THUNDERBIRD INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR
Grayhawk Golf Club - Raptor Course
Scottsdale, Ariz. • May 26 - 29
 

FRANCIS WINS SECOND AJGA TITLE, FIRST INVITATIONAL
Lendl overcomes two-shot deficit to win Girls Division

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Philip Francis of Scottsdale, Ariz., carded a final round 7-under-par 65 to win the Thunderbird International Junior by two strokes. In the Girls Division, Isabelle Lendl of Bradenton, Fla., took top honors with a tournament total of 1-under-par 215.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the seventh annual Thunderbird International Junior was held at Grayhawk Golf Club on the Raptor Course. The par-72 course was set up at 7,113 yards for the Boys Division and 6,271 for the Girls. The tournament field consisted of 48 boys and 36 girls, ages 12-18, from 16 states, Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Finland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Slovenia, Sweden and Taiwan.

Francis entered Monday's final round sitting in sixth place, trailing by three strokes. After an even-par start on holes one through four, the 2007 graduate turned up the heat on the competition, playing the next five holes at 5-under-par.

“Playing with Arnond (Vongvanij) and Jamie (Lovemark) really took my game to the next level,” Francis said. “Arnond beat me in match play at the U.S. Boys Junior, so I guess this was a little revenge to beat him here.”

Francis continued his solid play down the stretch, securing his victory with a birdie on No. 18.

“This event has one of the best, if not the best field in junior golf,” Francis said. “It feels really great to win this event. I prepared a lot over the past couple of years and it's really starting to show.”

Francis' win this week marked the second AJGA victory of his career; his first came at the Heather Farr Classic in April.

Vongvanij of Bradenton, Fla., and Tim McKenney of Scottsdale, Ariz., carded matching tournament totals of 208, tying for second. First and second-round leader Rory Hie of Lakewood, Calif., placed fourth while second-round co-leader Richard Lee of Chandler, Ariz., finished fifth.

Coming off a big win at the recent Scott Robertson Memorial Tournament, Lendl entered the week feeling confident. “It was great winning last week because it gave me a lot of confidence coming into this week,” Lendl said. “Winning the Thunderbird (International Junior) is definitely the biggest win of my career.”

Lendl got hot on the back with birdies on Nos. 14 and 15 to pull into a tie with second-round leader Esther Choe of Scottsdale, Ariz. Lendl, 14, arrived at No. 18 with a 1-shot lead and knew she had to at least make par to win or force a playoff.

“I minded my own game all day long and that's just what I did on No. 18,” Lendl remarked. “When Esther missed her birdie putt, I knew I just had to make par to win.”

That is exactly what the 2009 graduate did. Monday's victory marked the second career AJGA win for Lendl, who also won the 2005 Greater Hartford Jaycees Junior presented by St. Paul Travelers.

Choe finished in second place with an even-par tournament total of 216. Stephanie Kono of Honolulu rounded out the top three with rounds of 70-74-74—218.

The Thunderbird International Junior annually attracts the top junior golfers in the world with 52 Rolex Junior All-Americans present this year. Past champions of the event include Virada Nirapathpongporn, Ryan Moore, Casey Wittenberg, Brittany Lang, Rob Grube and Morgan Pressel.

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 largest Association of its kind, the AJGA has a junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 countries.

Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which enters its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.

AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 160 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 300 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Dottie Pepper, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.

For more information on the Thunderbird International Junior, please contact the AJGA National Headquarters at (877) 373-2542.

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Reunion, FL
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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
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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.