ITTY BITTY OPEN Kicks Off January 12, 2019


The Junior Golf Association of Arizona (JGAA) announced that it will host the ITTY BITTY OPEN on January 12, 2019 at 20 Valley-wide locations open to all youngsters ages 3-5 years old. The FREE event has three clinic times per location starting a 9, 10 and 11 am where juniors and their parents will learn the basics skills of golf taught by qualified PGA and LPGA professionals. After the clinics, the kids will then participate in fun-filled, non-competitive golf games and tournaments. Each golfer will receive a set of plastic golf clubs, balls, a bag, and a visor – participants are asked to leave their own clubs at home. An adult “caddie” must accompany each golfer.

“Itty Bitty Open is a great way for parents to introduce their children to the game of golf,” said Scott McNevin, Executive Director of the JGAA. “It’s always fun to see so many kids having such a good time. It’s very exciting to think that a three-year-old kid attending the Itty Bitty Open will likely still be playing the game for decades to come. We’re honored to help them begin that journey.”
A special contest with prizes will be held at each session for the “Best Dressed Golfer and Caddie Team.” Anything goes: classic golf fashion; contemporary golf fashion; or any unique golf duds that may come to mind. All winners will receive a congratulatory letter, a trophy, and two tickets for the R.S. Hoyt, Jr. Dream Day Activities at the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open presented by Ak-Chin Indian Community (kids are already allowed to attend at no charge, so the tickets are for parents or other adults).
Space is limited, sign up before January 7 deadline. For those would like to check availability after the entry deadline, please call 602.944.6168.


Team California Claims 2018 PGA Jr. League Championship

Reported by Hayley Wilson and Michael Abramowitz.Photos by Darren Carroll/PGA of America

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Nov. 19, 2018) – As the moon rose above Grayhawk Golf Club, Team California (San Diego – Encinitas Ranch Golf Course) went undefeated at the 7th PGA Jr. League Championship presented by National Car Rental, to capture the team’s second crown and the fifth for the Golden State.

California’s Zander Grant, 13, of Rancho Santa Margarita, California, drained a downhill 5 ½-foot putt on Hole No. 9, to clinch the national title over Team Minnesota (Blaine – TPC Twin Cities) 7 ½ to 4 ½. California finished 6-0 in the Championship and Minnesota posted an impressive 5-1-0 clip in its first Championship.
“It felt great,” said Grant. “It was a little scary, because it was straight downhill and sliding to the right. But it felt good, just like the putt I made on Hole No. 6 to win the flag.”
Back in the Winners Circle

This is a familiar feeling for Team California (6-0-0) Captain John Mason, PGA, and Coach Jackie DeWald-Mason. They previously led their team to victory at the 2015 Championship at Disney’s Palm Course in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. “We’ve gotten better and better each month, and this is the culmination of it all,” said Mason. “We’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. And, what a great team Minnesota was.”

The highlight of the match came early when Minnesota’s Cash Dragich, 14, of Blaine, made a remarkable chip off the side of a hill from 80-feet out. The ball rolled along the ridge and into the cup for an eye-popping eagle. California answered the bell with a remarkable 30-foot eagle of their own by Ryan Abuan, 14, of Temecula.
California took control with a 5-3 lead after six holes, needing only a point and a half to clinch. They would move the score to 6-4, before Darren Ho, of San Diego, hit a 130-foot approach shot to 5 ½ feet to set up Grant’s glory. “That was the dagger,” said Mason. “That was what won it right there.”

The team went into celebration mode, as the customary water bottle shower turned into a race to stay dry down the 18th fairway, as the sun set along the McDowell Mountains.
California team member Jay Leng, Jr., 13, was the sole returning competitor to the current team. His teammate Karen Tsuru was just 10-years-old when her older brother, Daina Tsuru, helped California win the title three years ago. Now, she’s holding the title, too.

“This win means everything,” said Tsuru, 13. “My brother played in 2015, and I wanted to be like him and win. I’m pretty excited to bring the news back to San Diego.”
In the third place match, Team Texas (Montgomery) edged Team Louisiana (Shreveport) 8 ½ to 3 ½. The two-time Championship competitors attributed much of their success this weekend to their chemistry as a team.

“Between Ben [Willman, PGA, Captain] and I, we had a lineup set last night,” said Texas Coach EJ Kim, PGA. “We completely [called an] audible on it. We said the chemistry has been great, so were just going to go with what we had this morning, and let the kids have fun.”

Team Minnesota, deemed tournament underdogs from the start, battled their way to the top of the Wanamaker Division with a clean 5-0 record in Divisional Play. It was their grit and determination that earned them a spot in the Championship round Monday afternoon. Though they clinched their Championship berth the day before, Minnesota added another win to their belt Monday morning, defeating defending champion Team Georgia 6 ½ to 5 ½.

“We’re really proud of them all,” said Minnesota Captain Jay Norman, PGA. “They played outstanding all week… We’re rookies, so we live and learn.” Despite coming up short, Minnesota relished the experience.

“This has been amazing,” said Minnesota’s Kathryn VanArragon, 13. “We didn’t know what to expect coming here, it was our first time. It was absolutely incredible.”
On the final day of play, there was a hole-in-one by Team Virginia’s Rylan Shim, 13, who aced the picturesque, 118-yard Par-3 Hole No. 8 with a pitching wedge.

In the morning matchup against Team Delaware that Texas won 8 ½ to 3 ½, Texas’ Finn Burkholder holed out from 140 yards for an eagle.
“I didn’t see it go in, because I’m not tall enough,” said Burkholder. “Everyone went crazy. I didn’t know it went in, but I put my hands up thinking it did.”
While the Woolsey and Camp Fires have not directly impacted the team, Mason remarked during the week that a win could be a shining light in the dark.
“If we can give them something to cheer about and feel good about, it always helps.”


Mahanth Chirravuri and Kailani Deedon take JGAA Fall Classic Titles

4 Nov 2018 by JGAA

The JGAA Fall Classic teed off November 3-4 with Mahanth Chirravuri of Chandler posting 63-69 to take top honors in the Boys Championship division at 10-under-par 132 at Lone Tree Golf Club. Chirravuri started out hot with an 8-under-par effort featuring seven birdies, one eagle and one bogey to lead by four strokes after the first round. He followed up with a 2-under-par 69 to win the event by six strokes over Alexander Yu of Gilbert (71-67) and Max Lyons (69-69) of Peoria; both players finished tied for second place at 4-under-par 138.

His third win of the season, Chirravuri finished in the top 5 in all but two of 10 tournaments entered this season. Moreover, he was a member of the JGAA’s winning Hogan Cup team that posted Arizona’s second victory in the event’s 50-year history.

In the Girls Championship Division, Mesa’s Kailani Deedon, 13, also fired two rounds in the 60s (69-68) at Lone Tree to finish at 5-under-par 137, two strokes ahead of second-place finisher Grace Summerhays of Scottsdale (69-70—139, -3). Reyna Hernandez of Gilbert finished in third place at even-par 142 (74-68).

The win marks The JGAA Fall Classic teed off November 3-4 with Mahanth Chirravuri first in the Girls Championship division to go along with a victory in the Girls 13-14 division in the New Year’s Classic in January. She also finished strong in several other events entered in the Girls Championship division including the Phoenix City Junior Championship (T2), Antigua Milt Coggins AZ Junior Stroke Play (T4), and the Scottsdale Junior Championship (T5).

Anawin Pikulthong of Gilbert won the Boys 15-18 division at 4-under par (69-69—138). Coincidently, he won the tournament last year in the Boys 13-14 division. This year, Carlos Astiazaran of Tucson prevailed in the Boys 13-14 division at 7-under-par 137 (71-66) contested at Western Skies Golf Club.

At Augusta Ranch Golf Course, Oliver Uribe, another two-time winner, of Scottsdale took top honors in the Boys 11-12 Division at 16-over par (71-67—138), and Pierson Huyck from Phoenix won the Boys 10 and Under Division at 2-over par (29-33—62).

In the Girls 15-18 Division, Malia Uyeshiro of Queen Creek won at 7-over par (76-73—149). Paige Hammarstrom of Peoria won the Girls 13-14 division at 4-over par (74-74—148); she also won in the Girls 10 and Under division last year. Madeleine Nguyen of Phoenix won the Girls 11-12 Division at 15-over par (72-65—137). Alexis Lamadrid won in the Girls 10 and Under division at 15-over-par 75 (39-36).