Ranked No. 2 on Golfweek’s list of the best junior events, the Thunderbird International Junior is viewed as the “Masters” of the junior golf world with an impressive list of past tournament champions including current PGA Tour players Ryan Moore and Casey Whittenberg as well as LPGA players Morgan Pressel and Belen Mozo.
This year’s tournament field (48 boys and 30 girls) features seven of the top 10 girls and eight of the top 10 boys according to the Polo Junior Golf Rankings. Also competing at Grayhawk Golf Course in Scottsdale Saturday through Monday are 45 Rolex Junior All-Americans and 21 juniors who have already signed collegiate letters of intent. This makes for one of the most competitive fields on the American Junior Golf Association’s (AJGA) schedule.
Local players include Krystal Quihuis of Tucson, fresh off a victory in April at the Winn Grips Heather Farr Classic Hosted by Longbow Golf Club in Mesa. George Cunningham of Tucson is also a strong candidate; he recently won the AJGA TaylorMade-adidas Golf Junior at Innisbrook hosted by Sean O’Hair.
Scottsdale’s Christopher Petefish is expected to do well; he recently finished second at the Winn Grips Heather Farr Classic and is verbally committed to Georgia Tech.
As its name suggests, the event features an unparalleled international flavor. This year, 14 different countries are represented including Peru, Italy, China, Sweden, United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Singapore, Chile, Norway, Mexico, Paraguay and others.