FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Incoming Harvard women's golfer Katie Sylvan (San Diego, Calif.) recently was chosen to compete in the 2009 Cannon Cup hosted at the Forest Highlands Golf Club in Flagstaff, Ariz.
Sylvan was part of the Cannon West team, which won the tournament for the fifth consecutive season to claim an 11-8-1 all-time record in the 20th season of play.
"The Canon Cup was an absolutely incredible event - it was the most fun that I've ever had playing in a junior event," said Sylvan following the event. "Not only do I love match play tournaments, but this event also gave me the chance to experience the team aspect of golfing. This tournament was so much fun for me primarily because of the fact that I was on a team - we won together or we lost together, but we were all pulling for our teammates to do well."
The American Junior Golf Association's Canon Cup, now in its 20th year, brings together the nation's top 40 juniors in an East versus West (divided by the Mississippi River) team match play tournament.
Each squad consisted of 20 players - 10 boys and 10 girls - who were selected based on the Polo Golf Rankings that rewarded them for top finishes in national junior golf events. This year, the event was held at Forest Highlands Golf Club on the Canyon Course.
In addition to playing together during the day, the players spent significant time with each other off the course.
"We ate every meal together as a team, and we would push round tables together so that we could all sit together," said Sylvan, whose teammates are headed to schools such as UCLA, USC, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, and BYU in the fall. "By the end of the week we were all really close, even if we hadn't known each other coming into the event."
Sylvan is a four-time Coast League Player of the Year at the Francis Parker School as well as a four-time Breitbard All-CIF first team selection. As a junior in high school, Sylvan was named an HP Scholastic Junior All-American.
"I think that this tournament definitely helped me prepare for college golf, mainly by getting me really excited to play team golf, and learning to value the team's success as a whole over any one individual's success."
Sylvan, who won a pair of matches during the event, garnered praise from her teammates for contributing to the victory.
"Katie is good at approach shots," said Alexandra Stewart after the duo defeated Simin Feng of Orlando, Fla., and Haley Stephens of Greer, S.C., 6 and 4. "She is a great ball striker so (teaming with her) worked out perfectly."
In 1990 the inaugural Canon Cup featured then rising stars Tiger Woods and Emilee Klein representing the West Team, squaring off against Stewart Cink and Vicki Goetze of the East. Since then, notable juniors to represent the East include Charles Howell III, David Gossett and Casey Wittenberg. Alumni of the West Team include Ryan Moore, Grace Park and Paula Creamer.