After three days, 54 holes and an unwelcomed visit from Hurricane Isaias, the 2nd Annual Boys and Girls 2020 High School Golf National Invitational crowned its champions.
Competing against the best high school golfers in America, Utah captured the Boys Division, while Arizona won the Girls Division. Despite the pandemic, participants traveled from more than 40 states—including some 110 girls and 250 boys—to play in the three-round, stroke-play event contested at the Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina, Aug. 3-5.
“It was really incredible to bring the 2020 High School Golf National Invitational to Pinehurst Resort, where the players experienced one of the best golf facilities in the world,” said NHSGA Manager Chris Noble. “This event is the pinnacle of high school golf and valuable to college coaches seeking hidden talent they may not see on the junior golf circuit otherwise. This event is even more sweet given how we were able to handle it during an unprecedented year like this and also dodge Hurricane Isaias”
In the Boys team division, Utah won the team title with a three-day score of 903 (299-312-292). The Utah team entered the final round trailing by three strokes but won by one shot over Florida. Utah was led by Tyson Shelly, who fired a three-day total of 223 (73-78-72) and finished 26th individually. Second place went to Florida (904), followed by the defending National Invitational champs from Virginia (908).
“We all played really well and stayed consistent all week,” said Shelly. “Our goal each day was to play steady and all keep it in the 70s. It feels so good to win. Utah is an underrated state, and this is a good way for us to put our name on the map.”
, of Gilbert, Arizona, won the individual medalist title at 10-under par (206 total). Pikulthong trailed by one shot after the first round of the championship, but played solid and steady golf throughout the three days to capture the victory. Ben Warain from Minnesota finished second (210); and Riley Tuttle from Virginia was third (211).
“It was great to play Pinehurst,” said Pikulthong. “Winning state with my team was cool, and winning this as a sophomore is pretty special. I’ve had some great tournaments recently and have been playing some really good golf...These greens were some of the best I have ever putted on, and playing Pinehurst was a top-class experience.”
At 15 years old, Pikulthong has already committed to play golf for Arizona State. He works closely with PGA Professional Albert Murdock at Coronado Golf Course to get his game in top shape.
In the Girls team division, Arizona won the team title with a three-day score of 920 (319-292-309). The Arizona team entered the final round with a slight lead and ended up winning by six shots. Arizona was led by Katie Stinchcomb, who fired a three-day total of 218 (74-72-72) and finished T2 individually. Second place went to Ohio (926), while Arizona (954) finished in third.
of Winston, Georgia, went wire-to-wire with rounds of 70-74-72 to win medalist honors. Coming into the final round, Cowart was leading defending National Invitational medalist Kamille Dimayuga from California by one shot. Dimayuga finished 4th in the 2020 Invitational. Kirstin Angosta, from Nevada, tied Stinchcomb for second place.
“It was so awesome to win,” said Cowart. “This experience at Pinehurst was tremendous, and I am so thankful to have won this event and bring the title back to Georgia. Now, I am heading back to my homestate feeling good, and ready for another tournament next week at Chateau Elan.”
Both the boys and girls individual and team champions earned exemptions into next year’s National High School Golf Invitational.
The Invitational brings together a strong field from a wide range of large, small, public and private high school golf programs representing over 40 states. Only the best high school golf teams and individuals in each state received invites based on their State Championship performance.
The High School Golf National Invitational is conducted by the National High School Golf Association (NHSGA), a division of Nextgengolf, which is a subsidiary of the PGA of America.