Golf: Local players up to big things this summer

Former Mead standout Shehee among four locals to earn way onto Junior Americas Cup team from Colorado

Brad Cochi /
Former Mead golfer TJ Shehee, soon headed to play for Northern Colorado, is one of four local players that earned their way on to Team Colorado for the Junior Americas Cup to be played later in July.

Since he graduated from Mead a couple short months ago, golfer TJ Shehee has been knocking down career milestones like birdie putts on a good day.

Headed up north to play at the University of Northern Colorado this coming school year, Shehee isn’t taking any time off this summer. His hard work has paid off, too, as Shehee was selected to play in the Junior Americas Cup from July 23-25 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

It will be Shehee’s first time playing in the JAC.

“This has been a goal of mine since I started playing big tournaments when I was 11,” Shehee said. “I’m happy I made it this year because this is my last year eligible. And it’s in Canada so that’s going to be really cool to go up there and play against this level of competition. This is definitely one of my biggest accomplishments.”

Shehee, who played in the U.S. Junior Amateur two years ago, placed third at the 2018 Colorado prep state championships in the fall and finished among the top 25 golfers in 4A all four of his prep seasons. After the JAC, he will also play in the Boys Junior PGA Championship from July 29-Aug. 2 in Hartford, Conn.

Shehee certainly isn’t taking any time off between his final days as a prep golfer and the beginning of his collegiate career. He wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Hey, that’s how I like it,” Shehee said. “I’d play every day if I could.”

Shehee isn’t the only local golfer in the midst of a jet-setting summer.

Holy Family’s Hailey Schalk has cultivated a reputation for being Colorado’s top female prep golfer and there’s really no offseason once you’ve reached the status as arguably the best player from your home state. A three-time state champion and one of only a few players to ever win titles in Classes 3A and 4A, Schalk will also play in the JAC. The girls tournament will be held July 29-Aug. 1 in Murietta, Calif., and Schalk, who recently was a medalist at the U.S. Girls Junior, will be representing Colorado for the fourth straight year.

Schalk is currently playing in the Girls Junior PGA Championships in Hartford, Conn., and prior to the JAC, she will play in the U.S. Girls Junior in Stevens Point, Wisc., from July 22-27.

“I’m really excited,” said Schalk, who has verbally committed to play at the University of Colorado after high school. “The U.S. Girls Junior, I’ve never played in that so I was really excited to qualify. The Americas Cup is really exciting because of the team aspect and the chance to represent Colorado. All of the tournaments this summer should be really exciting.”

Joining Shehee at the JAC, Prospect Ridge’s Walker Franklin, Fossil Ridge’s Dillon Stewart and Aspen’s Jack Hughes will also play for the Colorado team. In the Girls JAC, Loveland’s Lauren Lehigh, Kent Denver’s Charlotte Hillary and Jefferson Academy’s Aubri Braecklein will represent Colorado.

The Colorado girls placed fifth last year, which was the best finish for the Colorado team since 2013.

Colin Barnard/Loveland Reporter-Herald
Jefferson Academy’s Aubri Braecklein will team with Holy Family’s Hailey Schalk in the Girls Junior Americas Cup to be played in Murietta, Calif., later this month.

It will be the first JAC appearance for Breacklein, who tied for second place as a sophomore at the 3A state tournament this spring and has finished among the top six 3A players in Colorado at the end of both of her prep seasons.

“I’m excited to represent Colorado,” Braecklein said. “Me being new, I think it’ll be a really cool experience. I’ve played with the other girls a bit so I think we have a pretty good chance. Hopefully, we can do as well or better than last year.”