Lorenz shoots final-round 63; Laux wins by seven strokes.
Ben Lorenz of Peoria and Madeleine Laux of Goodyear took home top honors at the Willie Low Invitational Presented by MJ Insurance, a PING Junior Masters Series tournament on the JGAA schedule contested June 24-25 at Phoenix Country Club.
Lorenz, fresh off two wins in June at the Thunderbird Jr Classic and the Arizona State Junior Championship, turned in a third-consecutive JGAA victory with a sensational performance highlighted by a final-round, 8-under-par 63 on the par-71 layout. Just a week ago at the state championship, he carded another 8-under-par final-round 64, this time on a par 72 course, to win going away. The runner-up in 2018 Willie Low Invitational, Lorenz finished the 2019 tournament at 9-under-par 133, two strokes ahead of first-round leader, Zachary Missigman of Goodyear, who came in second place at 7-under par, 68-67—135. Anawin Pikulthong of Gilbert came in third place at 6-under-par 136 (69-67). With the win, Lorenz, a verbal commit to the University of Oklahoma, now sits on top of the season-long points race for JGAA Player of the Year.
In the Girls Championship Division, defending champion, Ashley Menne of Surprise, finished in second place at 6-over-par 148 (78-70), seven strokes off the pace set by Laux who posted a wire-to-wire win with a first-round 73 followed by a 68 for a 1-under-par 141. Mattison Frick of Peoria came in third place at 7-over-par 149. With the win, Laux pulled ahead of Menne by a tight 60-point margin in the JGAA Player of the Year race.
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 talents 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.”