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 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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1. Sam Burns
Shreveport, LA
2. Sam Horsfield
Davenport, FL
3. Jorge Garcia
Miami, FL
4. Austin Connelly
Irving, TX
5. Brad Dalke
Hobart, OK
1. Andrea Lee
Hermosa Beach, CA
2. Bethany Wu
Diamond Bar, CA
3. Kristen Gillman
Austin, TX
4. Lauren Stephenson
Lexington, SC
5. Nelly Korda
Bradenton, FL
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Upcoming Events
(Upcoming Events)  
January 16- 18 EaglesDream Golf Academy Junior Championship
January 16- 19 Puerto Rico Junior Open presented by EaglesDream Golf Academy
January 17- 19 Preseason Junior at Morongo
February 13- 16 AJGA Boys Championship at Carlton Woods
February 13- 16 ANNIKA Invitational
February 13- 16 Junior All-Star at Innisbrook
March 27- 29 Preseason Junior at Ocala
Complete Schedule

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The American Junior Golf Foundation is the primary recipient of all charitable giving to the AJGA and as such administers a variety of programs designed to compliment the AJGA and the members and families who make up our community. Learn more about these important programs and how your contributions to the Foundation secure the AJGA’s financial future for future generations to come.
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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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Leadership Links is a new program whereby the AJGA is able to further its mission to help develop young men and women by teaching charitable giving skills and service-oriented practices at an early age. This program gives juniors all the tools necessary to donate their time, talent and resources to local charities and the AJGA youth development programs. Please click here to learn more about the program and the different opportunities available.

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AJGA Senior Boys Championship
*Colin Hamilton
Andrew Chu
Matthew Mourin
C.J. Coleman
AJGA Senior Boys & Girls Championship
Henry Hui
Travis Winn
Cody Renfro
*Hannah Haythorne
Rebeca Maruri
Jenny Zhang
* Won via sudden-death playoff
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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.