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JGAA Honors Junior Golfers At 2023 Awards Event Presented By TROON

By November 29, 2023December 1st, 2023No Comments

Link to photos

The JGAA announced the 2023 Player of the Year Awards and Sportsmanship Awards across five age divisions at the awards banquet presented by Troon at Papago Golf Course, November 28. Thanks to TROON’s support, the special night included a guest speaker-PGA TOUR player and University of Arizona golf alum Ricky Barnes with moderator Drew Stoltz from the Subpar Podcast.

“Congratulations to all those who secured a spot on the list. “Scott McNevin, the executive director of the JGAA. “The JGAA experienced an exceptional 2023 season, and we commend not just the award recipients but also every junior golfer who participated this year.”

Owen Bolles of Chandler won 2023 Boys Championship division Player of the Year, with five victories, a runner-up, T8 and T9 finishes in ten JGAA tournaments entered. In all, he fired 9 of 20 rounds in the 60s for a top-ranked 71.39 scoring average. His most notable wins came at this year’s Betsy King IMG Academy Junior World Qualifier and FBGA-Mina Harigae PING Jr Masters. The sophomore went on two impressive streaks, going back-to-back at the New Year Classic/FBGA-Mina Harigae PING Jr. Masters and Betsy King IMG Academy Jr. World Qualifier/SWS PGA Jr. Championship. The Chandler native competed in eight AJGA events and had an impressive year on the national stage. Top AJGA performances included three top-10s capped off with a top-5 finish at the K.J. Choi Foundation Junior Championship by SK Telecom. Bolles qualified for the 47th PGA Junior Championships, thanks to his victory at the Southwest Section PGA Jr. Championship, and ended up with a top-25 finish in the prestigious event at Hot Springs Country Club.

Alexis Vakasiuola of San Tan Valley earned Player of the Year honors in the Girls Championship division. She wrapped up the year in full force, winning five of her last 11 tournaments of the year. She put the icing on the cake with her recent commanding five-shot victory at the JGAA Fall Classic. Her stats speak for themselves on how consistent she stayed throughout the year: 15 top-10s in 17 tournaments, two runner-up’s and a 74.12 scoring average in 32 rounds. She represented Team Arizona at the 2023 Girls Junior America’s Cup and led them to fourth place against a stacked international field. The San Tan Valley native claimed her first PING Jr. Masters victory at the EGS Willie Low Invitational back in June, taking place amid her hot streak. Vakasiuola then won the Mesa City Junior Championship with two rounds in the 60s to win in consecutive weeks. Her most impressive wins on the 2023 season included the Betsy King IMG Academy Jr. World Qualifier and the State Junior Golf Championship at Paradise Valley C.C. Nationally, Vakasiuola’s best finish in AJGA competition featured a T18 at the Jim Click Automotive / HSL Properties Championship presented by the Tucson Conquistadores. She also qualified for the Girl’s Junior PGA Championship.

Player of the Year

Girls 10 & Under: Kimsey Terrell –Phoenix, AZ

Boys 10 & Under: Cat Dann –Mesa, AZ

Girls 11 – 12: Hayden Nguyen –Peoria, AZ

Boys 11 – 12: Cason Dezzani –Scottsdale, AZ

Girls 13 – 14: Hannah Nguyen –Phoenix, AZ

Boys 13 -14: Zachary Schaefer –Tucson, AZ

Girls 15 – 18: Rylee Stovall –Litchfield Park, AZ

Boys 15 – 18: Kaj Johnston –Cave Creek, AZ

Girls Championship: Alexis Vakasiuola –San Tan Valley, AZ

Boys Championship: Owen Bolles –Chandler, AZ

Sportsmanship Awards

Girls 10 & Under: Priya Natarajan –Phoenix, AZ

Boys 10 & Under: Zhenting Liu –Chandler, AZ

Girls 11 – 12: Samantha Evangelista –Queen Creek, AZ

Boys 11 – 12: Brody Olayvar –Tucson, AZ

Girls 13 – 14: Aubrey Pizzillo –Goodyear, AZ

Boys 13 – 14: Bo Moore –Phoenix, AZ

Girls 15 – 18: Raleigh Lard –Scottsdale, AZ

Boys 15 – 18: Oliver Uribe –Scottsdale, AZ

Girls Championship: Lena Durette –Scottsdale, AZ

Boys Championship: Hogan O’Malley –Tempe, AZ

Most Improved Awards

Boys: Shravan Ramesh –Scottsdale, AZ

2022 – 91.33
2023 – 80.00

Girls: Payton Connelly –Phoenix, AZ

2022 – 93.00
2023 – 83.73

Volunteer of the Year: Rich Atkinson

2023 JGAA Hole-in-ones

Thomas Caffarelli – 12/11/2022: Winter Classic

#3 at Grandview Golf Course

197 yards with his 6-iron

Talan Ewell – 2/25/2023: Phoenix Metro Junior Championship

#5 at Stonecreek Golf Club

156 yards with his 8-iron

Zachary Schaefer – 4/22/2023: Betsy King IMG Academy Junior World Qualifier

#8 at Bear Creek Golf Complex – Bear Course

142 yards with his 8-iron

Eva Heinz – 4/22/2023: Betsy King IMG Academy Junior World Qualifier

#13 at Ocotillo Golf Club – Golf/Blue Rotation

142 yards

Nicholas Butkiewicz – 4/22/2023: Betsy King IMG Academy Junior World Qualifier

#10 at Whirlwind Golf Club – Cattail Course

202 yards with his 6-iron

Evan Tyree – 11/5/2023: JGAA Fall Classic Presented by Elite Golf Schools

#6 at Las Colinas Golf Club

140 yards

Makenna Cox – 7/7/2023: Prescott City Junior Championship

#15 at Antelope Hills Golf Complex – South Course

105 yards with 50 degree wedge

JGAA 2024 membership opens December 6 and tournament registration for January and February events opens December 13. JGAA membership also includes enrollment into Youth on Course, a money-saving program that allows JGAA members to play more than 20 local golf courses (1,700 nationwide) for as little as $5.

To register or learn more, visit, or contact Scott McNevin (, 602-944-6168.