Graysen Huff and Joey Vrzich each fired -5 (65) rounds Tuesday, Dec. 29, to take the first round lead at the 10th Annual Patriot All-America Golf Invitational presented by Valley Toyota Dealers. Huff and Vrzich lead a stacked leaderboard of 84 of the world’s top amateur players at the Wigwam Golf Club’s Gold Course in Litchfield Park.
View the entire leaderboard here.
“I took a couple weeks off leading up to this, and I haven’t been playing as much taking some family time,” said Mr. Huff, Auburn University senior from Eagle, Idaho. “So it’s good to come back and put a good round together. I just had a lot of things go my way today, and that’s where the score comes from.”
“I had trouble getting the ball to the hole for a while, then started making some putts,” said Mr. Vrzich, a Pepperdine University senior from El Cajon, California. “I came off a 65 last year in the final round so it feels good to do that again.”
Mr. Huff recorded five birdies in a bogey-free round on the Gold Course, all coming in the first 10 holes. Mr. Vrzich, meanwhile, had seven birdies on his scorecard, but four-putted the par-3 6th hole for a lone double-bogey.
“I was kind of mad about that — I bogeyed that hole every day last year,” said a laughing Mr. Vrzich, who is playing in his second Patriot All-America. “I wanted to par it this year and I still couldn’t.”
John Keefer of Baylor University, Maxell Moldovan of Ohio State University, Jacob Skov Oleson of Texas Christian University and Harrison Ott of Vanderbilt University are all one shot behind the leaders after shooting -4 (66), respectively. Another four players are all within three shots of the lead.
Mr. Keefer, a Baylor University freshman from San Antonio, Texas, made a hole-in-one on the 191-yard par-3 6th, landing a seven-iron over a greenside bunker and finding the bottom of the cup.
“All the guys around me were like, ‘Oh this is a very getable pin,’” said Mr. Keefer, who is playing in his first Patriot All-America. “I didn’t even see it. I just heard all the people screaming and jumping up and down. I couldn’t even believe 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 Corp. 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. They also receive a card with the service member’s story so they can be familiar with that warrior.
At the conclusion of the tournament, the golf bags are shipped to players’ schools and auctioned, with all proceeds going to the Folds of Honor Foundation.
The Patriot All-America, now in its 10th year, is a collaboration between the Arizona Golf Association, Golf Coaches Association of America, JDM Partners and the West Valley Mavericks Foundation 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.