Scottsdale resident take top honors at Junior Masters Series

Alisa Snyder on left and Sam McKay. (Submitted photo)

Alisa Snyder on left and Sam McKay. (Submitted photo)

Scottsdale’s Sam McKay and Phoenix’s Alisa Snyder took top honors at the Thompson Invitational, a 36-hole golf tournament on the Junior Golf Association of Arizona’s Junior Masters Series contested June 21-22 at Oro Valley Country Club.

In the Boys Division, three competitors fired solid final rounds to finish tied at one-under-par 143 for the tournament.  McKay would go on to drain a long putt from the fringe on the first playoff hole to edge out Jack Snyder from Phoenix and Briggs Duce from Sierra Vista, according to a press release.

Prior to the Thompson Invitational, McKay finished T4 at the Antigua Milt Coggins AZ Junior Stroke Play in early June, on the heels of a T37 performance in the Charlie Beljan Invitational.  Before that, he finished third in the Desert Mashie Spring Championship, and eighth at the

AM&E Classic Presented by Bryce Molder, both in March, according to the release.

From left, Jack Snyder, Sam McKay and Briggs Duce. (Submitted photo)

From left, Jack Snyder, Sam McKay and Briggs Duce. (Submitted photo)

In the Girls Division, Snyder fired seven-under-par 137 (69-68) for the tournament topping the next best competitor, Tucson’s Natassja Meredith, by nine strokes.  She adds this Junior Masters Series win to a fifth-place finish at the Phoenix Metro Jr. Championship in February; a first-place finish at the Thunderbird Invitational in March; fourth and second-place finishes respectively at the Willie Low Invitational and Thunderbird Junior Classic in June, according to the release.

“Congratulations to Sam and Alisa for their great play,” stated Scott McNevin, executive director of the JGAA, in the release.  “I’d like to take a moment to thank Michael Thompson, and his many sponsors including PING, Bobby Jones and Titleist for helping make this a great championship. We’d also like to thank Dan and Susie Meyers as well as Oro Valley Country Club for hosting the Thompson Invitational.”

The fourth event of the JGAA’s Junior Masters Series, the Thompson Invitational is an invitation-only tournament tailored to Arizona junior golfers with the desire and ability to compete locally against top-ranked peers, according to the release.  Thompson joins other local Arizona professionals Willie Low, Charlie Beljan and Bryce Molder as high-profile tournament ambassadors for the newly created Junior Masters Series.

Michael Thompson, a Tucson native, grew up playing in the Ricki Rarick Junior Golf program, Southwest Section PGA events and JGAA tournaments from 2000-2003, according to the release.  He was a member of the 2001 Eddie Hogan Cup team representing Arizona, where he finished third individually.

From left is Taylor Huges, Alisa Snyder and Natassja Meredith. (Submitted photo)

From left is Taylor Huges, Alisa Snyder and Natassja Meredith. (Submitted photo)

Thompson played collegiate golf at the University of Tulane before transferring to the University of Alabama.  In 2008, Thompson was named the SEC Player of the Year and shortly after turned professional. In 2013, Thompson won his first PGA TOUR event at the Honda Classic and finished 39th overall in the FedExCup standings that year, according to that release.

In 2014, he notched seven top-25 and a top-10 finishes in 22 events played.  So far this year, he has a third-place finish and a pair of top 25s in 19 starts.

The field for the event was limited to players who were invited to compete by virtue of their national ranking according to Junior Golf Scoreboard – boys must be in the top 3,000 and girls in the top 1,500, according to the release. Plus, players who have competed well in the JGAA Championship Division were also invited.  Tee times for Sunday, June 21 begin at 11:15 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. the next day.

For a complete listing of the final results, click here.

The JGAA’s Junior Masters Series consists of five regular tournaments and one Series Championship at some of the most prestigious courses in Arizona.  Dates and venues for the balance of the schedule will be released soon, according to the release.

“Our goal is to provide a competitive place for aspiring players to play,” stated George Getz, chairman of the board of the JGAA, in the release.  “This tournament series will allow kids to earn national-level points and will serve as a launching pad into 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 Junior Major Series by visiting  To learn more about the JGAA and the Junior Masters Series, contact Scott McNevin, JGAA Executive Director by e-mail at, or call 602-944-6168.

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