Team Minnesota's Kathryn VanArragon, 13, during the Skills Challenge at the 2018 PGA Jr. League Championship presented by National Car Rental. (Photo by Darren Carroll/PGA of America)
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Nov. 18, 2018) – Since the ripe age of three, Team Minnesota’s Kathryn VanArragon has been swinging a golf club. Fast forward 10 years, after trading in the plastic clubs for a set of irons, and it’s no surprise her name is forever etched in Minnesota’s history books. In June, VanArragon became the first-ever 7th grader to claim the Minnesota State AAA High School Golf Championship title—by three strokes.
“It was amazing, and I’m just really grateful I had that experience, especially as a 7th grader,” VanArragon said about winning gold. “It was a good experience to have at that age. It sets the standard for once I start competing in high school.”
Fun and fearlessness – a tandem for VanArragon that knows no limits and continues to shine bright for PGA Jr. League’s Team Minnesota. Captain Jay Norman, PGA, and Coach Tony Serpico’s squad are competing in the PGA Jr. League Championship presented by National Rental Car at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona, for the very first time this year. The Championship, which teed off on Saturday, has also teed up an unforgettable week for Team Minnesota.
Her calm and quiet demeanor has ironically revealed that she was born to make noise in the golfing capacity. Following her brother Caleb VanArragon’s lead to join the PGA Jr. League team out of Blaine, Minn., the 13-year-old has proven time and time again there isn’t much that fazes her.
Whether it was competing against girls who were three-to-five years older than her at the Minnesota State Championship or now being the lone girl on a roster of 10 for Team Minnesota, VanArragon shows no signs of backing down – or being afraid of any task that is put in front of her.
In fact, she led Team Minnesota to an impressive 2-0 record after Day 1 of divisional play on Saturday, currently sitting ahead in the Wanamaker Division standings of Defending Champion Team Georgia (1-0-1), with Sunday and Monday’s competition still on the horizon. “I think her biggest asset is not being intimated by anything or anyone,” Minnesota Assistant Coach Tony Serpico said. “At the state championship, girls were outdriving her, but she didn’t care. She keeps up with them by just sticking to her game.”
“I practiced a lot leading up to state, but it was really just a tournament I was trying to do my best in,” VanArragon said of her preparation ahead of the high school state tournament. “I didn’t have many expectations or think I would have a chance to win, I was just trying to do my best, and go out there and have fun.”
“It’s been an unbelievable experience and more than we ever could have imagined,” Serpico said. “Seeing the kids’ eyes light up after stepping on the property for the first time, and watching them realize how big of an event this is, has been really cool to witness.”
Perhaps it’s the biggest stages where the Blaine, Minnesota, native will continue to perform best. Only time will tell, but if history unveils anything, it’s that her impact on the links won’t end at Grayhawk Golf Club this week. Beyond a shadow of doubt, VanArragon’s talent, love of the game and finding the fun in every challenge will be a game-changer today, tomorrow and for years to come.