Honolulu junior golfer Stephanie Kono helps contribute $1,000 to local charity

Approximately $50 K to be distributed to participants’ favorite charities

By The Garden Island

BRASELTON, Ga. — Because of Stephanie Kono’s participation in the ninth annual Thunderbird International Junior in Scottsdale, Ariz., May 25 to 28, The Thunderbirds — tournament title sponsor and Phoenix-area civic organization — contributed $1,000 to the David S. Ishii Foundation, the American Junior Golf Association announced yesterday.

This innovative and unique concept is taking place for the fifth consecutive year. Once again, the Thunderbird International Junior tournament committee asked participants to name their favorite charity. This year, it is estimated that 50 charities will receive a combined $50,000 from The Thunderbirds. Over the course of the five years, more than $200,000 has been distributed worldwide.

“With this initiative, we hope to cultivate junior golfers’ awareness of their community and social obligations, an awareness that we anticipate will carry forward through their professional careers,” Michael Kennedy, tournament chairman for the Thunderbird International Junior, said in a release.

The Thunderbirds annually give millions of dollars to more than 300 charities through funds raised primarily by the PGA TOUR’s FBR Open, an event The Thunderbirds have run since 1939.

In 2008, The Thunderbirds expect to give more than $8 million to charity alone.

Donations to the players’ chosen charities were made financially possible thanks to the generosity of the five tournament sponsors — The Thunderbirds, the Phil and Amy Mickelson Charitable Fund, Callaway Golf, Grayhawk Golf Club and the PGA TOUR’s FBR Open.

Each year, the American Junior Golf Association gathers the world’s top juniors in Phoenix at Grayhawk Golf Club, one of the world’s top courses, for the Thunderbird International Junior during Memorial Day Weekend.

Past champions of the Thunderbird International Junior already comprise an impressive collection of talented junior, collegiate and professional golfers.

Former champions include: Morgan Pressel (LPGA Tour), 2005; Brian Harman (University of Georgia), 2003; Brittany Lang (LPGA Tour), 2002; Ryan Moore (PGA TOUR), 2001, and Virada Nirapathpongporn (LPGA Tour), 2000.

The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf.

The largest Association of its kind, the AJGA has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 25 foreign countries.

AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 160 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA yours and have compiled more than 300 wins. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.

For more information, please contact the AJGA Communications Department at (770) 868-4200 or visit the AJGA Web site at ajga.org.

The David S. Ishii Foundation was founded by Kaua‘i’s David Ishii.

The foundation is a private, nonprofit corporation dedicated to promoting and advancing the game of golf and to educate the public as to its benefits to society.

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