Pierceson Coody of Plano, Texas, won the Boys Division at the Thunderbird International Junior in a two-hole sudden-death playoff at 6-under-par 204. In the Girls Division, Yuka Saso of Manila, Philippines, claimed her first AJGA Invitational win at 7-under-par 209. Click here for complete final standings.
The Thunderbird International Junior is celebrating its 19th year on the AJGA schedule at Grayhawk Golf Club. Many past champions of this prestigious AJGA Invitational have gone on to successful college, PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour careers including Morgan Pressel, Belen Mozo, Brittany Lang, Ariya Jutanugarn, Ryan Moore, Sam Burns, Norman Xiong and Brian Harman. Other notable participants include Webb Simpson, Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Paula Creamer, Inbee Park, Alison Lee and Lexi Thompson also competed in the event and advanced to the LPGA Tour. With the support of The Thunderbirds, Phil and Amy Mickelson Foundation, Grayhawk Golf Club and Under Armour®, the event has become one of the most competitive and fun-filled junior golf tournaments in the world.
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Coody Wins in Playoff
Coody started the final round two strokes back of 36-hole leader James Song of (Canada) Rancho Santa Fe, California. Competing in the same pairing, Coody and Song exchanged the lead throughout the round, ultimately concluding 54 holes of play tied at 6-under-par 204. Both players made par on No. 18 before playing the hole again where Coody made par again to win.
The 18-year-old earned his second AJGA win as he previously won the 2016 Under Armour® / Jordan Spieth Championship presented by American Campus Communities. Coody is No. 39 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings and will attend the University of Texas in the fall. “Going into the round I wasn’t necessarily nervous, but I was ready to get it going,” Coody said. “Once things started, I hit my first two shots perfect and made a 15-foot birdie putt so it couldn’t have started any better. The win means a lot because this is my last stroke play AJGA tournament.”
Saso Wins Girls Division By Three
Saso won in wire-to-wire fashion, carding 14 birdies and one eagle over 54 holes. The Thunderbird International Junior was only Saso’s second AJGA event as she finished 10th at the ANA Junior Inspiration in March. The 16-year-old never lost her lead, winning by three strokes.
“This win means a lot to me,” Saso said. “I’m really happy because I had my dad beside me the whole time. Everyone here was so friendly and to win at my second AJGA event makes me happy.”
Song finished second. Karl Vilips of (Australia) Wesley Chapel, Florida, took third at 4-under-par 206. Jackson Suber of Tampa, Florida, finished fourth at 3-under-par 207. William Mouw of Chino, California, rounded out the top five with a score of 1-under-par 209.
The Girls Division finished with a four-way tie for second. Brooke Seay of Rancho Santa Fe, California, Rachel Heck of Memphis, Tennessee, Sadie Englemann of Austin, Texas, and Yealimi Noh of Concord, California, posted 54-hole totals of 4-under-par 212.