SURPRISE, Ariz. – Brigham Young University freshman Cooper Jones went wire-to-wire to win the 2023 Thunderbolt at Sterling Grove Golf + Country Club in Surprise, firing rounds of -6 (66), -6 (66) and -4 (68) for a -16 overall (200). View the final 2023 Thunderbolt leaderboard here.
“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.” Not many mistakes is an understatment. In his final round, Jones posted six birdies to give him a whopping 21 for the three-day Thunderbolt.
“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.”
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. He ended up in second place, three behind Jones at -13 (203).
“I’m happy with how I played”, said Imai. “Cooper played great and it was tough to catch him but I did everything I could to make as many birdies as I could. It was also cool to be a part of what the Thunderbolt supports and honor Master Sergeant Crowell. Overall, I’m really thankful for a great week and have some momentum for this spring season.”
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.
The gof course, playing at 7,258 yards was in outstanding condition. The weather all three days of the Championship were perfect – blue skies, light breezes and temperatures in the mid to upper 60’s – providing ideal conditions for players to be aggressive and go right at the holes.
The highlight of the tournament for Jonas Appel from Baylor University was a first round hole-in-one on the 189 7th hole. He used an 8 iron.
The Patriot All-America and Thunderbolt Invitationals feature 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 222 nationally recognized men and women golfers simultaneously at one tournament.
Conducted in a partnership with the GCAA, WGCA, the West Valley Mavericks and The Patriot All-America LLC , The Thunderbolt honors fallen or severely wounded soldiers and first responders by carrying a bagtag with biographies of fallen soldiers and first responders.
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 patriotallamerica.com.
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 patriotallamerica.com.
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 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 www.westvalleymavericksfoundation.org.
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
David Bataller, Media Director
(760) 845-6986 | [email protected]