2020 will mark the 8th Annual Gator Invitational to be hosted at The Country Club of Jackson, in Jackson, Mississippi.
The Gator began in 2013, and continued through 2017, as a regional scale event consisting of both a High School team competition as well as an individual competition.
Select High School teams from Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia were invited, as well as, selected individuals from this region. During this time, The Gator was widely considered one of the top High School Team events in the southeastern United States.
In 2018, The Gator made a transition from a combination high school team/Individual competition, to an elite individual junior invitational. With the seeds sewn in the previous 5 years, The Gator was set to take the event to the next level.
2019 saw the event competed on a course under minor construction and playing as a par 70 instead of the normal par 72.
Jonathan Griz (2019) - Jonathan came into the 2019 Gator as the #1 ranked high school Freshman in the country. Griz wasted no time getting off to a sizzling start with a 1st round 64. The Alabama Men's Golf commit held off his future roommate in the final round and made an eagle on the final hole to secure a 1-shot victory over fellow Freshman, Nicolas Dunlap. Griz's win at The Gator came on the heels of an impressive victory at the Bobby Chapman, and he went on to win the 2019 Nike Junior Invitational as well.
Frankie Capan (2018) – Frankie fired a first round 69 and birdied the 9th hole of a rain-shortened 9-hole final round to get into a playoff with Auburn signee C.J. Easley. In incredibly difficult and rainy conditions, Capan birdied the 2nd playoff hole to take home the victory.
Frankie is competing as a Freshman on the Alabama Men’s Golf Team—finishing inside the top-10 in his first career collegiate event. Frankie finished 2018 as the #1 ranked Junior according to Junior Golf Scoreboard and finished off his junior career in style this past Spring with a win at The Gator and a runner-up in the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley.
Wilson Furr (2017) – Wilson used rounds of 68-70 to win over a tightly packed top of the leaderboard on his home course. Clemson Sophomore Turk Petit again finished in the Runner-Up position. Wilson became the second consecutive Country Club of Jackson Junior to win The Gator.
Wilson has begun his Junior season as a member of the Alabama Men’s Golf team. His Freshman season saw him play every event in the Spring in helping Alabama to the National Championship match versus host school, and eventual champion, Oklahoma State. Wilson also boasted a stellar Junior golf career—3 times being named a Rolex All-American, competing as a member of the United State’s Junior Ryder Cup team and being named a member to the prestigious Wyndham Cup.
Cecil Wegener (2016) – After coming up 1 shot short in 2015, Wegener closed the deal in 2016 firing rounds of 71-69 to scratch out a 1-shot victory over current Clemson Sophomore Turk Petit. Cecil became the first Country Club of Jackson Junior to win The Gator on his home course. Cecil is a member of the Ole Miss Men's Golf Team. His Freshman campaign saw him take to good form in the Spring, posting 3 top-10 finishes culminating in a tie atop the leaderboard at the 2018 SEC Men’s Golf Championship. Florida’s Andy Zhang was able to beat Cecil in a playoff, but it was an impressive finish for the Freshman.
Braden Thornberry (2014-2015) – In 2014, Braden used rounds of 70-70 to finish tied atop the leaderboard with Alabama’s Wilson Furr. Braden prevailed over the hometown hero in a sudden death playoff. In 2015, Braden scorched The Country Club of Jackson with rounds of 64-66 to take home a 1 shot victory over Ole Miss’ Cecil Wegener.
Braden is currently professional golfer having recently completed his first season on the Korn Ferry Tour. Braden has 11 collegiate titles including the 2017 NCAA Men’s Champion. He has also scored major Amateur titles at the Sunnehanna Amateur and the Jones Cup. Braden is a 2-time All-American, a Fred Haskins Award winner and the current McCormack Medal winner. Thornberry has competed as a member of the United States team in the Walker Cup and the Arnold Palmer Cup. Finally, Thornberry has competed in 5 PGA Tour events and 1 Web.com event, making 4 total cuts and placing T4 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in 2017.
Kathleen Gallagher (2013) – In The Gator’s inaugural year, Kathleen became the only female to win the Championship. As a high school team event, girls competed alongside the boys (albeit from different tees), and Kathleen shot 75-74 to take a 2-shot victory over Mississippi State’s Ross Bell.
Kathleen has begun her Senior season as a member of the LSU Women’s Golf Team, where she won the 2017 CCLA Spring Break Dual Match and has carded multiple top 10 and top 20 finishes. Kathleen is a two time Women’s State Amateur Champion in Mississippi and is daughter to former PGA player Jim Gallagher and the state of Mississippi’s all-time best amateur golfer, Cissye Gallagher.