Thunderbird Invitational Golf Tournament (PGA Tour)

The Thunderbird Invitational was a golf tournament on the PGA Tour that was played seven times in the 1950s. It always took place at Thunderbird Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California.

First played: 1953

Last played: 1959

The PGA Tour version of the tournament ran for the seven years from 1953-59. The tournament actually debuted one year earlier, but the 1952 version was only 36 holes and was not a PGA Tour event.

When the tournament ended, it was replaced by an event then named the Desert Classic, later called the Palm Springs Desert Classic and Bob Hope Desert Classic. That later tournament is still part of the PGA Tour today.

As for the Thunderbird Invitational, this tournament was Jimmy Demaret's. He won it three times, including back-to-back in 1956-57. He also finished runner-up the final two years it was played. Demaret's last win was via an 18-hole playoff, in which he defeated Mike Souchak and Ken Venturi. Souchak also lost an 18-hole playoff in 1955 vs. Fred Haas and the winner, Shelley Mayfield.

Winners of the PGA Tour Thunderbird Invitational

1953 — Jimmy Demaret, 201 (54 holes)
1954 — Fred Haas, 268
1955 — Shelley Mayfield, 270
1956 — Jimmy Demaret, 269
1957 — Jimmy Demaret, 273
1958 — Ken Venturi, 269
1959 — Arnold Palmer, 266

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