Past JGAA players:
JGAA: 2014-2016, Buena Vista High School – 2016 Graduate
University of Arizona
Although the epicenter of Arizona golf may seem to be the Valley of the Sun, numerous amateurs statewide have made seismic waves of their own. Briggs Duce is one of them.
The Sierra Vista resident and senior on the University of Arizona Men’s Golf Team debuted in the JGAA Boys Championship division in 2014 at age of 16. He started and ended that year with solid play, posting a second-place finish in his first-ever JGAA tournament in May, Tucson City Junior Championship. He then wrapped up with a fourth-place finish in December.
Duce packed 17 events into his 2015 JGAA schedule, piling up 11 top-10s along the way. During the weeks straddling May/June, Duce enjoyed a solid stretch with a second-place finish at the Tucson City Jr Championship, fifth place at the Willie Low Invitational and a T8 at the Thunderbird Junior Classic. He then returned home to post a T2 at the Thompson Invitational before finishing strong in the last three events of the season – T4, T3 and T2 – at the State Junior Golf Championship, Arizona Junior Match Play and PING Arizona Junior Masters, respectively.
Duce throttled-back appearances in 2016 with only two starts, one of which was a second-place finish at the Thunderbird Invitational, a prestigious Junior Masters Series tournament. No doubt, the upcoming move to the next level was on his mind.
“It was always a dream of mine (to go to UA),” he said in an interview with the Herald/Review. “Once I was offered, it wasn’t a tough decision.”
At UA, Duce clawed his way up from seven tournament as a freshman to eight as a sophomore to nine as a junior, accompanied by steady improvement in key statistics. His scoring average tapered from 75.14 to 70.83. He trimmed six strokes from his best 18 holes, 70 to 64, and likewise, Duce’s best 54-hole tournament score contracted from 1-over-par 217 to 8-under-par 202.
Last year Duce finished 32nd at the Pac-12 Championships, firing two rounds in the 60s, and to date he has played 20 tournaments and 61 rounds as a Wildcat with an overall scoring average of 74.11.
Before college golf, the three-time Colt’s captain at Buena High School led his team as second-team All-Arizona who finished fifth at the 2015 Division I state championship and eighth in 2014.
Upon review of Duce’s accomplishments so far, a clear pattern of consistent progress appears. Far from a flash in the pan, Duce grinds it out with more of a slow-burn style that gains momentum as the years go by.
JGAA: 2005-2011, Snowflake High School – 2011 Graduate
JGAA alum Kyle Jones recently made headlines with a big win at the Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank. The Snowflake, Arizona native snatched victory from the hands of fellow competitors, Paul Haley and Daniel Summerhays, with a birdie on the second playoff hole of the Korn Ferry Tour event held at Oakridge Country Club. And he did so with the social media world pulling hard for Summerhays after he announced the tournament would be his last in favor of becoming “a teacher-mentor,” instead of a “touring golf pro.”
The well-wishers almost got their way, as Summerhays made a final-round charge to set the pace for Jones and Haley to chase. Both needed birdies on the final hole to win. Jones nearly knocked in his birdie pitch while Haley nailed a meat-on-the-bone come-backer for par.
In the playoff, Summerhays dropped out after the first hole, and Jones went on to make a 7-footer for birdie on the second extra hole to closeout Haley.
“Honestly, right now, I’m pretty speechless. I’ve been waiting for this moment for quite a while,” Jones said after the win. “I knew I was good enough to win out here, and I just hadn’t been able to crack through. It feels pretty good, I’m pretty speechless right now.”
From the looks of Jones’ JGAA record, he lets his play do the talking.
He started out in the Boys 11-12 division in 2005 and 27 events later, he finished up in the Boys Championship division in 2009, earning Player of the Year Honors that year after four wins, T3, T4, 5 and a pair of T10s in nine events entered.
He led Snowflake High School to three-straight Arizona Class 3A state golf championships, including four-straight individual Arizona state golf titles. In USGA play, Jones won 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur Qualifier and participated at 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur.
Jones’ record at Baylor University also was impressive, as the All-American became Baylor’s first-ever three-time Big 12 Men’s Golfer of the Month honoree. Jones earned three individual titles and 13 top-5 finishes. He is Baylor’s single-season stroke-average record holder at 70.47 (2014-15 season) and ranked third in program history with 71.93 career stroke average.
Jones’ story exemplifies the JGAA’s commitment to junior golfers across Arizona. Although he, no doubt, logged more travel miles than most to compete in JGAA tournaments, he certainly made the most of it.
JGAA: 2011-2016, Xavier Prep – 2016 Graduate
From Xavier College Preparatory in Phoenix to Xavier University in Cincinnati, JGAA alum Mikayla Fitzpatrick has played competitive golf under the guise of menacing Gators and chivalrous Musketeers.
Right out of the gate as a freshman in the 2016-2017 season, she broke the Musketeers’ team stroke average record, and went on to a 10th place finish at the BIG EAST Championship. Academically, she also set her pace in the classroom as a WGCA All-American Scholar.
As a sophomore, Fitzpatrick competed in all ten golf events that year, picking up five top-10 finishes along the way, with a team-best 75.59 stroke average, nearly a full stroke better than the year before. She also made the All-BIG EAST Team, and was honored by the Cincinnati Women’s Sports Association as the Collegiate Player of the Year.
As a junior, Fitzpatrick notched nine top-10 finishes in 12 tournaments before winning the Individual BIG EAST Championship Title. Her exceptional individual play also led to the team championship.
“Coach was walking with me for the last two and a half holes, but 18 has always been a nerve-wracking hole, the green’s kind of narrow and I had my whole team and there’s actually bleachers set up with volunteers, parents, the other teams,” said Fitzpatrick. “It’s kind of a nervous thing but also exciting because everyone’s there watching and you’re performing. That’s my first individual win, ever, in my career. It was really special not only to do it at conference but to have both my parents there was it pretty special.”
The win gave Xavier a birth into an NCAA Regional tournament, and Fitzpatrick also qualified for the individual NCAA Women’s Golf Championship competition where she finished T90.
Since becoming a Musketeer, Fitzpatrick broke multiple records including 18-hole low round (64, -7), 36-hole low (135, -7), 54-hole low (212, +2), and season and career rounds at par-or-better (15 in the season and 23 career).
Fitzpatrick is a leader both on, and off, the golf course. She was recently honored with the Rev. Paul L. O’Connor, S.J. Award, a Student Leadership Award honoring students who display exceptional leadership in Xavier’s student government, club activities or other organizations.
Fitzpatrick graduated Summa Cum Laude in three years with a degree in Business Analytics. She recently competed her senior year for the Musketeers earning her MBA. Her long term goal includes pursuing her dream of playing professional golf.
In JGAA competition, Fitzpatrick began teeing it up at 12 years old, played in 69 tournament from 2011 to 2016 and recorded 58 top-10s including seven wins. She was named JGAA Player of the Year in Girls Championship division in 2014 and runner-up the following year.
Fitzpatrick started the 2013 season in the Girls 13-14 division, where she picked up her first JGAA win at the Antigua Milt Coggins AZ Junior Stroke Play. A week later, she won again at the Thunderbird Junior Classic in the Girls 15-18 division.
In 2014, she posted three more wins, including defending her title at the Antigua. Another big win came that season at the Desert Mashie Spring Championship, and likewise, she defended this title the following year in 2015. In her final two JGAA seasons (2015 and 2016), Fitzpatrick managed to place 8th or better in 12 of 14 events.
Fitzpatrick earned Arizona Golf Association Women’s Player of the Year points in the 2019 season by winning the AGA Women’s Stroke Play Championship, firing a three-over-par score of 216 (71, 73, 72). She also was the qualifying medalist and semi-finalist, recording a five-under score of 67, in the 2019 AGA Women’s Match Play Championship.
Being a leader in both athletics and scholastics sits at the foundation of the JGAA, and it is encouraging to see former JGAA member like Mikayla Fitzpatrick embracing it. Both golf and learning are long-term endeavors well worth the time and effort. Just ask Mikayla.
JGAA: 2008-2016, Desert Mountain High School – 2016 Graduate
Santa Clara University
From The Valley of the Sun to Silicon Valley, in 2016 Matt McCarty enrolled at Santa Clara University, an institution of higher learning with self-stated goal “to help shape the next generation of leaders and global thinkers.” Sound familiar? It bears an uncanny resemblance to the JGAA’s mission “to educate, motivate, and inspire Arizona’s future leaders through golf.”
Beginning in 2008, McCarty jumped into competitive JGAA golf with both feet in the Boys 10 & Under division. By the time he brushed in the last putt in his final JGAA tournament in 2016, he logged 63 starts across all five age divisions.
McCarty broke through with his first JGAA victory in 2011 at the Junior/Parent Scramble, and defended his title in the Boys 13-14 division the following year. His next win came early in the 2014 season at the New Year’s Shootout in the Boys 15-18 division where he won in a playoff. This triggered a move to the Boys Championship division. It only took eight more starts to earn another win, this time, at the Arizona Junior Match Play Championship.
In addition to the wins, McCarty always seemed to be on the front page of the leaderboard. In fact, he managed to make the top-10 in 38 of the 63 tournaments entered, an impressive 60-percent clip.
At the 2015 Arizona Boys Division I High School Golf Championship, McCarty led Desert Mountain to the team title, and nearly took individual honors as well. Instead, on the third hole of a four-way playoff, Trueman Park ended it with an eagle chip-in.
“Matt was always prepared to play,” said Scott McNevin, executive director, JGAA. “His consistent dedication was no doubt a big factor in moving on to college golf at Santa Clara.”
Once he landed as a freshman, McCarty went to work competing in nine events with his best finish, T3, at the PING Cougar Classic thanks to a season-low 67. As a sophomore, he played in all 12 events, earning All-WCC honors along with a win at The Farms Invitational at 4-under par. In his junior year, McCarty competed in all 11 events, posted eight top-20 finishes (including 5 top-10s) and carried the Bronco’s lowest scoring average at 71.26. As a senior (2019-20), McCarty put up top-10 showings in three of four tournaments, two as the low Bronco in the field.
JGAA: 2012-2016, Salpointe Catholic/Carmel High School – 2018 Graduate
Michigan State University
As the 2020 JGAA season resumes in Tucson next week, it seems fitting to feature a Tucsonan. Haylin Harris, who attended Salpointe Catholic High School her freshman and sophomore years, left the Old Pueblo bound for Carmel High School in Carmel, Indiana before landing in East Lansing at Michigan State University.
She immediately went to work, playing in all 11 team tournaments as a freshman in the 2018-2019 Spartan season. She placed third at the East Lansing Regional to earn a bid to the NCAA Championships where she tied for 51st at 12-over-par 231.
Harris kick-started her JGAA career in 2012 with a win in her very first tournament in the Girls 13-14 division. She followed in 2013 with two more, which happened to be at home (Tucson Conquistadores Spring Classic and Tucson City Jr Championship), before competing in 14 JGAA tournaments in 2014 in the Girls Championship division. A good year for Harris, she posted three wins as well as top-10s in all but two tournaments.
In 2015, Harris place first in the Willie Low Invitational en route to 6 of 7 top-5 finishes that year before wrapping up JGAA competition in 2016 with a third-place finish in the Tucson Conquistadores Spring Classic and T8 at the Thunderbird Invitational.
Among other accolades, Harris was ranked as the No. 3 player nationally in the 2018 class by Golfweek, reaching as high as 12th in the Golfweek/Sagarin Girls Junior Rankings and 25th in the Rolex AJGA Polo Golf Rankings.
She qualified for three consecutive USGA Girls Junior Championships (2015-17), making the field of 64 match play in 2015 and ’16, and then all the way to the round of 16 in 2017. And Harris qualified for the 2017 USGA Women’s Amateur.
Harris teed it up in 14 AGJA events, with two wins under her belt. She won the 2017 Davis Love Open with the help of a final round 67 and the 2017 Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Open after a 68 in the final round.
JGAA: 2008-2015, Brophy College Prep – 2015 Graduate
University of Illinois
Once a Brophy Bronco, Michael Feagles became a Fighting Illini and immediately made an impact by helping the University of Illinois’ golf team reach the NCAA semifinals for the 2016-2017 season. In fact, he earned 2017 Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors for his contribution.
Upholding Illini’s Winning Tradition
Feagles kept up the pace to become the Illini’s No. 1 golfer with solid play during the last three years that helped quench Illinois’ thirst for Big Ten Golf Championships. Amazingly, they have owned the top spot every year, except one, since 2009.
Feagles’ collegiate accolades are no surprise given his junior amateur career. He was a member of the JGAA from 2008 to 2015 with 60 events entered. Feagles started out in the 10 and Under division where he notched his first win. On his way to seven more, Feagles wrapped up JGAA competition in 2015 on a high note by making 4 of 4 top-10s, with a second-place finish at AM&E Classic Presented by Bryce Molder and T3 at Charlie Beljan Invitational.
That same year, Feagles earned recognition as AJGA All-American Honorable Mention due to solid play such as a third-place finish at the AJGA TPC-Southwind, second place at the AJGA Heather Farr Classic, and another strong finish at the coveted Thunderbird International Junior. Hosted by The Thunderbirds, the same group that runs the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the event is one of the most competitive junior tournaments in the world. Feagles managed to finish in ninth place in 2015 sandwiched between Viktor Hovland at T7 and Matthew Wolff at T10. Although Feagles is more than ready and willing to join Hovland and Wolff on tour, the current unusual circumstances prompted him to reconsider.
Back to Urbana – Champaign
Feagles announced he will return to Illinois for a fifth season at the University of Illinois.
“I just tried to take my time and make the best decision I could,” Feagles said in an interview with 247Sports.com. “For me, I essentially looked at where the state of professional sports are right now, and who knows when there’s gonna start up and what’s gonna happen with the pro tours? How access for guys turning pro now is going to be a lot tougher than it was supposed to be. Who knows if Q school is going to happen on some the lower tours, so it’s just a mess. For me, to have a chance to go back to a great university, get another degree, finish out there, finish my career the way I want to. Then at the end of it, pro golf is still going to be there. For me, after a while, it seemed like a no-brainer.”
Emily MaharJGAA: 2012-2017,
Xavier College Prep – 2017 Graduate
Virginia Tech University
After joining the JGAA in 2012 and graduating from Xavier College Prep in 2017, Emily Mahar became a Virginia Tech Hokie. She joined the team with momentum from four consecutive Arizona state high school golf titles as a Gator, four years on the academic honor roll and numerous highlights in JGAA competition.
Shortly after landing in Arizona, the Brisbane, Australia native began competing in what would turn out to be 55 JGAA events over six seasons. She started out in the Girls 13-14 division before moving up to the Girls Championship division for the final four seasons. In the latter, Mahar managed to post 9 wins, 29 top-5s and 34 top-10 finishes in only 36 tournaments entered in the Girls Championship division.
“Emily was a great player when she competed in JGAA events, and her stellar play has continued at Virginia Tech,” said Scott McNevin, executive director of the JGAA. “When she arrived from Australia before high school, we knew she had a great chance of earning a college golf scholarship.”
Mahar punctuated her JGAA career in style with two wins. First, she captured the Phoenix City Jr Championship by a whopping eight strokes with a pair of 70s. Then, a week later Mahar won the Prescott City Junior Championship with clutch play down the stretch. She shrugged off a double bogey on the 14th with birdies on 15 and 16 before piling on an eagle at the 17th to win by one stroke with rounds of 69-67.
As a Virginia Tech Hokie, Mahar picked up her first individual title at the Princess Anne Invitational last October after firing 69-69-65—203. Her wining scores marked the first time a Virginia Tech player posted three sub-70 rounds in one event. The 65 set a new school record for the lowest single-round score, and the 203 is now the lowest three-round total in school history. All the accolades led to ACC Player of the Month honors for Mahar. She is now the Hokies’ all-time leading scorer, and her 71.00 stroke average is the Hokies’ best ever. She is currently ranked 50th on Golfstat and helped lead the Hokies to their highest-ever ranking of 21st on Golfstat.
JGAA: 2010-2017, Salpointe Catholic – 2017 Graduate
University of Arizona
Tucson, of course. Born and raised in the Old Pueblo, Trevor Werbylo entered the JGAA Boys 11-10 age division in 2010. From there he slowly ramped up the number of JGAA tournaments entered leading to breakthrough years in 2015 and 2016.
Strong at home, he won the Tucson Conquistadores Spring Classic in 2015 to go along with six other top-10 finishes that year. Werbylo followed up the next year with two wins in Tucson at The Thompson Invitational and the Tucson City Jr Championship. He also won the Wigwam Invitational in 2016, one of the first PING Junior Masters Series tournaments.
After graduating from Salpointe Catholic High School in 2017, Werbylo naturally landed at the University of Arizona. This January he helped the Wildcats take their third-straight Arizona Intercollegiate Championship at Sewailo Golf Club.
“Trevor is an amazing player and a big part of our team’s success each week,” Jim Anderson said after the tournament. “Several guys have the ability to put the team on his back, and Trevor shoulders a ton of great golf for the Cats.”
It’s no wonder Werbylo is making waves at the college level. Prior to UA, the Arizona Republic named him as a finalist for Boys Golf Athlete of the Year honors. He made first-team All-Arizona with a 70.33 scoring average, and Werbylo claimed medalist honors at the Brophy Invitational.
JGAA: 1996-2001, Horizon HS Graduate – 2001;
Director, LPGA*USGA Girls Golf of Phoenix
The Junior Golf Association of Arizona played a major role in my development as a competitive junior golfer, collegiate golf scholar as well as stepping stones into a 14+ year career in the Golf Industry. As a junior, I did not travel outside the state so my strong competition & competitive experience was based on the local JGAA program. The JGAA formed my idea of what an event should be, I formed lifelong friendships & it created a platform for me to stand in the industry as a professional tournament manager.
Globe High School
Colorado School of Mines – Mechanical Engineering – 2002
VP of Fitting and Performance – PING Golf
Focus, morals, vulnerability, luck, courage, endurance, winning, losing, humility, perseverance, playing by the rules, and shaking hands on the last green no matter what. These things come to mind when I recall my years competing in the JGAA – and the lessons learned that live with me every day. Junior golf played a large part in my self-discovery – identifying and fostering character traits that help me invest in career decisions that led to where I am today. The JGAA just gets it when it comes to fostering the sport we all loved as junior golfers, and continue to love for a lifetime. Regardless of where we have ended up, all of us who have competed in JGAA events are indebted to the staff, sponsors, volunteers, host facilities, and parents who have invested in the importance of junior golf in Arizona.