LITCHFIELD PARK, Ariz. – Chase Sienkiewicz, with a Patriot All-America low round-tying -7 (63), and Caley McGinty and Kaleyia Romero, with matching rounds of -4 (66), raced out to first-round leads in their respective divisions of the 11th Annual Patriot All-America at The Wigwam Golf Club. The 85-player men’s division is being played on the Gold Course, and the inaugural women’s division, with 41 players, is being contested on the Blue Course. View the entire leaderboard here.
“Everything was going well – I really just hit driver really well today,” said Sienkiewicz, a junior at the University of Arizona from Sacramento, Calif. “If you make putts out here, then you can go low. And with my ability to hit long off the tee I had a lot of wedges in, and with those wedges I played really well with them and had a lot of opportunities.”
“I felt like I putted pretty well on the back nine,” said McGinty, an Oklahoma State University junior from Bristol, England. “I started off pretty slow. I was hitting a lot of greens, but made a good couple of putts on the last couple of holes so it was good.”
“My putting was really good,” said Romero, a sophomore at Pepperdine University from San Jose, Calif. “Everything was I was just kind of ok. I was making a lot of putts and keeping the ball in play, and then kind of going from there and taking it one shot at a time.”
Sienkiewicz made seven birdies with no bogeys on the day, including a stretch on each nine of three straight birdies. 2021 U.S. Amateur Champion James Piot started off quickly as well, going birdie-eagle-birdie through three holes and finishing the round tied for second at -6 (64) with Matthew Riedel of Vanderbilt University, Palmer Jackson of the University of Notre Dame and David Ford of UNC-Chapel Hill.
“To start off birdie-eagle-birdie is something special and having that momentum starter, I kept it going all day and held on,” said Piot, a fifth-year Spartan from Canton, Mich. “It was just piecing it together with solid ball striking.”
In the Inaugural Women’s Division, McGinty made the turn at even par, with a birdie and bogey, but went low on the back nine with four birdies, while Romero sprinkled in four birdies throughout her bogey-free round. Sabrina Iqbal of Texas Christian University and Colombian Valery Plata of Michigan State University shot -3 (67), one shot ahead of five players currently at -2. The loaded leaderboard hasn’t changed the mindset of the leaders.
“Nothing really changes – it’s just sticking to the gameplan,” said McGinty about looking ahead to the second round. “Just staying patient and not trying to force anything. It’s really just enjoying being a part of this event.”
“Staying present and not worrying about what’s going to happen tomorrow with weather,” said Romero about her keys to success, noting the elevated chance of rain in the forecast for second round play. “I’m just making sure I trust myself and the game I have this week, and just going with it.”
The Patriot All-America honors fallen or severely wounded soldiers in partnership with the Folds of Honor Foundation. The golfers receive a golf bag donated 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 be familiar with that soldier. This unique aspect of the tournament is not lost on its top players.
“Being able to play in an event that’s doing such a great job of honoring people who have served our country is a pretty big deal,” said Romero.
“This is awesome because I’m not just playing for myself – this isn’t about all of the golfers out here,” said Sienkiewicz. “This is about the fallen soldiers, and it’s really cool representing the name on my bag. I really hope I can carry Staff Sergeant Tyler Pickett’s name to the top.”
At the conclusion of the tournament, the golf bags are shipped to players’ schools and auctioned with all proceeds benefitting the Folds of Honor Foundation.
The Patriot All-America is a collaboration between the Arizona Golf Association, Golf Coaches Association of America, the Women’s Golf Coaches Association of America, JDM Partners and the West Valley Mavericks in partnership with the Folds of Honor Foundation and support from The Thunderbirds, the Waste Management Phoenix Open host.
For more information including live stream links, player pairings and schedule of events, visit patriotallamerica.com.
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 Arizona Golf Association (AGA), JDM Partners and the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) partnering with the Folds of Honor Foundation to host the tournament. For more information visit patriotallamerica.com.
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 www.wigwamgolf.com.
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 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 our West Valley communities. For more information please visit westvalleymavericksfoundation.org.