The Thunderbird Invitational came to a close yesterday, after two days of intense competition at Papago Golf Club. The first-round action of the Thunderbird Invitational sponsored by The Thunderbirds began March 11 with Charlie Palmer of Paradise Valley firing on all cylinders after an opening round 4-under-par 68, highlighted by 5 birdies to set himself apart. In the second round of the Boys Championship division, it was Chandler’s Vincent Cervantes who posted a 68 to get back in contention. He added it to a first round 70 to take a share of the lead in the final round and force a two-player playoff. In a tight race to the top of the leaderboard, Charlie Palmer birdied the 1st playoff hole on the par-5 nineth to win the Boys Champ division. He reached the green in two after a monstrous drive, putting him in position to be aggressive on his approach shot and capped it off with a two-putt to seal the victory. This win is Palmer’s first of the 2023 campaign but has shown consistency throughout the year thus far with three top-10s, including a runner-up finish at the Warren Schutte Invitational.
Other notable performances included Camden Braidech out of Scottsdale, who finished in second place and barely missed the playoff by one stroke with a total score of 139 (68-71). Four players tied for fourth place at 3-under to rack up top 5 accolades: Carlos Astiazaran of Tucson, Wheaton Ennis of Eagle, Idaho, Ramil Saelim of Peoria, and Ajay Morris of Avondale.
In the Girls Championship division, Cynthia Lang out of Chandler fired off an even 72 to take control early and maintain a two-stroke lead heading into the final round. However, her first-round lead would soon be erased after an 84 final round score and the emergence of Anya Mathur out of Scottsdale. Mathur stayed persistent and consistent throughout the event after carding back-to-back rounds in the low to mid 70s (74-72) to win by a resounding three strokes. Jennifer Seo out of Chandler took solo second after finishing with rounds of 82-67, the lowest round of the entire tournament for both the Boys and Girls division.
“We couldn’t be happier with how the Thunderbird Invitational turned out this year,” said Scott McNevin, Executive Director of JGAA. “The players were outstanding; the weather was incredible and The Thunderbirds always know how to put on an incredible golf tournament. We’re already looking forward to next year’s tournament with so much promising talent always competing here each year for this well-respected event.”