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Connor Bringhurst And Aubrey Hilgers Earn First JGAA Win Of The Season At 2024 Desert Mashie Spring Championship

By March 25, 2024April 1st, 2024No Comments
The 43rd annual Desert Mashie Spring Championship teed off March 23-24, with a field of 310 players at Encanto 18 and 9 hole Golf Courses, Sun City Country Club and Sun City South Golf Course. This event is a Local Qualifier for the Notah Begay Junior Championship. The juniors that advance from this Local Qualifier, will go the Regional AZ Qualifier at Whirlwind Golf Club in early September.

In the Boys Championship division, held at Encanto Golf Course, the leaderboard was bunched up near the top of the leaderboard with eight players breaking 70 in round one. Scottsdale’s Connor Bringhurst sat one shot back at 2 under par for the first-round lead with Jake Goyen of Mesa, Kyle Koski of Chandler, Anthony Goodson of Boise, and Cole Gillis of Phoenix. Cooper Ingraham of Scottsdale led the field at 3 under par after day one but slipped away in the second round after three bogies and a double bogey on the front nine. Many players looked to capitalize and position themselves ahead of their peers as red figures were flying across the board. Bringhurst and Hogan O’Malley of Tempe were neck and neck down the finishing stretch and endured the tough weather conditions and remained in contention. Both players ended regulation at 3 under par and duked it out in a playoff to determine the victor. Bringhurst clinched the win after carding a birdie four on the first playoff hole. The win marks his first ever JGAA victory. Trey Lambert of Idaho and Owen Greenough of Chandler finished tied for third at 2 under par.

In the Girls Championship division, Aubrey Hilgers of Litchfield Park took home the title this year by a resounding six strokes, after maintaining an identical scorecard with, 71-71—142 at Encanto. Hilgers came out of the gates strong with the best score after round one and continued her momentum throughout the event. Managing a two-shot lead after day one, Hilgers extended her margin and recorded three birdies in the final round to give herself plenty of wiggle room. The Litchfield Park resident wound up with a substantial victory to finish out the tournament. The win is her first of the 2024 season. Angela Zhikun Chen of Chandler finished solo second at 8 over par (73-75-148), and there was a three-way tie for third place. Cynthia Lang of Chandler, Nikki Bowen of Surprise and Charlene Lamb of Scottsdale each concluded at nine over par for the event.

Contested at Encanto, Matthew Polacheck of Phoenix hit a hole-in-one on Hole 14 with an 8 iron from 183 yards out. Matthew’s hole-in-one helped him secure a first place finish in the Boys 15-18 division at two over par, (72-70—142). Isabel Helgemoe of Scottsdale, goes back-to-back in the Girls 15-18 Division at 10 over par, (74-76—150).

At Sun City Country Club (Round 1) and Sun City South Course Golf (Round 2), Ash Edwards of Colorado won the Boys 13-14 division at four under par, (72-68—140), while Queen Creek’s Samantha Evangelista won the Girls 13-14 division by six shots at 2 over par.

On the Encanto 9 Golf Course, Nolan Wilson out of Litchfield Park took top honors by a landslide in the Boys 11-12 Division at 9 under par for the tournament (54-57—111). The total score is his best performance thus far in 2024. Kimsey Terrell of Phoenix repeats her success last year by winning the Girls 11-12 division title by one stroke at 15 over par, (66-69—135).
Joey Morin of Gilbert took first place in the Boys 10 and Under division at 5 over par (34-31—65). Amy Xuan out of Chandler won the Girls 10 and Under division by two strokes after firing 8-over-par, 34-34—68, at the Encanto 9 Golf Course.

“The Desert Mashie holds a cherished tradition in our Valley, deeply valued by numerous members of our community,” remarked Scott McNevin, Executive Director of the JGAA. “At JGAA, we’re appreciative to uphold this storied legacy, originating in 1946, providing a gateway for individuals to discover and embrace the game we all hold dear.”

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.