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Silva optimistic about future of River Oaks Jr. Program
A total of 90 boys and girls signed up for the River Oaks Junior Golf Program this summer, including Keyes youngster Carleigh Damante. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Veteran teaching pro Greg Silva strongly believes the River Oaks Junior Golf Program will experience a resurgence in the future.

A total of 90 boys and girls, aged 5 to 17, participated this summer.

The first session was staged June 7 to June 29.

The second session ran July 12 to Aug. 3.

"At one time, we had to cut back," Silva said. "We had 550 kids enrolled two summers in a row. We had 350 kids for two or three years. Eventually, we want to get it back up to 250. It will happen. It's going to take time."

The River Oaks Jr. Golf Program's summer-ending tournament was held on Friday.

The competition featured 42 players.

Sarah Ramsdell claimed the 13-and-older championship with a 7-over-par 34 on the front-nine course.

Jaden Young (36) and Ian Johnson (39) took second and third, respectively.

Bianca Burkett carded an 8-over-par 26 on her way to a first-place finish in the 10-to-12-year-old flight.

Burkett edged out Sumer Pannu (27) and Brooke Trio (33) for low-medalist honors.

Logan Bream fired a 5-over-par 14 en route to capturing the 6-to-9-year-old age group title.
Roy Rendez (15) and Andrew Crain (16) placed 2-3 with competitive rounds.

"I thought the kids did pretty well," Silva said. "We have some up and coming golfers. I have three or four kids that are going to be superstars."

Rob Phipps established the River Oaks Jr. Golf Program 23 years ago with assistance from Silva.

Rob was the club's general manager until he passed away unexpectedly at the age of 44 in 2007.

More than 6,000 area youth have been introduced to the sport of golf through their creation. "It's disappointing to see the numbers drop the last four years," Silva said. "We're competing with programs at other country clubs. The popularity of golf is down in the United States. We'll build it back up again."