Summerhays Sweep at the Thunderbird Invitational

Jeff Locke
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PHOENIX – The Summerhays family celebrated two wins at the 2021 Thunderbird Invitational, held March 13-14 at Papago Golf Club. Preston, 18, defended his title after a four-hole playoff, and Grace, 16, cruised to victory by five strokes.

A Sun Devil commit, Preston set the pace in the Boys Championship division with a first-round 7-under 65. He started the day on No. 10 and went four under par over three holes – 18, 1 and 2 – before picking up two more birdies. Anawin Pikulthong and Alex Lynch sat four strokes back tied for second place at 69. In the second round, Hunter Thomson of Calgary, Alberta led the pack at 8-under 64. He reeled off four-straight birdies on holes 10-13 to erase his five-stroke deficit (first round 70) with five holes remaining. Summerhays, who shot a final-round 69, answered with a birdie on No. 17 to regain the lead until Thomson leveled the championship with a birdie on the final hole to force a playoff at 10-under-par 134.

Summerhays and Thomson played the 445-yard, par-4 18th three times, pushing birdie, birdie, par, before Summerhays prevailed with a par on the 225-yard, par-3 17th hole. Pikulthong finished strong with a final-round 66 to earn solo-third place at 9-under par, and Alan Quezada shot 6-under par (70-68—138) for fourth place.

In the Girls Championship division, Gracie McGovern shot an opening-round 2-under 70 to lead by one stroke over Grace Summerhays. In the second round, it was Summerhays’ turn to shoot 70, making five birdies in a seven-hole stretch (1-7), to cement the championship by five strokes at 3-under-par 141. The win marks Summerhays’ second PING Jr Masters Series victory of the season, after a first-place finish at the Fisher-Bryan Invitational in February and second place finish at the Warren Schutte Invitational in January. Jennifer Seo (74-72) and Logan Allen (72-74) finished tied for second place at 2-over par 146.

See full final results here.

The Thunderbirds were founded in 1937 with the mission of promoting the Valley of the Sun through sports. The Thunderbirds consist of 55 “active” members and more than 250 “life” members.  In 2018 The Thunderbirds raised a record $14 million for charity from proceeds from last year’s tournament and have eclipsed $161 million in charitable giving since its inception in 1932.  For more information on The Thunderbirds or the Waste Management Phoenix Open, visit

The PING Junior Masters Series tournaments are made up of five 36-hole, invitation-only, competitions where top-ranked Arizona junior golfers play locally against their peers. Due to the strength of the field, players earn more national-level points. This helps Arizona’s best enter national junior golf tournaments as well as better prepares them for college golf and securing college golf scholarships.

“Our goal is to provide a competitive place for aspiring players to play,” said Alex Clark, Chairman of the Board of the JGAA.  “This tournament series will allow kids to earn national-level points and will serve as a launching pad into nationally chartered events.”


About the JGAA

The Junior Golf Association of Arizona is a 501(c)(3) organization with the mission to educate, motivate and inspire Arizona’s youth through golf and all of the valuable lessons and life skills inherent to the game.  In addition to hosting competitive events, the JGAA develops programs for local schools, assists golf courses with their junior programs, conducts college prep seminars and etiquette clinics.   The Junior Ambassador and Guest Speaker Programs give JGAA students the opportunity to learn, develop and adopt successful habits and practices – both on and off the golf course – from a collection of prominent, civic-minded community and business leaders.  The JGAA also awards two scholarship funds annually to high school senior members of the JGAA for their college education – the Tres Arnold and the John Wolfinger Memorial College Scholarships.  The JGAA’s strong belief in teamwork and cooperation has guided the organization for more than 30 years and is instilled in all of its members.  For more information JGAA, visit or call 602-944-6168.


Barzekoff Picks Up AGA Championship Victory

By Brianna Gianiorio

LAVEEN, ARIZ- Cameron Barzekoff shot a final-round 69 Sunday at Aguila Golf Course to overtake second-round leader Jacob Letman and win the 2021 AGA Championship by two strokes. Barzekoff combined his opening-round 69 and second-round 70 to finish 2-under 208 for the tournament, the only player under par for the weekend.

“This win means a lot – this is my first tournament since early November,” the first-time AGA Major winner said. “I took a long, long time off – just been working on my game. I have not won a tournament since maybe this past summer.”

Evan Chien turned in the low round of the day, an impressive 3-under 67 to finish tied for second with reigning AGA Player of the Year Bryan Hoops at even-par.

Prevailing through rain, wind and cold weather during the first two rounds of the championship, Letman was the only player to record both rounds under par. Entering the final round 3-under, Letman started the day with a narrow one-shot lead ahead of Adam Walicki and a two-shot lead ahead of Barzekoff.

Barzekoff, a 20-year-old Las Vegas resident, found himself one behind the lead after he birdied the first hole. When Letman and Walicki turned in bogeys on the par-4 5th hole, Barzekoff jumped into his first lead of the tournament. After a birdie on hole 8, Barzekoff made the turn with a 1-under 34, two shots ahead of Hoops and Zach Smith.

It was an up-and-down back nine for Barzekoff, who still managed to hold the lead through the final stretch. He recorded two bogeys and a birdie on his first five holes to drop his lead to one. It was a clutch eagle on hole 15 that made for his two-shot win..

“Today it was a little bit more wayward off the tee, I made some clutch holes coming in, like the eagle and 15,” Barzekoff said. “I think I went driver driver off the deck and then made a 30-foot for eagle. That was what kept me kind of in the tournament.”

He finished out his final three holes bogey, birdie, bogey to claim the win.With tough hole locations and weather, he was the only player to turn in three rounds of par or better.

“I didn’t have much confidence coming into the greens this week after the first two rounds,”he said. “Trusting your line is probably the biggest thing – a couple of my longer putts I trusted and I happened to make a few when they counted.”

This marks Barzekoff’s first tournament and win of his 2021 amateur season. The champion gave up D1 college golf at Boise State University to return back home to Las Vegas after his father was diagnosed with cancer but hopes to return to college golf soon.

“I played two years there (at BSU). I decided to come home for my father’s health in Vegas- he has been battling cancer for the last two and a half years, so I wanted to come closer to him and hopefully I’ll be on UNLV’s roster next semester.”

2021 marks the 32nd year of the AGA Championship since its inception in 1989. Formerly known as the AZ Publinks, the Championship is one of seven championships conducted by the Arizona Golf Association. Held over a three-day period, the 54-hole event with a cut after 36 holes, is the first AGA Championship of the year. The next Championship is the Arizona Stroke Play Championship hosted by Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Course set for April 22-25, 2021.

Click for Full Results


Field Set for First AGA Major of the Year

By Brianna Gianiorio

The field of the 32nd Arizona Golf Association Championship, formerly known as the AZ Publinks, is set, with 144 of the region’s top amateur players battling for a Kachina trophy at Aguila Golf Course in Phoenix March 12-14.

The 54-hole event begins Friday morning, and the low 60 players and ties will advance to Sunday’s Final round.

The Arizona Golf Association is set to conduct the AGA Championship for the 32nd consecutive year starting Friday at Aguila Golf Course in Phoenix.

The 54-hole event will begin on Friday morning, where 144 amateur golfers from around the valley will tee it up for the opening round. The following 18 holes on Saturday will determine the low 60 players and ties who will advance to the final round on Sunday.

Player Highlights

Two Past Champions:

  • 2018 Champion Rusty Brown and 2020 Champion Sean O’Donnell will attempt to win a second AGA Championship title this weekend. Defending Champion O’Donnell ran away with the title last year after an impressive final round 66. O’Donnell already picked up a win this season at the 2021 AGA Short Course. Brown, the 2020 Senior Player of the Year, managed six top-five finishes and a win in the Senior Division of the AGA Championship during the 2020 season.

Two AGA Players of the Year:

  • Three-time AGA Player of the Year Bryan Hoops is ready to make a run for his 13th AGA Major title. Hoop’s resume includes two Arizona Senior Match Play titles, three Arizona Four-Ball titles, three Arizona Mid-Amateur titles and a four Arizona Senior Stroke Play titles. Last season, Hoops posted three top-four finishes and a win at the Arizona Mid-Amateur. Two-time AGA Player of the Year, Adam Walicki will compete for his first AGA Championship victory. Walicki notched two top-5 finishes and a win at the 2020 Players Cup Championship

2020 Mayfair Award Winner:

  • Chris Kamin, who recorded a 69.3 weighted scoring average during 2020 to pick up to 2020 Mayfair Award, has already managed two top-six finishes in the first two events of the season. Kamin’s impressive 2020 season highlights include a win at the 2020 Northern Amateur and a runner-up finish at the 96th Arizona Amateur, held at Desert Forest Golf Club.


Championship Course
Aguila Golf Course | Laveen, Arizona

Championship Yardage
6,855 yards/Par 70

Dates of Championship
March 12-14, 2021

Tournament Record Score
2019 Champion George Markham – 14-under 

Hole by Hole
Hole 1: 409 yards (Par 4)
Hole 2: 565 yards (Par 5)
Hole 3: 175 yards (Par 3)
Hole 4: 462 yards (Par 4)
Hole 5: 444 yards (Par 4)
Hole 6: 377 yards (Par 4)
Hole 7: 190 yards (Par 3)
Hole 8: 309 yards (Par 4)
Hole 9: 454 yards (Par 4)

OUT: 3,385 yards (Par 35)

Hole 10: 466 yards (Par 4)
Hole 11: 411 yards (Par 4)
Hole 12: 460 yards (Par 4)
Hole 13: 138 yards (Par 3)
Hole 14: 392 yards (Par 4)
Hole 15: 601 yards (Par 5)
Hole 16: 197  yards (Par 3)
Hole 17: 334  yards (Par 4)
Hole 18: 471 yards (Par 4)

IN: 3,470 yards (Par 35))

TOTAL: 6,855 yards (Par 70)

Past Champions in Field
Sean O’Donnell (2020) and Rusty Brown (2018)


Full Field and Tee Times: Click Here