Jennifer Seo comes out on top in Girls Championship division.
Gilbert’s Anawin Pikulthong separated himself from the field by an incredible nine-stroke margin after shooting a pair of 5-under-par 66s at Phoenix Country Club to win the Willie Low Invitational, the final PING Junior Masters Series tournament of the season. While the margin of victory raised eyebrows, Pikulthong’s win at 10-under par was anything but a surprise. He entered the field with a victory, two runner ups, one third place and a T8 finish so far this season.
Pikulthong picked up most of his 15 birdies at the tournament on the back nine, making 10 on the way in versus five on the way out, including three in a row – twice – on holes 12-14 in first round and 10-12 in the second. Charlie Palmer of Phoenix fired rounds of 70-71—141 (-1) to come in second place.
Two players finished tied for third place at even-par 142 – Ryland Johnson (72-70) of Gilbert and Adam Miller (71-71) of Phoenix, and Charlie Allen of Scottsdale picked up fifth place at 1-over-par 143 after shooting rounds of 72-71.
In what turned out to be a three-player race, Girls Championship division winner Jennifer Seo of Chandler held a two-stroke lead after posting a 2-under 69 in the first round. Sitting three back, Mesa’s Sydney Bryan, bound for UNLV in the fall, gave chase in the second round with four birdies on the back nine to earn second place at -1 (72-69). Likewise, Gracie McGovern (71-71) picked up two birdies late in the final round to pull into third place at even-par 142.
The event honors the late Willie Low, one of the Valley’s top golf professionals for nearly a half century who started the tournament in 1969. It has been showcasing the talent of junior golfers from across the state since then with past winners including PGA TOUR golfers Billy Mayfair (1983 and ’84), Ted Purdy (1989), Charlie Beljan (2000) and LPGA player, Sara Brown (2004).
Low influenced many of the Valley’s top juniors, including Howard Twitty and a young George Boutell who would later go on to win the 1962 Arizona Amateur Championship and then post a stellar career at Arizona State University, earning All American status.
The PING Junior Masters Series consists of five elite tournaments hosted at some of the most prestigious courses in Arizona.
“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.”