship in Pinehurst, N.C., and Santospago, 10, finished in a four-way tie for second in the Boys 10 division.
“This is a huge honor for me, and I want to thank U.S. Kids Golf and their local tours for helping me build up the skills and confidence to become the U.S. Kids Golf Player of the Year,” Peng said.
“I would also like to thank Honda for such an amazing award and opportunity. Receiving this award has encouraged me to work harder at the range, and I can’t wait to participate in the Honda Classic Pro-Am with a PGA Tour player.”
Peng, who started playing golf at the age of five, has won 15 local tournaments in the last four years, including four USKG Local Tour Championships, the Girls 9-10 Division in the 2018 U.S. Kids Golf Canadian Invitational and the Girls 9 Division in the 2018 U.S. Kids Golf Latin American Championship.
In addition, Peng had top-20 finishes in the 2018 and 2019 U.S. Kids Golf World Championships in 2018 and 2019.
A fifth grader at Dorris-Eaton School in San Ramon, Peng is coached by Jim Collins, Director of Instruction at Diablo Country Club and U.S. Kids Golf Bay Area Local Tour Director.
Santospago began playing tournament golf at age seven and has won nearly 50 tournaments in the last three-plus years. He finished in the top five of each of the three U.S. Kids Golf World Championships in which he participated.
Coached by Jason Sutton, Director of Instruction at Carmel Country Club in Charlotte, N.C., Santospago is in the fifth grade at Olde Providence Elementary School in Charlotte.
“It is an honor to win the U.S. Kids Golf Player of the Year Award, and I am excited to be accepting the award at the Honda Classic,” Santospago said. “There have been so many wonderful memories our family has enjoyed for the past three years thanks to U.S. Kids Golf, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to play in the Honda Classic pro-am.”
Winning the National Player of the Year Awards gave Peng and Santospago exemptions for all U.S. Kids Golf events through age 18.
Peng and Santospago received their awards from Chris Vonderkall, Vice President of Tournaments for U.S. Kids Golf, defending champion Keith Mitchell this week at the Honda Classic at PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
The award is presented to the top-rated boy and girl for their competitive golf season. To be eligible, players must earn Player of the Year honors at a U.S. Kids Golf Local Tour in the United States. This is done by winning the USKG Local Tour points’ standings and competing in four or more events within a season.
The National Player of the Year Award winner is the highest finisher at the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship who meets the above criteria.