Kaitlyn Helm claims her first title after last year’s runner-up performance
The Desert Mashie Spring Championship teed off March 25-26, with a field of 327 players at Encanto 18 Golf Course, Encanto 9 Course and Palm Valley Golf Club.
In the Boys Championship division, Tucson’s Brasen Briones jumped out to a tie for the first round lead with Ryan Shepherd of Boise, thanks to a 4-under 66 at Encanto Golf Course that featured a red-hot back nine where Briones recorded five birdies. Sheperd out of Boise, Idaho was in contention but slipped away in the second round after four bogies in a six-hole stretch to record a 76. Briones leveled out in the second round with an 1-over 71, leaving an opportunity for Scottsdale’s Alex Lynch to race back into the mix, who put up a 67 in the first round and an even 70 to sit atop the leaderboard with Brasen Briones and force a playoff. However, the playoff went by rather quickly as Briones made an eagle 3 on the 508-yard par 5 dogleg to seal the deal. The win marks Briones first in JGAA play this season, with a pair of runner-ups so far this year at the New Year Classic and Phoenix Metro Jr. Championship. Tied for third place, Avondale’s Ajay Morris (71-68) and Jacob Medina out of Oro Valley finished just two strokes off Briones’ pace at -1.
Last year’s runner-up in the Girls Championship division, Kaitlyn Helm of Litchfield Park, Arizona, took home the title this year by two strokes, after maintaining a steady scorecard with, 71-74—145 at Encanto. Kaitlyn Helm of Litchfield Park, however, trailed three shots from the top of the pack after the first round, with Alexis Vakasiuola firing off a 2-under 68. The next day, however, Helm held true to her game as it seemed everybody in contention were posting high scores left-and-right due to tougher conditions out on the course. Helm squeaked a victory after carding a 4-over 74 to finish out the tournament. San Tan Valley’s Alexis Vakasiuola (68-79) took solo second while Las Vegas product Zoe Parker (78-73) and Gilbert’s Jordin Cowing (76-75) tied for the last spot on the podium.
Also contested at Encanto 18 Golf Course, Callaway Conkright of Gilbert won the Boys 15-18 division at +4, (71-73—144), and Isabel Helgemoe of Scottsdale, won in the Girls 15-18 Division at +14, (74-80—154).
At Palm Valley Golf Club, Luke Duval of Scottsdale won the Boys 13-14 division at +2, (72-74—146), while Scottsdale’s Mischa Wang won in stellar fashion after coming up clutch on the third playoff hole (10) and shot +16, (80-80—160), to win the Girls 13-14 division.
On the Encanto 9 Golf Course, Hagen Lancaster out of Anthem took top honors in the Boys 11-12 Division at even par for the tournament (61-59—120). Hayden Nguyen of Peoria won the Girls 11-12 division title by a wide margin at +26, (70-76—146).
Jaxon Luzar took first place honors in the Boys 10 and Under division at an impressive even par, with the lowest round in the field, 29, on the Encanto 9, 29-31—60.
Kimsey Terrell out of Phoenix continues her winning streak as she’s yet to lose in a tournament thus far in the 2023 season. Terrell won the Girls 10 and Under division by two strokes after firing 8-over-par, 33-35—68, at Encanto 9.
“The Desert Mashie has a longtime tradition here in the Valley that is cherished by so many members of the community,” said Scott McNevin, Executive Director of the JGAA. “We are grateful here at JGAA to carry on a historic legacy that dates back to 1946 as a way for people to get introduced to a game we all love and enjoy.”
The Desert Mashie Golf Club – formed by a group of Phoenix-area golf enthusiasts in 1946 – first held the Desert Mashie Spring Championship in 1981 at Encanto Golf Course, and it became a JGAA-sanctioned event in 1992. The founding fathers of the club were Dr. Thomas A. Crump, Aubrey C. Aldridge, Earl Le Near, Earnest S. Bartlett, Dr. Lowell C. Wormley, Curtis “Dock” Earl, William Robbie” Robinson, Ray Mercado and Densil Perdue. Today the Desert Mashie is the oldest public golf club in Arizona.