Benita wins with playoff birdie; Haake fires final-round 64.
Arizona’s best junior golfers – 30 girls and 48 boys – gathered at Mesa’s Longbow Golf Club February 15-16 to compete in the Fisher-Bryan Invitational, the second coveted PING Junior Masters Series tournament of the 2020 JGAA season.
On the girl’s side, Tucson’s Maya Benita prevailed in a playoff over Peoria’s Mattison Frick after they both finished regulation play tied for first place at even-par 142. Frick held the first-round lead with an even-par 71, which she duplicated the next day, while Benita followed an opening 73 with a 2-under-par 69, the lowest round of the tournament, to catch Frick after 36 holes and force a playoff. Benita then made birdie on the first playoff hole, the par-5 18th, for the win. Calynne Rosholt of Cave Creek came in third place after rounds of 72-71—143 (+1), only one stroke off the pace.
Benita, an American Junior Golf Association Scholastic Junior All-America bound for University of Arizona, has been a fixture at JGAA tournaments since 2016 with a third-place finish to go along with her win so far this season. Last year she notched 14 top-10 finishes in 15 events entered, 11 of which also were top-5 finishes.
Frick continues to play well by adding this recent runner-up finish to two wins and a T6 in only four tournaments entered this season. And Rosholt improved upon her fourth-place finish in January at the Warren Schutte Invitational, the first PING Junior Masters Series tournament.
In the first round on the boy’s side, Brady Haake of Gilbert birdied the 18th hole while Riley Lewis of Prescott birdied the last three holes to both post scores of even-par 71, one stroke off the pace set by Mahanth Chirravuri. Haake then pulled away from the field in the second round with a 7-under-par 64 to win by six strokes over Lewis who shot 70 to finish in second place for the tournament at 1-under-par 141. Cade Anderson of Scottsdale finished in third place at even-par 142 with rounds of 72-70.
So far this season, Haake finished 4th in the New Year Classic and T22 in the Warren Schutte Invitational to go along with a win last year in the Mesa City Jr/IMG Jr World Qualifier and a second-place finish at the Phoenix Metro Jr. – presented by Van’s.
“Two great days out here at Longbow with Brady’s incredible final round and Maya’s playoff win,” said Scott McNevin, Executive Director of the JGAA. “Thank you to the Jeff Fisher and Stacie Bryan Golf Academy for all they do for junior golf. And thank you to Longbow for hosting our second PING Junior Masters tournament. Longbow has a long history of hosting prestigious events, we’re happy to be a part of it.”
The PING Junior Masters Series consists of five tournaments held at some of the most prestigious courses in Arizona. Debuting in 2015, the PING Junior Masters Series is a series of invitation-only tournaments tailored to Arizona junior golfers with the desire and ability to compete locally against their top-ranked peers. The field for the events is limited to junior golfers who are invited to compete by their national ranking by Junior Golf Scoreboard – boys must be in the top 3,500 and girls in the top 1,500.
“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 for nationally chartered events.”
Openings for junior players from neighboring states will be dependent on availability at each event. Qualified junior players can sign up for the PING Junior Major Series by visiting www.jgaa.org.
To learn more about the JGAA and the PING Junior Masters Series, contact Scott McNevin, JGAA Executive Director, email@example.com, or call Scott at 602-944-6168.