Papago Golf Course to play host to 20th annual Thunderbird Invitational

Some of the state’s finest junior golfers will tee it on March 1-2

Papago, designed by renowned golf course architect Billy Bell and built in 1962 and recently renovated, will be the host site for the 20th annual Thunderbird Invitational which features some of the state’s finest junior golfers. This year’s event will be played on March 1-2.

This year’s boy’s field will include Austin Glendinning, JJ Gresco, Michael Feagles, John Souza, Sam Triplett, and Eric Ghim. Glendinning was the winner of the prestigious Willie Low Invitational in 2013. Gresco is the only junior to earn JGAA Player of the Year honors for 6 consecutive years. His honors also include 7 wins in the Boys 13-14 Division in 2013. Feagles has also proved himself as a competitor with wins at the Phoenix Metro Junior Championship and Desert Mashie Spring Championship last year. He also represented the state of Arizona at the Eddie Hogan Cup in Portland, Oregon last fall. Sam Triplett, winner of the 2013 Tucson City Junior Championship, also qualified to represent Arizona at the Junior America’s Cup where he finished in the Top-3. Another qualifier of last year’s Junior America’s Cup team was Eric Ghim, who also claimed titles at the Phoenix City Junior Championship and the Arizona Junior Match Play Championship.

A talented field of girls at the event will include Sarah Eversman, Emily Mahar, Alisa Snyder, Madison Kerley, Morgan Messick, and Ariana Macioce. Eversman earned Player of the Year honors in the Girls 15-18 Division last year, along with wins at the Phoenix City Junior Championship, PING Masters, and Scottsdale Junior Championship. Emily Mahar, Player of the Year for the Girls 13-14 Division, claimed 11 wins last year in addition to qualifying for the USGA Girls’ Junior Championship. Another Player of the Year winner, this time in the Girls Championship Division, was Alisa Snyder. Snyder had wins at the Yuma City Junior Championship as well as the Arizona Junior Match Play Championship. Madison Kerley, a strong competitor last year, had runner-up finishes at the Girls State Championship, Tucson City Junior Championship, and Tucson Conquistadores Spring Classic. Messick, a Tucson native, won the 2013 Tucson Conquistadores Spring Classic. Macioce has also proven herself with wins at the Phoenix City Junior Championship and the Antigua Milt Coggins Junior Stroke Play.

Several players in the field have signed to play college golf in the fall. In the Boys Divisions, Austin Glendinning has signed to play at the University of Southern Illinois, Edwardsville this fall and Austin Stadeli will be attending the University of Arizona next year. Colton Yates, Connor Nam, and Ryan Tanner have also signed their NLI’s to play for Colorado State University, Pepperdine University, and Fort Lewis College, respectively. For the Girls Divisions, Kaitlyn Saum, Katie Dunaway, and Miranda Reyes have all signed NLI’s to play collegiate golf this fall for Northern Arizona University, Sacramento State, and Southern Utah University, respectively.

Working in tandem with the Thunderbirds and the Junior Golf Association of Arizona, the 20th annual Thunderbird Invitational will feature 76 of the state’s finest junior golfers whose participants range in age from 13-18. Tee times get underway at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Spectators are welcome.

For a complete list of the playing field, visit the JGAA web site at or call 602.944.6168.