THUNDERBIRD INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR
Grayhawk Golf Club
Scottsdale, Ariz. • May 28 - 31
 

Cindy Feng Prevails in Playoff for Second Straight Victory at Thunderbird International Junior
Paolucci completes wire-to-wire victory for first AJGA win

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Yueer Cindy Feng of Orlando, Fla., became the first player to successfully defend her title at the Thunderbird International Junior by defeating Laetitia Beck of Caesarea, Israel, in a four-hole sudden-death playoff Monday afternoon. Anthony Paolucci of Del Mar, Calif., posted a 12-under-par total and claimed a three-shot victory for his first AJGA title.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the 11th annual Thunderbird International Junior was a 54-hole stroke play event played at Grayhawk Golf Club's Raptor Course. The 78-player field featured 48 boys and 30 girls, ages 12-18, from 18 states and 15 countries. The Boys Division played the par-72 layout at 7,112 yards while the Girls Division played at 6,275 yards.

For Feng, her third Invitational victory was anything but easy. Playing in the group ahead of Beck, Feng was 6-under-par on the day and built a two-shot cushion with one hole to play. An errant tee shot on No. 18 forced her to take an unplayable lie, and after taking her drop, her third shot found another bush in the desert.

Feng took a second unplayable lie, and when she found the green with her sixth shot, she had to make a six-foot putt for double-bogey and to force Beck to make birdie to win.

“I just got the news that I was up two, so I thought ‘It's not over yet,'” Feng said. “I was just trying my best to play for bogey or par, but after the first drop I went into another unplayable lie, so I was just looking for double-bogey really,” Feng said.

Fifteen minutes after Feng posted her 3-under-par total, Beck narrowly missed a birdie putt that would have secured the victory in her final AJGA event. Her ensuing par sent the Girls Division to a playoff for the second straight year.

In the playoff, each player had makeable birdie putts that would have ended the match on Nos. 11 or 12, but pars sent the duel to the par-3 13th hole. Feng hit her tee shot to 10 feet, and after Beck failed to save par from the greenside bunker, Feng two-putted her way to her ninth AJGA title.

“It was my first Invitational win last year and it's definitely an honor to be able to win it again this year,” said Feng, who is ranked No. 3 in the Polo Golf Rankings.

Rachel Morris of Carlsbad, Calif., finished third at 2-under-par after she missed an eight-foot birdie putt on the final hole that would have put her in the playoff. Stephanie Meadow of Jordanstown, Northern Ireland, finished fourth at 1-under-par, while two-time Rolex Junior Player of the Year Victoria Tanco of Buenos Aires, Argentina, finished fifth at even-par.

In the Boys Division, Paolucci's wire-to-wire victory wasn't without a bit of trepidation. When Paolucci made bogeys on Nos. 4 and 6, Denny McCarthy of Burtonsville, Md., took a brief one-shot lead. When he responded with an eagle on No. 7 and a birdie on No. 8, Paolucci regained his edge and never looked back.

“I've been in a similar position before going into the last round and won a couple and lost a couple, and I hadn't won an AJGA event before, so I wanted to get that monkey off my back,” said Paolucci, who notched three birdies and an eagle in his final-round 69. “I really wanted to win one before I got too old and I'm glad it happened today.”

Paolucci's 12-under-par total was the third-lowest winning score in tournament history, and he was the only player in 2010 to record three rounds in the 60s.

“I played last year and the scores were really low, so I knew it could be done,” Paolucci said. “I just wanted to give myself a chance to win today — that was my main goal.”

McCarthy finished three shots back at 9-under-par, while Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos, Calif., and Gavin Hall of Pittsford, N.Y., tied for third at 8-under-par. Justin Thomas of Goshen, Ky., and Franco Castro of Alpharetta, Ga., finished fifth at 7-under-par.

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. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 30 countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.

As in the past, Callaway Golf lends its support to the event. Other major sponsors are the Thunderbirds, the Phil and Amy Mickelson Charitable Fund, Grayhawk Golf Club and the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.

AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 400 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.

For more information about the Thunderbird International Junior, please contact AJGA Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.

 
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Boys
1. Scott Scheffler
Dallas, TX
2. Andy Zhang
Reunion, FL
3. Austin Connelly
Irving, TX
4. Sam Burns
Shreveport, LA
5. Brad Dalke
Hobart, OK
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1. Andrea Lee
Hermosa Beach, CA
2. Megan Khang
Rockland, MA
3. Bethany Wu
Diamond Bar, CA
4. Kristen Gillman
Austin, TX
5. Amy Lee
Brea, CA
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Weekly Results
Davis Love III Junior Open
Boys
Total
1
Will Chandler
204
2
Joshua Martin
205
3
Kyle Sterbinsky
206
Girls
Total
1
Kelly Whaley
211
2
Emilia Migliaccio
216
3
Latanna Stone
217
David Toms Foundation Shreveport Junior
Boys
Total
1
*Blaine Hale Jr.
210
2
Brandon Smith
210
3
Triston Fisher
211
Girls
Total
1
Katharine Patrick
214
T
2
Julia Johnson
219
T
2
Hanna Alberto
219
T
2
Courtney Bryant
219
Bass Pro Shops / Payne Stewart Junior Championship
Boys
Total
1
Winston Margaritis
207
T
2
Pierce Aichinger
212
T
2
Walker Kesterson
212
Girls
Total
1
Madeline Chou
216
T
2
Youngin Chun
218
T
2
Athena Yang
218
the Memorial Junior
Boys
Total
1
Donnie Trosper
209
2
Glenn Piot
212
T
3
Cameron Michalak
217
T
3
Elliott Grayson
217
T
3
Jeg Coughlin III
217
Girls
Total
1
Lexie Toth
219
2
Sybil Robinson
223
T
3
Lois Kaye Go
224
T
3
Molly Skapik
224
Lipari Energy Junior Championship presented by City of London
Boys
Total
1
Andrew Spiegler
207
2
Hoke Carlton
209
3
Zach Norris
215
Girls
Total
1
Brooke Graebe
214
2
Julia Calbi
217
3
Jiayu Kong
225
BBCN Bank Junior Championship
Boys
Total
1
Issei Tanabe
206
T
2
Davis Holman
209
T
2
Justin Kim
209
Girls
Total
1
Kornkamol Sukaree
209
2
Haley Moore
213
T
3
Kelly Lee
216
T
3
Jocelyn Chia
216
* Won via sudden-death playoff
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.