For the 15th year, 78 junior golfers from around the world will compete in the Thunderbird International Junior. These juniors will join the ranks of PGA and LPGA Tour stars like Webb Simpson, Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler, Ryo Ishikawa, Jordan Spieth, Paula Creamer, Inbee Park and Lexi Thompson who have competed at Grayhawk Golf Club in hopes of capturing one of the most coveted titles in junior golf.
In 2013, Jorge Garcia of Miami, and Nicole Morales of South Salem, New York, added their names to a list of past champions that includes three-time PGA TOUR champion Ryan Moore and LPGA major winner Morgan Pressel. Both Garcia and Morales will return to defend their titles in 2014, while 2011 winner Brad Dalke of Hobart, Oklahoma, will look to repeat history.
A global affair in the heart of Scottsdale, Arizona, the Thunderbird International Junior brings together players from 15 states and 17 foreign countries including Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Sweden, Thailand and Japan. Venezuela native and 2013 champion Garcia followed England’s Max Orrin who won in 2012 as the only past international winners in the Boys Division.
Thailand, Spain and British Columbia have yielded girls champions including inaugural winner Virada Nirapathpongporn and 2012 victor Ariya Jutanugarn, both of Thailand. Spain’s Belen Mozo and Jessica Wallace of British Columbia won in 2004 and 2008, respectively.
The international crop of talent will compete against top juniors from the United States. The 2013 Boys Division includes 23 AJGA champions, while 18 of 29 players in the Girls Division have AJGA titles on their records.