The American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) is hosting the Thunderbird International Junior in Scottsdale, Arizona. The tournament is taking place at Grayhawk Golf Club on the Raptor Course, May 24-27. The 54-hole, stroke-play event is held in partnership with Thunderbirds and the Phil & Amy Mickelson Charitable Fund. The tournament has been held at Grayhawk every year on Memorial Day weekend since 2000 and is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
About the field
- 78 players (48 boys, 30 girls)
- 12 foreign countries and 14 states are represented
- 46 Rolex Junior All-Americans in the field
- 46 AJGA champions are playing in the tournament
- 63 players have made a college commitment
- 9 of the top-10 Boys in the Rolex AJGA Rankings are playing
- 7 of the top-10 Girls in the Rolex AJGA Rankings are playing
The tournament was launched through a partnership between the Phil & Amy Mickelson Charitable Fund, The Thunderbirds (the organization that runs the Waste Management Phoenix Open), Grayhawk Golf Club, Under Armour and the AJGA.
A driving force behind the tournament’s success is one of the AJGA’s most notable alumni Phil Mickelson who played AJGA golf from 1985-1989 – posting 12 victories in 27 events – the most individual career boys titles in AJGA history. He’s also the first AJGA alum in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Consistent with The Thunderbirds’ overall charitable charter, each player in the field is encouraged to designate a benefitting charity from their home community to get involved with and support. The Thunderbirds then donate $1,000 to that charity in their name. In its 20 years, The Thunderbird International Junior has raised over $450,000 for charity.
Notable Past Champions and Participants
The list of past champions of the Thunderbird International Junior includes golfers who went on to play at the highest level such as Ryan Moore, Brian Harman, Brad Dalke, Sam Burns and Norman Xiong. Other notable participants (who did not win) include Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Kevin Na, Webb Simpson, Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan and Kyle Stanley.
Girls past champions have been successful as well including Morgan Pressel, Ariya Jutanugarn, Belen Mozo and Brittany Lang. Paula Creamer, Inbee Park, Alison Lee and Lexi Thompson also competed in the event and advanced to the LPGA Tour.
Current Players to watch
Yuki Moriyama, (Japan) Las Vegas, Nevada (2020)
17-year-old, Yuki Moriyama, from (Japan) Las Vegas, Nevada, will be playing in his sixth AJGA event this weekend at the Thunderbird International Junior. The University of Oregon verbal commit already has two top-10 finishes this year. One of the those being a first-place finish at the Hunter Mahan Junior Championship presented by Baylor Scott & White Sports Performance Center at the Star. He is currently No. 70 in the Rolex AJGA rankings, and has four top tens in his AJGA career.
Karl Vilips, (Australia) Wesley Chapel, Fla. (2020)
This high school junior from (Australia) Wesley Chapel, Florida, will be participating in the Thunderbird International Junior for the third consecutive year. Vilips has finished in the top-10 the last two years in this event. The Stanford University verbal committ has five wins in his AJGA career, and is currently No. 1 in the Rolex AJGA rankings. His most recent win was at the 2018 Wyndham Invitational presented by BB&T.
William Mouw, Chino, Calif. (2019)
16-year-old, William Mouw from Chino, California, will be participating in the Thunderbird International Junior for his second consecutive year. He finished last year in solo fifth with a three-day total of 209. Mouw has played in one AJGA event in 2019, and he came out victorious at the PING Heather Farr Classic after shooting a final-round 66. He is currently No. 12 in the Rolex AJGA rankings and has signed a National Letter of Intent with Pepperdine University.
Rose Zhang, Irvine, Calif. (2021)
Rose Zhang from Irvine, California, will be participating in the Thunderbird International Junior for her second consecutive year. She finished T10 in this event in 2018. Zhang has five wins in her AJGA career, and is currently No. 1 in the Rolex AJGA rankings. She won three events in 2018 with her most current victory being at the 2018 PING Invitational. The high school sophomore is already verbally committed to Stanford University.
Brooke Seay, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. (2019)
Brooke Seay of Rancho Santa Fe, California, will be participating in the Thunderbird International Junior for her third consecutive year. Seay finished tied for ninth in 2017 and tied for second in 2018. She has two wins in her AJGA career, with her last one being at the 2017 ANNIKA Invitational. She is currently No. 17 in the Rolex AJGA rankings, and has signed a National Letter of Intent to Stanford University.
Brianna Navarrosa, San Diego, Calif. (2020)
The high school junior from San Diego, California, will be participating in this event for the second consecutive year. She came away with a T10 finish in 2018. Navarrosa has two AJGA victories under her belt with latest one being this year at the Buick Shanshan Feng AJGA Girls Invitational. She is currently No. 16 in the Rolex AJGA rankings, and is verbally committed to the University of Southern California.
Follow the tournament on social media by using #AJGAThunderbird.