LITCHFIELD PARK, Ariz. (December 31, 2018) – Isaiah Jackson, a junior at the University of Memphis, shot a final round even-par 70 to win the Patriot All-America Invitational presented by the Valley Toyota Dealers at The Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park, Ariz. Jackson’s 5-under par 205 (67-68-70) was three shots better than second place finishers Alex Scott from Grand Valley State University (68-67-73-208) and Quade Cummins from the University of Oklahoma (70-66-72-208).
Jackson, the wire-to-wire leader of the tournament and a native of Golden, Mississippi, played in honor of his great grandfather U.S. Army Private First Class Willie B. McGill. Private First Class McGill was killed in combat action on December 4th, 1944. With his Patriot All-America victory, Jackson receives a sponsor exemption into the Web.com Tour’s Wichita Open played June 20 – 23 at Crestview Country Club in Wichita, Kansas.
Under rainy and cold conditions with temperatures hovering around 43 degrees, UCLA senior Jack Ireland shot a tournament record-low round of 7-under 63. Ireland started the day 12-shots behind the leaders in 51st position. His round of 63 included 8 birdies and one bogey and was 5 shots better than the second-best round of the day (Alex Schaake from the Univ. of Iowa). The final round scoring average was 75.
Past Patriot All-America champions include: Mason Overstreet from Arkansas (2017); Cameron Champ from Texas A&M (2016); Braden Thornberry from the University of Mississippi (2015); Kyle Kochevar from the University of Virginia (2014); Kyle Westmoreland from the Air Force Academy (2013); Sebastian Cappelen from the University of Arkansas (2012); and Cory Whitsett from the University of Alabama (2011).
Now in its 8th year, the Patriot All-America Invitational is a golf tournament unlike any other, as participants play in honor of a fallen or severely injured soldier by carrying a golf bag bearing the name of that soldier. Before the tournament, participants receive a card with the soldier’s story, so they can be familiar with who that person was, what they represented and how they were killed or wounded in action. The Patriot All-America has been honoring fallen or severely wounded soldiers in this unique way since the event’s inception in 2011 and it continues to have a deep impact on the young golfers.
The Patriot All-America Invitational features a field of 84 PING All-America golfers from all three NCAA Divisions, NAIA and NJCAA rankings as well as from U.S. Military Academies and universities outside the United States. The Patriot All-America is a collaboration between the Arizona Golf Association, JDM Partners, The West Valley Mavericks and the Golf Coaches Association of America in partnership with the Folds of Honor Foundation. The Thunderbirds, hosts of the PGA TOUR’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, volunteer at and support the event.
Patriot All-America alumni now playing on the PGA TOUR, include three-time major winner Brooks Koepka (2011 Patriot participant); Justin Thomas (2011); Daniel Berger (2012); Bryson DeChambeau (2013); and Cameron Champ, the 2016 Patriot All-America Invitational champion.
For more information, visit www.patriotallamerica.com.
Top 10 Results:
Pos. Name School Total To Par 1st 2nd 3rd Total
1 Jackson, Isaiah Univ. of Memphis -5 67 68 70 205
T2 Cummins, Quade Univ. of Oklahoma -2 70 66 72 208
T2 Scott, Alex Grand Valley State -2 68 67 73 208
4 Walsh, Thomas Univ. of Virginia -1 70 69 70 209
T5 Laskin, David Univ. of Arizona E 71 69 70 210
T5 Ireland, Jack UCLA E 77 70 63 210
7 Onishi, Kaito Univ. Southern Calif. +1 72 67 72 211
T8 Feagles, Michael Univ. of Illinois +2 71 67 74 212
T8 Suber, Jackson Univ. of Mississippi +2 69 67 76 212
T10 McCarthy, Joshua Pepperdine Univ. +3 69 74 70 213
T10 Norton, Noah Georgia Inst of Tech +3 73 67 73 213
T10 Gerard, Ryan North Carolina +3 74 67 72 213
T10 Reband, Garett Univ. of Oklahoma +3 73 68 72 213
Patriot All-America Invitational
Final Round Quotes
On his wire-to-wire championship – Honestly, throughout the day, I had no idea where I was at on the leaderboard. I mean I knew I was in the lead at the beginning of the day. After about nine holes, I really didn’t know where I stood, how everybody else was playing. I just tried to stick to my game plan, stay within myself, continue hitting good shots and making putts and that was pretty much it. Coming off 18, everybody started clapping when I hit the par putt, so I just assumed I had won you know. I didn’t know I was in the lead by three, so it feels pretty good.
What in particular was working for you? Again, it was the wedges. This whole week, my wedge control out of the rough and out of the fairway, regardless of where I was at, was just tremendous. The distance to the hole, different flights, different spin controls, I mean everything was just perfect this week with my wedges.
How did you battle through the cold and rainy conditions? Toughly and coldly. I was very cold. I just tried to stay warm. Tried to stay dry. I used my rain gloves for a little bit to keep my normal gloves dry. Just mental toughness, just staying down and kept sticking to the game plan.
Is it hard keeping the feel in the hands? It was, my hands actually went numb for about four holes on the front 9. I couldn’t really feel anything, I mean I could feel the wind hitting them. As I’d get them warm, I’d hit a shot and then go back numb, so that was pretty difficult. But the weather got a little bit better and my hands warmed up eventually.
What does it mean to A) win the tournament B) play in honor of your great grandfather and C) have an exemption to the Wichita Open? It’s just an honor, you know the list of guys who have won this tournament, that have played in it, what they’ve gone on and done is just amazing. And, to know that I had my great grandfather on the bag, it’s just very special. And, to know that I’ll be playing in a Web event next year, next summer is awesome. I’m ecstatic about that. That’s gonna be unreal being able to compete with the guys, hopefully I’ll be competing with in the next year and to see where I stand amongst pros or trying to make it. That’s pretty awesome.
You’ve played at this tournament before… – I have, I played last year. It was my first year playing out here and I finished 20th or 21st I think it was last year. I had a rough second day, but the other two days I played really well.
For you, what makes this tournament special? The environment, what it stands for, who we get to represent on our bags and really being patriotic about it. Getting it out there that we care about our military and that it’s a lot bigger than just golf itself.
Tell us about your 63 – It started off better than I had the first two days. I bogeyed 10 the first two days. Chipped it up to a couple of feet on the first hole and I had a tough up and down on the second hole and just kind of kept it going. I felt like I kept a lot of balls underneath the hole today which was really good, a lot better than I had done the first two days. And then, kinda stringed along a group of four birdies there in the middle of the back nine, starting on 4 and then ended with a chip-in on 7.
Have you played a lot of golf in these kind of conditions (43 degrees and rainy) – No, I hadn’t. I was talking to my dad about it after the first round. I didn’t play that well and we were kinda talking about why I didn’t play well and what I needed to do better. Obviously I needed to hit it better but it was a lot of how I played the golf course. It was slow and soft at home and I figured it was slow and soft the first practice round day and it would just stay that and I could just land everything next to the hole and it wasn’t the case. Definitely a lot different than when I usually play at home.
44 degrees and raining, do you play often in this kind of conditions? – No, no, that’s the funny part. It’s never this cold at home. There have been single digits times I’ve played in this kind of weather. We played U of A’s (University of Arizona) tournament my freshman year. It was really cold, it was 28 on the range when we were warming up. But it warmed up and it didn’t rain like it did today. Today’s probably the coldest and toughest conditions I’ve played, except for about three years ago in Atlanta. It was about 45 and blowing.
What was it, were you mentally so focused or were you just free and easy? Yeah, kind of both. I was just trying to focus on where I needed to hit it, rather than not where I didn’t want to hit it and, like I said, keep it underneath the hole. Try not to do too much with shots. It felt like some of them kinda funneled towards the hole when I tried to get it more on the upslope. 18 was a perfect example, I hit it in the right rough. I had about 160 yards, but I landed it well short and it released down there just short and right. To the hole, I had about three feet.
What’s your career low round? I think it was either a 63 or 64. It was a while ago though…I wanna say it was my freshman or sophomore year of high school.
When you started out this morning, did you say “I got a chance at this?” – I didn’t really think that way. I just wanted to go out and play better than I did the first two days and see what happens. I wasn’t really thinking that way at all.