Thunderbirds Sponsor Arizona High School National Title Winners
The Thunderbirds’ mission, outside of hosting the Waste Management Phoenix Open, has always been to promote local communities through sports – most notably the game of golf – and support children and families and Arizona. Through a special grant by Thunderbirds Charities, the Junior Golf Association of Arizona (JGAA) supported local 2019-2020 state high school golf championship teams invited to the national event with traveling money for the trip to North Carolina.
The 2020 High School Golf National Invitational took place August 3-5 at Pinehurst, and when Arizona high school golf made headlines during the event nobody was cheering louder than The Thunderbirds.
“Most people think of The Thunderbirds and professional golf, but they also support youth golf in a big way. We allocate some of our grant money from Thunderbirds Charities to help local junior golfers and their teams with national-level events like these,” said Scott McNevin, executive director of the JGAA. “If kids need financial assistance to make the trip, they can make a request straight to the JGAA, and we do our best to offset some costs, so they can focus on playing their best.”
The Pinnacle Pioneers Girls’ Golf team is a great example. Emboldened by last fall’s historic win over perennial favorites Xavier Prep Gators, they edged out Ohio by six strokes over the three-round competition to win the team title, while Tucson’s Ironwood Ridge Nighthawks came in third place.
Bound for college golf at Memphis, Pinnacle’s Katie Stinchcomb shot 2-over-par 218 (74-72-72) to lead the Pioneers with a second-place finish individually, only two strokes off the pace set by medalist, Loralie Cowart, of Georgia. Stinchcomb’s teammate Sydney Seigel finished in 14th place at 12-over par, Carolyn Fuller landed at 27th place, Kayla Wilde came in 31st and Lexi Pelle made 82nd place.
Zoe Newell of Tucson finished T22 individually to lead the Nighthawks with rounds of 76-77-81. Her 18-over-par 234 was reinforced by teammates Raina Ports at 28th place, Hannah Ports at T33, Celia Schrecker at T45, Lucy Newell at T53, Makenna Brown at T86 and Kaylee Jewkes at T98.
The Hamilton Huskies’ Anawin Pikulthong took the boys individual title at 10-under-par 206. Pikulthong erased a couple bogeys early in the first round with four birdies to shoot 2-under 70. He then went on to post two bogey-free 68s in the second and third rounds, to finish four shots clear of second-place finisher, Ben Warian, of Minnesota. The balance of the Huskies pack mushed for a fifth-place finish: Johnny Walker T11, Nick Lippe T93, Ryo T160 and Ethan Adam 207.
Congratulations to all Arizonans who competed in the 2020 High School Golf National Invitational. It takes talent and a little support to compete on the national stage, so next time you’re at The People’s Open, don’t be afraid to order that second Thunderdog. There’s a good chance at least a part of the proceeds will go to little golfers with big dreams.