LITCHFIELD PARK, Ariz. – Vanderbilt University sophomore Tillie Claggett fired a Patriot All-America Women’s Division record -9 (61) in Sunday’s final round to capture the prestigious Folded Flag trophy and Bomber Jacket at -12 overall (198), while University of Florida junior Ian Gilligan capped off a wire-to-wire Men’s Division win with a -2 (68), good for -12 overall (198). Brigham Young University freshman Cooper Jones also went wire-to-wire to win the 2023 Thunderbolt at Sterling Grove Golf + Country Club in Surprise, firing a -4 (68) in the final round to finish at -16 overall (200). View the final 2023 Patriot All-America leaderboard here, and check out the final 2023 Thunderbolt leaderboard here.

“It sounds like I’m going to have a lot of fun for New Year’s Eve,” said Claggett, a Communications major from The Woodlands, Tex. “I’ve kind of been waiting for an individual wins since I moved out of my junior career into my amateur career. So this definitely feels good.”

“It hasn’t sunk in yet, but I’m stoked,” said Gilligan, a Long Beach State transfer and the reigning Big West Conference individual champion. “I didn’t get off to an amazing start – it was a little slow – but I stuck around and waited for my opportunities. I was lucky to get a hole out, which helped, and then hung in there at the end. But I’m extremely to win this event.”

“It feels great to come out here and get a win,” said Jones, a freshman from Highland, Utah. “I struck the ball well and I played well. I didn’t make a lot of mistakes, so I feel good.”

For Claggett, the Wigwam competitive course record 61 saw five birdies on the front nine followed by four more on the back, including each of the last two holes on the Blue Course. She entered the final round six shots back of 36-hole leader Melanie Green, but played lights out golf to beat the University of South Florida star by two shots at -12 overall. Green finished alone in second at -10, with the University of Arkansas’ Reagan Zibilski finishing at -6 overall for a solo third.

“I was kind of going into it today thinking, ‘What if?’ – I haven’t gone on a heater in a while,” said Claggett, who recorded three top-10 finishes in four events this past fall for Vanderbilt. “So I just tried to keep my head down, keep putting the ball where I wanted to and keep trusting that the putts would go in if I hit them where I wanted to.”

On the Wigwam Golf Club’s Gold Course, Gilligan entered the final round with a two-shot lead and played steady golf to maintain the lead the entire final round. He recorded two birdies and an eagle on 15 to solidify his standing, with two bogeys proving not to be enough for second place finisher Palmer Jackson to catch up. Jackson, the Notre Dame graduate student and only five-time participant in the Patriot’s history, finished at -9 overall., University of Illinois star Jackson Buchanan, Gilligan’s University of Florida teammate Matthew Kress, the University of Oregon’s Gregory Solhaug, and local favorite Ben Lorenz from the University of Oklahoma all finished tied for third at -7 overall.

“I had a little bit of a flat fall and summer – I felt like I had some confidence but I wasn’t really sure what to expect,” said Gilligan, the 2023 Big West Player of the Year and 2022 Big West Freshman of the Year at Long Beach State. “Then the first round gave me a ton of confidence to know my game was in a good spot. But this is definitely a huge confidence boost for the spring season.”

And over at Sterling Grove Golf + Country Club in Surprise, Jones posted six more birdies to give him a whopping 21 for the three-day Thunderbolt. Second place finisher James Imai of Northwestern did his best to keep up with Jones, but a final-round -3 (69) wasn’t enough to keep Jones from extending his 36-hole lead by a stroke. Cal State University Fullerton’s Tegan Andrews, the University of Oregon’s Eric Doyle and Ryan Voois of the University of Illinois each finished tied for third at -12 overall.

“Hopefully I can take this momentum into the spring season with BYU,” said Jones, the 2021 Utah Golf Association and Utah Junior Golf Association Player of the Year. “I just need to keep doing what I’m doing, practicing and keeping the putter good.”

The Patriot All-America Invitational features PING All-Americans from the previous season in NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and NJCAA; as well as 2022 First Team All-America Seniors from the AJGA and other special invitees. The 54-hole amateur event is known as the first of its kind to combine the talents of 150 nationally recognized men and women golfers simultaneously at one tournament.

Conducted in a partnership with the GCAA, WGCA, the West Valley Mavericks, The Patriot All-America LLC and the Arizona Golf Association, The Patriot All-America honors fallen or severely wounded soldiers and first responders in collaboration with the Folds of Honor Foundation. The golfers receive a golf bag provided by PING Corporation at the event’s opening ceremony emblazoned with the name and branch of service of a fallen or injured military member whom they shall represent. Participants also receive a card with the soldier’s story so they can become familiar with that soldier. The golf bags are then sold by the players’ college or university with proceeds donated to Folds of Honor to support the families affected. Thunderbolt players will also represent Folds of Honor soldiers and First Responders with biographies on cards attached to their bags.

Named after the Air Force P-47 Thunderbolt, The Thunderbolt has been added to accommodate those players that met the initial eligibility but did not make it into The Patriot. The Thunderbolt consists of players who are ranked in the top 1000 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR), are PING Second, Third and Honorable Mention All-Americans from Divisions II, III, NAIA, and NJCAA, or are AJGA Second Team and Honorable Mention All-Americans. An invitation to The Thunderbolt does not preclude a player from later receiving an invitation to The Patriot, and all golfers in the Thunderbolt field will be added to the alternate list for The Patriot.

For all information on The Patriot All-America and The Thunderbolt, including history and future sponsorship opportunities, visit

About The Patriot All-America Invitational
Featuring golf’s stars of tomorrow, The Patriot All-America is regarded as a top amateur event nationally, attracting PING All-America golfers from all three NCAA Divisions, NAIA and NJCAA rankings as well as from universities outside the United States. The West Valley Mavericks (Mavericks), The Patriot All-America LLC, the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA), the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA), JDM Partners, and the Arizona Golf Association (AGA) partner with the Folds of Honor Foundation to host the tournament, played December 29-31 annually at The Wigwam Golf Resort in Litchfield Park, Ariz. For more information visit

About The Thunderbolt
Following the overwhelming success of The Patriot All-America Invitational, organizers implemented a second tournament to the Patriot lineup named The Thunderbolt in 2022. Played at Sterling Grove Golf + Country Club in Surprise, Ariz., it features 72 more of the nation’s top male collegiate players competing in a three-round event on the same dates as The Patriot: December 29-31. Named after the Air Force P-47 Thunderbolt, The Thunderbolt has been added to accommodate those players that met the initial eligibility but did not make it into The Patriot. For more information visit

About Wigwam Golf Club
The Wigwam’s three 18-hole championship golf courses offer a diversity that cannot be matched by any other Arizona resort, with 54 holes of championship golf including two courses designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones, Sr. The Gold Course has hosted many signature tournaments over the years, including numerous U.S. Open Qualifiers, U.S. Amateur Qualifiers, several NCAA Regional Championships and the annual Patriot All-America Invitational, one of the top amateur competitions in the world. The 7,430 yard, par 72 track has also received various industry awards and accolades since opening in 1965, including being named one of the “Top 100 Golf Courses in America.” In December 2009, The Wigwam (including the golf courses and resort property) was purchased by JDM Partners, led by sports icon Jerry Colangelo. For more information, please visit

About Golf Coaches Association of America
Established in 1958, the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) is the professional organization of golf coaches. The GCAA’s mission is to support its member coaches by creating educational opportunities, providing resources, and promoting its members with the purpose of enhancing their overall performance as coaches, mentors, and teachers. The GCAA also recognizes the excellence and achievements of its members and their student-athletes in academic, athletic and civic endeavors.

About Women’s Golf Coaches Association
Founded in 1983, the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA), formerly known as the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA), began as an organization to promote participation in women’s collegiate golf. The vision of the WGCA since its inception has been to encourage the playing of intercollegiate golf for women in correlation with a general objective of education and in accordance with the highest tradition of intercollegiate competition. Today, the WGCA represents the finest coaches in women’s golf with a membership of over 650 coaches of Division I, II & III, NAIA and NJCAA collegiate programs.

About The West Valley Mavericks
The West Valley Mavericks Foundation (a 501(c)(3) non-profit) was born of the imagination and vision of a group of community leaders late in 2012. The West Valley Mavericks (or just ‘Mavericks’) is a group led by gentlemen who believe that the West Valley is an incredible place to live, work, and play.  The Mavericks’ charter is to advance charity, culture, community, and commerce in the West Valley of Phoenix. As an organization, we use individual contributions, fundraising events, business sponsorships, ticket sales donations, as well as hands-on community service to raise money to assist children and families, help people in need, and improve the quality of life in West Valley communities. For more information please visit

About Arizona Golf Association
The Arizona Golf Association has been serving amateur golfers in Arizona since 1923 when it held the first State Amateur Championship.  Today, it is licensed by the United States Golf Association to provide handicapping and course rating services to member clubs, to provide tournament and rules expertise and to oversee the application of amateur status.

About Folds of Honor
Folds of Honor is a nonprofit organization that provides academic scholarships to the spouses and children of military members who have fallen or been disabled while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Educational scholarships support private school tuition or tutoring in grades K-12, as well as post-secondary tuition (two- or four-year college/university, technical or trade school). Since its inception in 2007, Folds of Honor has awarded over 29,000 scholarships totaling over $145 million in all 50 states. Among the students served, 41 percent are minorities.

For Immediate Release
December 31, 2023

Media Contact:

David Bataller, Media Director
(760) 845-6986 | [email protected]