By Chris Richards, AJGA Communications
Rij Patel is in elite company. Not only is he among the 48 boys at The PING Invitational, he is the only AJGA Scholastic Junior All-American competing in Stillwater this week. In fact, in the last five years, only three other boys have competed in The PING Invitational the same year as being named an AJGA Scholastic Junior All-American, including Patrick Rodgers in 2010.
“It’s a great honor to know that I’m in a position where I’m playing really well on the golf course and I’m following the footsteps of some great scholars and some great professional golfers,” Rij said.
A senior at McDonogh School in Hunt Valley, Maryland, Rij won this year’s JoS. A. Bank / David Leadbetter Championship and is currently No. 53 in the Polo Golf Rankings. While he is familiar with red and black numbers on his AJGA scorecards, Rij is hoping to one day become an expert with red and black numbers on the stock market.
“I really want to do something in finance, perhaps on Wall Street,” Rij said. “There’s a very slim chance of making it really big in golf and I think I realize that, and I really want to make sure to get the best education possible.”
This is his third year playing AJGA tournaments, and Rij said the AJGA has pushed him both on the course and in the classroom and that his successes have complimented each other.
“I really feel like it was all a progression off each other. My golf progressed off my schoolwork and eventually everything came together in the summer. The hard work I put in during the spring, in both school and golf, led to good results in the summer,” he said.