As it enters its 11th year, the Patriot All-American Invitational is dramatically elevating its domain.
In July, tournament organizers announced that after 10 years of being exclusively male golfers, one of the main amateur golf tournaments will have a women’s course for the first time at Wigwam Golf Club in Litchfield Park, Ariz. December 28 to 31.
The interest in going into the field was at its peak.
“We filled the field for women with the first round of invitations. We were thrilled. And we filled it in within weeks, ”said Sean Scibienski, president of the 2021 Patriot All-American.
“It has always been a hope and a tournament mission to add a women’s field, but we had to leave the tournament season behind, make sure we knew what we were doing, work with our partners to raise enough money to do it. Said Scibienski. “This is the first year that we’ve pulled the trigger and we’re super excited. We start with a women’s field of 42 players. Our hopes are to make this grow. We have a top notch platoon this year. We are super excited to have them.
The Patriot All-America made the announcement in partnership with the Women’s Golf Coaches Association of America.
“The WGCA is delighted to partner with The Patriot,” said Angie Ravaioli-Larkin, President of the WGCA. “It’s so special to our organization, especially with our involvement and commitment to The Folds of Honor. What a great opportunity to recognize some of the best players in women’s college golf while honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
While the inaugural field for women will be 42 golfers, the field for men will again be 84 players. The Wigwam complex has three 18-hole courses which will allow men and women to play at the same time. The men will compete on the gold course while the women will face the blue.
“It works pretty well. They have three golf courses, but two of them fit together, ”said Scibienski. “The two golf courses are right next to each other and several holes intertwine, which makes it really spectacular for spectators to access the women’s and men’s courses at the same time. It really makes it easier for them.
Aside from the size of the pitch and the different courses, everything else of the experience will be the same for both male and female competitors, including the Patriot All-American single part.
“Each golfer receives and wears a commemorative Ping golf bag that bears the name and branch of a fallen or injured hero from his hometown or school,” said Scibienski. It’s a tradition at the event since it started.
“We like to call it the college bowling game of golf. Players receive loot items in their rooms daily, they have breakfast, lunch and dinner, a VIP tour of Luke Air Force Base.
“We have an F-35 flyover. The keynote speaker this year is Lt. Dan Rooney, founder of Folds of Honor. Anything other than a golf tournament, related to the actual game, women stand alongside men doing the exact same thing.
The tournament is between Christmas and New Years Eve, but it has never been a problem to fill the field.
“Who doesn’t want to golf in Arizona in December? Said Scibiski. But it turned out to be much more than that.
“A lot of male golf coaches and male golfers have gone out to their female counterparts and said ‘This thing is amazing.’ The kids that come here love it. We have several kids that try to play it every year they’re eligible. The boys did a great job telling the girls ‘You have to get out of this and play.’ “
The West Valley Mavericks, who run the Patriot, are a bit alike after the Thunderbirds, who are in charge of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and like the Thunderbirds, the Mavericks are forward-thinking and are already eyeing 2022 and beyond. This includes making a bigger deal with the last round ending on December 31st.
“It’s on the agenda of our future plans to basically make our version of the Bird’s Nest [the famous concert venue at TPC Scottsdale], where we go straight from the closing ceremonies to a big New Years party at Wigwam, ”he said. “It’s just a future plan that we haven’t pulled the trigger on yet but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it next year or the year after.”
Participate in the Patriot All-America Invitational
The tournament features the previous season’s Ping All-Americans in NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA Divisions I, II and III as well as the AJGA 2021 Senior All-America First Team. Golfers should also be ranked high enough in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
Notables in the field
Two of the top 50 golfers from the last one WAGR ranking men are on the ground: Sam Choi of New Mexico (20) and David Ford of North Carolina (35). Three of the 50 best in ranking of women play: Caley McGinty of Oklahoma State (20), Hsin-Yu Lu of Oregon (41) and Natasha Andrea Oon (49) of San Jose State.
Arizona State is well represented as Mason Anderson, Kiko Coelho, James Leow and Preston Summerhays of the men’s team are on the field, as are Ashley Menne and Calynne Rosholt of the women’s team. Christian Banke and Chase Sienkiewicz of the Arizona Wildcats men’s team as well as Maya Benita and Ya Chun Chang of the AU women’s team are on the field. Mason Domecq from the University of Ottawa in Arizona and Siripatsorn Patchana from Grand Canyon University also play.
Admission is free for all competition days. The tournament will also be broadcast live on the West Valley Maverick Youtube Channel. There will be cameras on the first tee, as well as the 16th and 18th holes. The 16th hole is a par 3 and the camera can also capture tee shots from the 11th and 17th holes. The 18th hole camera will also be used for the closing ceremony.