Preview: Thunderbird International Junior

Tournament website

In just two weeks, 78 junior golfers will head to Grayhawk Golf Club for the 14th Thunderbird International Junior. Among this talented group of players, 20 of them will travel from 12 countries to Scottsdale, Ariz., for the AJGA’s first summer Invitational.

Within the tournament’s history, champions of the event have continued their golf careers at the collegiate and professional level. The first Girls Division champion in 2000 was Virada Nirapathpongporn of Bangkok, Thailand, who went on to win the women’s NCAA Championship in 2002 while playing for Duke and the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 2003. Belen Mozo of Cadiz, Spain, won the Thunderbird International Junior in 2004 and continued her career at the University of Southern California. She was a four-time NCAA All-American before joining the Symetra Tour and is in her second year on the LPGA Tour.

Twenty-nine girls will look to follow in the footsteps of these past champions at Grayhawk Golf Club this year, which includes 21 AJGA medalists and champions. ANNIKA Invitational Europe champion Linnea Strom of Hovas, Sweden, will compete in her second AJGA event after tying for fifth at the ANNIKA Invitational in Reunion, Fla.   

Looking at the past champions on the boys’ side of the draw, one will find NCAA champions and PGA TOUR players. Current PGA TOUR player, Ryan Moore, won the Thunderbird International Junior in 2001. He followed his junior career at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas before turning professional and winning the 2012 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Casey Wittenberg won the Invitational in 2002 after being named Rolex Junior Player of the Year in 2001. He was recently honored as the 2012 Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

In the 2013 Boys Division, 23 of the 48 junior golfers are AJGA champions and medalists. Brad Dalke of McKinney, Texas, will look to repeat history after winning the event in 2011 as the AJGA’s youngest boys Invitational champion at 13 years, 9 months and 11 days.

Learn more about the Thunderbird International Junior and join the conversation on Twitter by tweeting @AJGAGolf and using the hashtag #AJGAThunderbird.

 
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Boys
1. Sam Burns
Shreveport, LA
2. Sam Horsfield
Davenport, FL
3. Austin Connelly
Irving, TX
4. Brad Dalke
Hobart, OK
5. Davis Riley
Hattiesburg, MS
Girls
1. Andrea Lee
Hermosa Beach, CA
2. Kristen Gillman
Austin, TX
3. Angel Yin
Arcadia, CA
4. Bethany Wu
Diamond Bar, CA
5. Lauren Stephenson
Lexington, SC
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The Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program provides financial assistance to junior golfers who wish to play in AJGA events. Its goal is to give top-flight golf opportunities to young golfers regardless of financial resources. This program helps to fulfill the AJGA’s mission of developing young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf.

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Weekly Results
Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Preseason Junior at Innisbrook
Boys
Total
1
Jesus Montenegro
141
2
Nico Gagliardi
142
3
Chun-Hsiang Hsu
144
Girls
Total
1
Ramya Meenakshisundaram
143
2
Michelle Ledermann
149
3
Caitlin Cotterill
150
Preseason Junior at Cimarron Hills
Boys
Total
T
1
Ben Dunne
146
T
1
Luke Dossey
146
3
Jack Anderson
147
Girls
Total
1
Valerie Routzong
157
2
Megan Welch
159
3
Jessica Rogina
160
Preseason Junior at Walnut Creek
Boys
Total
1
Sully Billingsley
139
2
Connor Ross
142
T
3
Adam House
143
T
3
Peyton Coursey
143
Girls
Total
1
Kyong Kim
146
T
2
Serena Shah
147
T
2
Kennedy Pedigo
147
Preseason Junior at Cypress Ridge
Boys
Total
1
Mikey Slesinski
147
T
2
Justin Lagera
149
T
2
Leland Wilcox
149
Girls
Total
T
1
Leila Dizon
153
T
1
Olivia White
153
3
Lexi Keene
156
FJ Live Scoring
AJGA U
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and
development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf.