Jacob Bergeron and Alyaa Abdulghany Win the Thunderbird International Junior
Bergeron Blitzes the Back Nine; Steady Play Wins the Day for Abdulghany
Slidell, Louisiana’s Jacob Bergeron edged out Noah Norton of Chico, California by one stroke to take top honors at the 2017 Thunderbird International Junior contested for the 18th year at Grayhawk Golf Club during Memorial Day weekend.
Bergeron Goes Birdie-Eagle to Win
In his second AJGA Invitational win, Bergeron dominated the back nine by firing two, 5-under-par 31s in the second and final rounds highlighted by a clutch birdie-eagle finish on the final two holes to end up at 15-under-par 201 (72-65-64). Second place finisher, Noah Norton, made a final-round push of his own, going 2-under par on the way in (71-66-65—202, -14).
“The Thunderbird International Junior might be the hardest tournament to win because the field is so stacked,” Bergeron said. “I knew I had a tall task to win leading into this week, but I never thought of it as winning. It was more going in and seeing where I could improve.”
Third-place finisher Canon Claycomb of Bowling Green, Kentucky shared tournament-low-round distinctions with Bergeron – both shot 8-under 64s. Claycomb made his in the second round, posting a clean card adorned with eight birdies, while Bergeron made six birdies in the final round leading up to his tournament-deciding, 20-foot eagle putt at the last.
It Was All About Abdulghany
Alyaa Abdulghany of Newport Beach, California entered the field for the third time with a near-miss, second-place finish the year before, no doubt, still fresh in her mind. Abdulghany once again found herself in second place after round one, but this time she didn’t stay long. After round two, she traded places with first-round leader Rachel Heck of Memphis, Tennessee. Heck (68-73-69—210, -6) mounted a strong final-round charge with at 3-under 69 before ultimately finishing two strokes shy of Abdulghany (69-69-70—208, -8).
“I really wanted to get my first Invitational win before college,” said Abdulghany. “I wouldn’t have been too sad if I had lost because Rachel played amazing and I did as best as I could. To win and finally say I won my first AJGA Invitational was a great experience.”
Emilia Migliaccio of Cary, North Carolina, took third at 5-under-par 211.
Incredible Support, Outstanding Event
Launched through a partnership between the Phil and Amy Mickelson Charitable Fund and The Thunderbirds – the civic-minded organization that runs the Waste Management Phoenix Open – by design, the tournament bearing their name has grown into one of the most prestigious junior golf tournaments. Add support by Under Armour®, one of golf’s hottest brands, and the event has transformed into one of the most competitive worldwide.
Local Coverage by 3TV/CBS 5