Kendall Todd received a major shot in the arm in late October, when the Goodyear resident was named as an honorable mention to the prestigious American Junior Golf Association’s Rolex Junior All-America Team.
Todd, who the AJGA lists as the No. 34 ranked girls’ golfer in the world, was named by Rolex one of 96 of the world’s top junior players.
“It’s super cool,” said Todd, a senior at the Arizona Connections Academy. “I was super excited to see I was selected, especially for this being my last year as being able to qualify for it.”
The AJGA “annually recognizes the world’s premier junior golfers,” according to a press release. “The 2020 Rolex Junior All-America Teams are comprised of 96 junior golfers, including 48 boys and 48 girls, ages 14-19, from 26 states and seven countries, including Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Portugal, South Korea and the United States.
“These young men and women distinguished themselves through exceptional play in 108 national junior golf events, 99 of which were conducted by the AJGA.”
Todd was one of seven junior golfers from the Phoenix area to be named to the team.
She recently skyrocketed up the AJGA national rankings, jumping 10 spots to land in the mid-30s. Her rise, one of the biggest climbs on the entire leaderboard, can be credited to the number of tournaments she’s recently played and how well she’s fared at them.
She won the Se Ri Pak Desert Junior Tournament in early October, held in California amongst a 72-person field, finishing two-under and edging the runner-up by just one stroke.
“The better you place, the more (AJGA) points you get, the better your ranking is,” she said. “And if you have a bunch of good tournaments in a row, your ranking will keep going up.”
Warren Schutte, a former professional golfer and one of Todd’s coaches, has seen quick improvements since the two began working together a year and a half ago. Schutte was always wowed by Todd’s strength and ability to outdrive her opponents on the tee box, but he focused exclusively on cleaning up her short game.
“Instead of losing shots on her short game, she’s actually picking up shots on her short game,” he said. “We don’t have the three-putts like she used to have. A lot of it comes with just chipping the ball closer to the hole.”
He added that Todd is becoming a much more well-rounded player and that she’s starting to do the “little things just a little better.”
“The great thing about golf is if you get a little bit of success, a little bit of confidence, it turns into a lot of success and a lot of confidence,” he added.
A verbal commit to the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Todd is quickly building an impressive golf resume. The latest accolade is being named to a Junior All-America Team that once featured names such as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Anna Nordqvist.
How’s that for a boost of confidence?
“Confidence is really all that matters to me. It’s a very important aspect of golf,” she said. “And it’s really motivating. Going to a great college and going in with confidence really helps that entire aspect.”
Schutte echoes that confidence, citing Todd’s upside and overall makeup as a player.
“I would bet you, already, against girls who are already in college, she could compete in college right now. There’s no doubt,” he said.
“The upside is great. I certainly see potential for her as a freshman to be an All-American and have a chance to win golf tournaments and compete right away.”