The Junior Golf Association of Arizona (JGAA) is set to host the annual Willie Low Invitational, honoring the late Willie Low, one of the Valley’s top golf professionals for nearly half a century. Started in 1969, the event has showcased the talents of junior golfers from across the state. Past winners have included two-time PGA TOUR champion Billy Mayfair and Ted Purdy.
Willie Low influenced many of the Valley’s top juniors, including Howard Twitty and a young George Boutell who would later go on to win the 1962 Arizona Amateur Championship and then post a stellar career at Arizona State University, earning All American status. Low began his golf career at Lakeside Golf Club in Los Angeles during the 1920s where he became lifelong friends with the likes of Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and other celebrities.
Low came to the Valley in 1931 as the head golf professional at Phoenix Country Club and stayed there until his retirement in 1972. He was awarded the Anser Award by the Southwest Section PGA in 2004, honoring individuals whose positive efforts have influenced the history of Arizona golf. Low was also a member of the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame.
The event being an invitational attracts top junior talent, including Chris Meyers, winner of the Desert Mashie Spring Championship and Tucson Spring Classic; and Zack Stodola, recent winner of the Yuma City Junior. In the girls field star golfers include Sarah Eversman, winner of the Tucson City Junior; and Mikayla Fitzpatrick, winner of Desert Mashie Spring Championship and finished second in New Year’s Shootout. Other top competitors include Haylin Harris, Mason Andersen, Gavin Cohen and Cooper Langston.
The 2014 Willie Low Invitational will get under way at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, June 10 at Phoenix Country Club. For more information about the Junior Golf Association of Arizona, visit www.jgaa.org or call (602) 944-6168.