PHOENIX - The fourth event of the JGAA's Junior Masters Series, the Michael Thompson Invitational kicks off June 21-22 at Oro Valley Country Club. The 36-hole, invitation-only event is tailored to Arizona junior golfers with the desire and ability to compete locally against top-ranked peers. Thompson joins other local Arizona professionals Willie Low, Charlie Beljan and Bryce Molder as high-profile tournament ambassadors for the newly created Junior Masters Series.
"One of the goals of the Junior Masters Series is to introduce our current juniors to successful golfers who came up through the same programs years ago," said Scott McNevin, Executive Director of the JGAA. "It's a powerful way to reinforce the opportunities that are available to them from college golf scholarships to a career in professional golf."
Michael Thompson, a Tucson native, grew up playing in the Ricki Rarick Junior Golf program, Southwest Section PGA events and JGAA tournaments from 2000-2003. He was a member of the 2001 Eddie Hogan Cup team representing Arizona, where he finished third individually. Thompson played collegiate golf at the University of Tulane before transferring to the University of Alabama. In 2008, Thompson was named the SEC Player of the Year and shortly after turned professional. In 2013, Thompson won his first PGA TOUR event at the Honda Classic and finished 39th overall in the FedExCup standings that year. In 2014, he notched seven top-25 and a top-10 finishes in 22 events played. So far this year, he has a third-place finish and a pair of top 25s in 19 starts.
The field for the event is limited to players who were invited to compete by virtue of their national ranking according to Junior Golf Scoreboard – boys must be in the top 3,000 and girls in the top 1,500. Plus, players who have competed well in the JGAA Championship Division were also invited. Tee times for Sunday, June 21 begin at 11:15 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.the next day. Live scoring can be found Here.
In the Boys Division, Tucson resident Jonathan Walters enters the field after a recent win at the Antigua Milt Coggins AZ Jr Stroke Play, and a fourth-place finish at the Yuma City Junior Championship in May. Oro Valley's Chris Meyers looks to improve on his first two Junior Masters Series appearances where he notched a T6 finish at the AM&E Classic Presented by Bryce Molder in March and a T5 at the Charlie Beljan Invitational in May. Tucson's Trevor Werbylo won the Tucson Conquistadores Spring Classic in April, and recently placed second at the Thunderbird Junior Classic. Briggs Duce of Sierra Vista enters the field after a second-place finish at the Tucson City Junior Championship, and a fifth-place finish in the Willie Low Invitational presented by MJ Insurance.
In the Girls Division, Tucson's Taylor Hughes enters the event after recently being awarded the Michael J. Harris Core Values Award. She also notched a third-place finish at the Tucson City Junior Championship, and a fifth-place finish at the Willie Low Invitational presented by MJ Insurance. Sydney Colwill of Tucson won the Tucson Conquistadores Spring Classic in April and the Thunderbird High School Senior Classic in May. She also placed fourth in the Tucson City Jr Championship.
The JGAA's Junior Masters Series consists of five regular tournaments and one Series Championship at some of the most prestigious courses in Arizona. Dates and venues for the balance of the schedule will be released soon.