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Junior Golf Championship begins in Tucson despite COVID-19

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TUCSON - Gov. Doug Ducey classified businesses, including golf courses, as "essential" during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, Ducey has encouraged those taking part in the game to social distance and take necessary precautions. 

At Tucson's Randolph Park, the first youth tournament since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic has begun.

Groups of teens in the Junior Golf Association of Arizona tournament could be seen rubbing elbows or even tapping their clubs instead of giving the traditional handshake or high five.

It's their way of trying to avoid the spread of the coronavirus as the popular pastime of golf continues.  

"We're trying not to touch hands or the flag sticks or other objects," said Ray J. Ramirez, a Sabino High School senior.

The JGAA knows holding the first tournament since the coronavirus became a pandemic means taking extra precautions.

"We have some new updated COVID-19 guidelines with social distancing," said Scott McNevin, executive director of JGAA.

"Making sure kids keep their six feet distance and they're not touching the flagstick," McNevin said. "We have hand sanitizer in the scoring tents to make sure everybody feels healthy and safe while they're playing."

Isaac Ruiz is a golfer from Sierra Vista.

"Giving elbows is different," Ruiz said. "Traditionally, we shake hands and now you're just giving elbows and maybe tapping a putter here and there."

The Tucson City Junior Championship is sponsored by the Tucson Conquistadores and will take place through Thursday.

If you'd like updates on the leaderboard, click here.

Paul Cicala

Paul Cicala is a 2-time winner of the prestigious”Edward R. Murrow Award” for his reporting/anchoring in news & sports. Paul Cicala has also been nominated for multiple EMMY’s. Cicala has won the “Best Sportscaster” category in Tucson the last 3 years (voted on by readers of “Tucson Weekly”). Cicala is a native Tucsonan who specialized in border stories during his earlier career as a news reporter in this market, and now concentrates mainly on sports stories (with an occasional special report and/or feature story on life in Tucson & the Sonoran Desert).

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