Wednesday, May 23, 2012

3rd annual Seaview Masters Proves to be an Exciting Finish

Galloway, NJ - The Golf Channel Amateur Tour held the 3rd annual Seaview Masters, May 19-20, at Seaview Resort and Spa’s Bay and Pines courses.  The weekend featured some interesting weather conditions on Sunday as rain/wind played a surprising factor but thankfully the rain stopped after just a few holes.  Players were able to get a sneak peak at what the LPGA has is store in 2 weeks for the Shoprite tournament which will be aired on Golf Channel.

All eleven flights were decided over the predetermined 36 holes as no playoffs were required to decide the flight champions. The course conditions were top notch and all 183 competitors in the sold out field were ready to compete in the second major in the Northeast region for the 2012 season of the Golf Channel Am Tour.  The field competed for their share of over $13,000 in Golf Galaxy gift certificates, trophies, top three finishers in each flight (including ties) qualified for the 2012 National Championships at TPC Sawgrass in September and of course, the opportunity to be named 2012 Seaview Masters Champion and have their name on the Golf Channel ‘ticker’.  In addition, the event raised $1,140 for the Troops First Foundation and the lucky recipient of the other $1,140 was Yifan Liu of Manalapan, NJ.

The Championship flight, tour veteran and Baltimore, MD member Scott Heffner secured his victory on day 1 witch an opening round of 76 on route to a 10 shot victory.  His closest competitor was Christian Boshoff of Washington, DC with rounds of 86-80 and 1 stroke back, tour newcomer Craig Walker of Westminster, MD with totals of 80-87 for the two days.

Ted Hadyka of Hopatcong, NJ had been close before including a local victory and a 3rd place finish at Kingsmill but after his medalist round of 79 on day 1, he was cautiously optimistic that he could capture his first major title in 2 years on tour and sure enough his day 2 round of 84 left him 9 strokes clear of 2nd place to capture Palmer honors.  John Gallagher of Hanover, PA was the closest runner up with rounds of 84-88 and in 3rd was New York, NY resident Kevin Dudleston who carded rounds of 88-86.

Starting the day 2 strokes off the lead, the eventual Senior Palmer flight winner Jeff True of Naples, FL was the one of only 2 players in the flight to record a sub-80 round on Sunday with a round of 78 to compliment his Saturday score of 80 to win by 3 over 2nd place finisher Val Stype of Mattituck, NY who’s 80-81 was steady but just shy of hoisting the coveted Seaview Masters trophy.  Rounding out the top three with low Sunday honors was Ralph Lombardi of Neshanic Station, NJ who shot 89 on Saturday but proved he could go low with a stellar 76 on day 2 in challenging wind/rainy conditions.

No stranger to major pressure, Thomas Lawless of Yonkers, NY has compiled impressive numbers in his 2 years on Tour with a win and a top 5 in 2011 and already a 2nd and T6th finish in 2012, he had to be among the favorites to capture Hogan flight honors and with rounds of 79-86, he didn’t disappoint.  John Klein managed to travel all the way from Lasalle, ON to capture 2nd place with rounds of 84-86 just besting 3rd place winner Denis Appleyard of Kingston, NY who fired rounds of 82-91.

The Senior Hogan flight was closely contested after Saturday’s round, 6 players were within 3 shots of the lead but consistent rounds of 86-87 lead Joe Anastasi of Oxford, MA to his first ever victory on Tour.  In 2nd just 1 stroke back was 2011 Seaview Masters defending Champ, Doug Dayne of Yorktown Heights, NY with matching rounds of 87.  Third place honors went to the current Myrtle Beach major champion Christopher Denisar of New Windsor, NY with rounds of 87-88.

The largest field of the tournament was the Sarazen flight which tee’d up 34 competitors.  Local Seaview Resort member Gina Swatowska emerged from 4 strokes back to win by 1 with rounds of 83-86 over David DePaola of Mahopac, NY who’s game is showing a recent resurgence after rounds of 79-91.  Solo 3rd place was Brad Andrus of Ellicott City, MD with consistent rounds of 91-90, also earning the coveted spot at 2012 National Championships in Ponte Vedra, FL at the TPC Stadium course. 

The Senior Sarazen flight appeared to be a 2 player dogfight on Sunday but they didn’t count on Brian Jackson of Sound Beach, NY coming from 4 back to win by 1 after rounds of 91-88 over T2 finishers Stewart Campbell of Dennisville, NJ and Dwight Trafford of Brampton, ON who shot matching 87-93’s to co-host the 2nd place position.

Second year member in the Jones flight, Dale Fichter of Laurel, MD decided 2012 was the year to start adding 2day majors to his playing schedule and it’s a good thing he did as he walks away with the 1st place award in just his 2nd major after scores of 94-93.  In close 2nd was Kevin Perry of Philadelphia, PA with scores of 93-96.  In his best finish ever at a major was stylish/tour favorite, Elias Gonzalez of Hopewell Junction, NY who shot rounds of 96-94 to punch his ticket to Nationals after a 3rd place finish.

The Senior Jones flight was all but over after 2nd year tour player Gene Greystone of Boston, MA recorded his lowest round ever on Tour with an opening 83 followed by a 93 to win in his first major in convincing fashion.  Local New Jersey tour member Zoltan Stupar of nearby Wharton improved his day 2 score by 13 strokes in route to a 2nd place finish and rounds of 100-87.  Just 1 stroke removed and capturing 3rd place is Staten Island, NY resident and current 2011 Turning Stone champion, Dennis Yang. 

The always interesting Snead flight proves that no lead is ever safe as when Nathan Cohen of Crofton, MD finally hoisted the winner trophy after rounds of 96-99.  His acceptance speech can still be viewed by loyal followers on internet sites around the world.  Capturing 2nd place honors from Yardley, PA is George Wajda with rounds of 101-98 just edging out Player Advisory Board member and crowd favorite Dave Signorino of Winfield, MD with rounds of 95-105.

Déjà vu was the theme Senior Snead flight as Ron Baumann of Frederick, MD captured his 2nd major and 3rd win of the 2012 season for a 3 shot victory with rounds of 95-96.  Robert Buss of New York, NY posted 2nd place honors with rounds of 94-100 just in front of Franklin Park, NJ resident Ken Gold who fired 102-95 to finish 3rd. 

Thank you to everyone for competing.  We hope you had a great time and look forward to seeing you ‘Out on Tour’ in 2012!

12 Champions Crowned at the 2012 Midwest Classic at Blackwolf Run

Kohler, WI – The site of the 2012 Midwest Classic in Kohler, Wisconsin was Blackwolf Run and the club’s two outstanding golf courses, The River and Meadow Valleys.  The site of this summer’s 2012 US Women’s Open did not seem to intimidate the 183 Am Tour player’s that traveled to the shores of Lake Michigan to tackle one of the toughest Am Tour Major layouts in recent memory.  A full 12 flights competed over the weekend at Blackwolf Run and when the dust settled there were 12 worthy competitors that earned the right to be called “Midwest Classic Champions.”

Championship Flight – Orland Park, Illinois’ Ken Larney who is one of the most decorated Am Tour players on tour cruised to victory in the Championship flight by 9 shots over his closest competitor, Brooks Biggs.  Larney, who was defending his crown in the Midwest Classic and is a multiple Am Tour National Champion, shot an unreal final round 70 in coasting to victory.

Senior Championship Flight – Chicago North tour member, Mark Palmer outlasted five other Senior Championship players to capture his first victory of the 2012 season.  Palmer fired two very solid rounds of 76-79 to get the job done over fellow Senior Championship players Dan Mueller and John Juntilla, who both shot two day totals of 157. 

Palmer Flight – Wright City, Missouri’s John Todd became a two-time Major winner on the young season by shooting a two day score of 165 in beating Matt McKee and James Cannon in the Palmer flight.  Todd who also won the Lake of the Ozarks Classic now has his sights set on the 2012 National Championship as he continues his torrid run to Sawgrass in September.

Senior Palmer Flight – Denver tour member Cliff Damato needed a few extra holes to outlast Chicago North member Steve Dlugosinski in the Sr Palmer flight.  Both competitors were tied at 164 and headed out to Meadow Valleys #1 for a sudden death playoff in which Damato won on the 2nd playoff hole.

Hogan Flight – In the largest flight of the event, Wisconsin’s Craig Rumpel outlasted Massachusett’s player Forrest Fontana and Floridian Michael May in capturing his first ever Major Championship. Rumpel’s final round 80 was good enough to get the job done by four shots over Fontana and six over May.

Senior Hogan Flight – In perhaps the most impressive performance of the weekend, Randy Snodgrass of Versailles, IN put on a supreme shot making clinic in fashioning a two day total of 160 on his way to winning the Sr Hogan flight by 7 shots.  Buoyed by his 1st round of 79, Snodgrass fired a 2nd round 81 in tough conditions to get the job done.  

Sarazen Flight – Miami’s Jose De Armas was not intimidated in the least by two golf courses that couldn’t be more different than Florida golf courses.  De Armas distanced himself from the field on day 2 by shooting an 81 in route to his victory over fellow south Floridian Luis Morello.

Senior Sarazen Flight – No, that wasn’t Rickie Fowler that was playing on Sunday in the Sr Sarazen flight, but Chicago North tour player Michael Caithamer sure looked like Rickie dressed in bright orange from head to toe.  Caithamer used the orange inspiration to his advantage in besting a large field of Sr Sarazen’s in capturing the flight by 5 shots by shooting two solid rounds in the mid 80’s.

Jones Flight – Texan, Eric King, who typically wears burnt orange slacks on Sunday, wisely choose shorts this time around and that must have been all he needed in capturing his first ever Major Championship.  King outlasted two Wisconsin players, John Hipp and Chris Johnson for the victory.  Besides King’s victory, another Jones flight highlight of the weekend was Georgian John McAleer’s hole in one on Meadow Valleys #3 on Saturday.

Senior Jones Flight – Waldo, Wisconsin’s Richard Naef used some “home cookin” to capture the Sr Jones flight by 6 shots.  Naef who lives 10 minutes from Blackwolf Run parlayed his stress free commute to and from the course to his advantage in beating the likes of Illinois’ John Mudrock and Minnesota’s Paul Alexander.

Snead Flight – Don Fiet’s of the Chicago South tour won his first Major in three years in outdistancing the likes of Tommy Sanchompuphen from Tennessee and Warren Ferber from Minnesota.  Fiets’ final round 93 was good enough to get the job done, with his nearest competitor 5 strokes back. 

Senior Snead Flight – The three players who had the best shot of winning the Sr Snead flight were from points all across the country.  Missouri’s own, and the Lake of the Ozarks Major champion, Steve Oien outlasted Californian Mike McCarty and Floridian Tony Ott in capturing the Sr Snead crown by 2 shots.  Oien used a tidy 94 in the final round to come from the middle of the pack to post his second Major victory of the year. 

Northern California Championship Results

Seaside, CA—The Golf Channel Amateur Tour held the inaugural Northern California this past weekend on the Bayonet and Blackhorse Courses.  The courses and area got rave reviews by the players in the 1st of hopefully many Major Championships to be conducted in Northern California!  Bayonet and Blackhorse both proved to be quite challenging layouts in spite of the perfect weather all weekend.   The top three finishers and ties from each flight successfully qualified for the 2012 Senior National Championship or the 2012 National Championship. 

Paxton Song of Los Altos, CA won the inaugural Northern California Championship, coming from behind to claim the Championship.  Song, who was in 3rd place entering the final round, was the only player amazingly to break 80 in the final round on the difficult Bayonet Course.  Song fired a two day total of 8-over par 152.  Coming in second place was 1st-round leader Hank McCusker of Mendocino, CA.  McCusker, who recently qualified for the sectionals of U.S Open, faltered a bit in the final round after opening up with a 1-over par 73.  He finished in 2nd place at 10-over par 154.  Eric Morgan of Rocklin, CA, playing in the final group on Sunday, finished in 3rd place at 14-over par 158. 

In the Palmer Flight It was quite the weekend for Shawn Kim of San Jose, Ca.  Kim made an ace in his opening round on Bayonet on the par-three 6th hole and that would propel him to a 1-stroke victory in the event!   Kim claimed the Palmer Flight thanks in part to his amazing hole-in-one, winning at 19-over par 163.  Coming in second place and tying for the low final round was Anacleto Gonzales of Antioch, CA.  Gonzales finished in 2nd place just a stroke back at 20-over par 164.  Dave Schneider of Walnut Creek, CA and Chris Cagnolatti of Long Beach, CA each tied for 3rd at 23-over par 167. 

The Hogan Flight saw some very close and exciting action over the weekend, with three players tying for the lead after 36-holes at 22-over par 166.  Kyle Hashimoto of Acampo, CA (80-86—166), John Usilton of La Mesa, CA (80-86—166) and Brandon Spalding of Fontana, CA (79-87—166) needed extra holes to determine the champion.  In the end it was the Northern Californian, Kyle Hashimoto, coming thru with a par on the first playoff hole to claim the inaugural Northern California Championship in the Hogan Flight!

In the Sarazen Flight, two players were able to separate themselves from the field which struggled a bit on the difficult courses at Bayonet & Blackhorse.  Terry Kimberling of Alta Loma, CA would go on to win the flight at 28-over par 172.  Coming in second place was Rafael Rodriguez of San Mateo, CA.  Rodriguez was the only other player to break into the 170’s, finishing at 32-over par 176.  Tom Nguyen of Tracy, CA earned a qualifying spot in Nationals by virtue of his 3rd place finish at 36-over par 180. 

It was a tough battle in the Jones Flight over the weekend, with four players out of the nine that started all in contention coming down the stretch.  Brian Huh of Monterey actually held a 1-stroke lead heading into the final hole.  With the pressure on, Sanjay Prasanna of Foster City, CA finished the event like the champion he became, hitting two quality shots and then holing a nice 8-foot birdie putt to claim the Northern California Championship outright at 34-over par 178.  Huh would go on to bogey the final hole and finish in 2nd place at 35-over par 179.  Donovan McCurdy fired the low final round in the flight, a very nice 84, to finish in 3rd place at 36-over par 180. 

In the Snead Flight Jennifer Forsythe of Kirkland, WA overcame a pace of play penalty issued to her group in the final round to win the flight.  Forsythe shot identical rounds of 96 to win at 48-over par 192.  Finishing in 2nd place was Robert Giedt of Belmont, CA.  Giedt finished up at 49-over par 193 and along with Forsythe was the only two players in the flight to shoot scores in the double digits both days.  Daniel Wu, fresh off his victory in the Western Masters, finished in 3rd place. 

The Senior Palmer Flight saw consistency prevail in a very tight battle at the top of the leaderboard.  After 36-holes were completed, Kevin Macgillivray of Palm Springs, CA was tied with Craig Armstrong of Folsom, CA at 12-over par 156.  Macgillivray posted rounds of 78-78 heading into the playoff, whereas Armstrong went in after a 74-82 performance.  Macgillivray, who was the hottest golfer in the flight on Sunday, went on to win in the playoff and claim his 1st Major Championship on Tour.  1st round leader Pamas Bhatti of Orangevale, CA opened up with a beautiful and low round of the entire tournament, an even-par 72, but fell a bit on Sunday to wind up in 3rd place at 15-over par 159. 

In the Senior Hogan Flight Phillip May of Leesville, LA would not be denied, claiming top honors in the flight by two strokes after a very good performance of 26-over par 170.  Scott Goedecke of El Cajon, CA would fire the low final round in the flight to tie for 2nd place with the 1st round leader, John Lavaroni of San Andreas, CA.  Both Goedecke and Lavaroni were two strokes back of May at 28-over par 172. 

In the Senior Sarazen Flight David Spalasso of Castro Valley had a dominating performance, catapulting him to an 8-stroke victory at 26-over par 170.  Spalasso played very consistently as well, firing rounds of 85 each day.  Divakar Krishnareddy of Huntington Beach, CA wrapped up 2nd place with two scores in the 80’s as well.  Krishnareddy finished up at 34-over par 178.  Greg Ewald of San Jose, CA was able to finish in 3rd place at 37-over par 181. 

The Senior Jones Flight saw two players coming down the stretch with a chance for the win.  In the end, it would be Michael Grant of Snoqualmie, WA who would win, wire-to-wire, at 39-over par 183.  Charles Voss of Cincinnati, OH would put quite a charge on Grant in the final round, and finished in 2nd place just a stroke back at 40-over par 184.  Craig King of Southfield, MI finished in 3rd at 48-over par 192. 

Richard Bernard had a dominating performance in the Senior Snead Flight, winning by nine strokes after an impressive weekend of 43-over par 187.  Mike Shuttleworth of Salinas, CA grabbed 2nd place at 52-over par 196 and was the only other player besides Bernard to come in the double digits for both rounds.  Barry DiDonato of Hamilton, NJ finished in 3rd position at 60-over par 204.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Punch Shots: Best Pete Dye golf course you've ever played?

  • By Team
  • May 8, 2012 3:53 PM ET
  • Pete Dye's architecture portfolio is one of the game's best - and certainly the toughest. Our experts weigh in on the best Dye design they've encountered in their golf travels. 

    Brandon Tucker: River Course at Blackwolf Run
    I've played ten Pete Dye courses by my count (plus a few more P.B. designs), and while playing the TPC Sawgrass last year was a real treat, my favorite can be found up in Kohler, Wisconsin.

    It's not high-profile Whistling Straits on Lake Michigan, but the River Course at Blackwolf Run. Dye took a gorgeous parkland setting full of hills and a meandering Sheboygan river and the result is a tough test (like all Dyes) but something far more peaceful and relaxing woodland setting compared to the in-your-face Straits. The early holes feature a few marvelous elevated tee shots and even (gasp!) a couple birdie opportunities for mid-handicappers playing from the right tees.

    I adore short par 4s, and one of the best in existence is the River's 9th hole. You have three options off the tee: go for broke over river the entire way with a driver to reach the green, lay up just short with a hybrid (which requires a shot over tall trees) - or bail out way left like a wuss with a 7-iron. You can guess which option I was baited into (and failed miserably) but I can't wait for another crack at this gem.
    Dye seems to have a pretty regular formula for his closing holes: hang on. Low handicappers may be able to score on the par-5 16th, but it's topsy-turvy fairway, trouble to the left and tree in front of the green dutifully ate me alive. The 18th here is not all that unlike Sawgrass's closer and ensured I was humbled by round's end.

    The River was recently redesigned in lieu of this year's U.S. Women's Open, and will in all likelihood even better the next time I make it here.

    Mike Bailey: Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass
    Any discussion of Pete Dye courses certainly begins with his most famous: The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. It's best known for the island green 17th, but there is so much more to this course than the cheek-clinching par 3. Home of the so-called fifth major, The PLAYERS Championship, this beast gives the best field in golf fits.

    There was a time when the golf community thumbed its nose at Sawgrass. But for many, ever since 1982 Players champion Jerry Pate took the plunge with Dye and then PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman, The Players Stadium Course is a modern classic.

    By the way, Dye doesn't design courses for every level of player, and this is the perfect example. There's water and forced carries everywhere, and while the high handicapper can enjoy following in the footsteps of the pros, this course was designed to test the best – pure and simple. Most of us can forget about shooting our handicap.

    The 17th green was softened somewhat before the 2012 PLAYERS, but that should be of no surprise. This course has been tweaked most every year since it opened in 1981, and in 2007 the course got new greens, subsurface aeration and new grasses.

    The 17th is really just part of a great finishing stretch. The 16th is the ultimate risk-reward par 5. The 18th is a monster par 4 with water all down the left, trees to the right and a well-protected green. But really, every hole on this golf course gets your attention. It's never boring, and Dye dictates your shots. Those who challenge him have to be prepared for the consequences, but every once in a while, somebody outsmarts him.

    Jason Deegan: Ocean Course at Kiawah Island
    The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island is quintessential Pete Dye. It’s bold, beautiful, beastly and just might personify Dye’s devious brand of architecture more than any other course he’s done.
    Dramatic theatre introduced the Ocean course to the world at the "War by the Shore" Ryder Cup in 1991. In 2011, Golf Digest ranked the Ocean course No. 1 as the toughest course in America. From one day to the next, there can be an eight-club change in the winds that swirl along the eastern-most shore of the island.

    Dye continues to fiddle with the design, much like Donald Ross continually tweaked his beloved Pinehurst No. 2. Minor modifications have prepped it for the 2012 PGA Championship. New back tees can play in excess of 7,500 yards. Both the tee and the green on No. 18 have been repositioned closer to the beach within the past decade to enhance the connection to the Atlantic Ocean. Ten of its holes run seaside. At the suggestion of his wife, Alice, Dye built up the fairways, so ocean views can be enjoyed throughout the round.

    Ponds and marshes pinch many of the fairways and green sites, demanding precise golf. Playing the Ocean course is not only an examination of a man’s golf game but his grit, heart and wits. Thankfully, world-class caddies assist with the journey, and pampering awaits back at the resort after post-round drinks in the magnificent clubhouse.

    Saturday, April 28, 2012

    The "Show Me State" Hosts A Major Championship - Lake Of The Ozarks Classic

    Lake Of The Ozarks, MO (April 22, 2012)  The Lodge of Four Seasons played host to Golf Channel Am Tour players from around the country for The Lake Of The Ozarks Classic over the weekend.

    This Major Championship was played on two championship quality golf courses.  The Cove course, a Robert Trent Jones design and the The Ridge course wind their way through the rolling hills with altitude changes, tight fairways and great views of the lake.  Both courses offered its own set of challenges for players vying for a Major Championship title and National Championship qualification that goes to the top 3 finishers in each flight.  Mild weather on Saturday, with wet and soggy conditions gave way to drying fairways and cooler temperatures on Sunday for the final push to the Championship.


    Championship Flight:  Dunlap, IL first time AM Tour player Brooks Biggs made the best of his travels from the Peoria, IL  area to capture the title by 12 strokes.  Biggs ended the first day four strokes back but stayed on an even keel to finish at even par for the two days.  Steve Lusk from Ponca City, OK recorded his best finish at a Major in the second spot one stroke ahead of Sapulpa, OK member Curt Howard who took the last National Championship qualification in the flight.

    Palmer Flight:  15 year old, Oklahoma City, OK player,  Ethan Smith led the final pairing into the Sunday round, but couldn't overcome par 5 troubles and opened the playoff door for John Todd from Wright City, MO. On the second hole of the playoff Todd prevailed with a par 3 to take the title.  Russ Pitts from Wellsville, KS, Russellville, AR member Wayne Baldwin  and Rocky Jones from Platte City, MO finished in a tie for third spot and punched their tickets to the National Championships.

    Senior Palmer Flight:   First year member Dusty Rhodes from Deer Park, TX picked up his third and biggest win on tour, six strokes ahead of a group behind him.  John Montazzoli from Edmond, OK and The Woodlands, TX resident Herb Reynolds finished in a tie for the 2nd spot.

    Hogan Flight:   Brack Blackwood from Grandbury, TX, became a two time Major winner on the year with a two day total of  +12 - 155.  Blackwood the Texas Open at Horseshoe Bay winner in March picked up his 5th win of the season by six strokes over Zack Whitlock from Broken Arrow, OK.  Back in the pack after the first day Chino Hills, CA member Sergio Valenzuela surged into a third place spot with a final day +6 - 78.

    Senior Hogan Flight: Houston, TX native Bill Mathews took home top honors in the Sr Hogan flight, making it his second win in his last three majors played – to go along with his victory at the 2011  Texas Masters at TPC San Antonio.  After starting rough on the way out Matthews made the turn with a par and birdie on the par 3, second that would prove to be the difference.  Randy Snodgrass from Versailles, IN finished one stroke back after shooting his way into the runner up spot with a second round +9 - 80.  Also coming from mid pack, Brighton, CO member Gary Spears matched Snodgrass for low round of the day, rounding out the top three, one stroke back.

    Sarazen Flight:   The 2nd player with multiple 2012 Major Championships, overnight leader Randy Throgmorton from Carbondale, IL stayed on a steady track winning wire to wire by 8 strokes over Rockwall, TX player Joseph Roy.   Randy Miller  from Wentzville, MO and Hill Country member John Heintz from San Antonio, TX tied up the 3rd spot and final National Championship qualifications.

    Senior Sarazen Flight:   Vic Okler from Ballwin, MO  held on for a one stroke win over Vista, CA player Michael Valdepena.   Valdenpena birdied the par 5, fifth to stay one stroke clear of Tom Ward  from Woodridge, IL.

    Jones Flight:   Clay Koenig from Forsyth, IL has been on a roll in 2012 and notched his fifth win on tour this season.  Three strokes back after the first day, Koenig shot a flight low round, 86 to win by 9 strokes over George Hardgrove from New Hope, MN.   Marietta, GA player John McAleer finished four strokes back to punch his Nationals ticket.

    Senior Jones Flight:  Richard Ledbetter from Chillicothe, IL shot his way into a playoff with a flight low round 88 on the final day, but in the end Lewisville, TX native Ron Hardy took the top spot on the first extra hole.  Four strokes back another tie between John Mudrock of Streator, IL and  Vernon Livergood from Kansas City, MO ensured the pair a National Championship qualification.

    Snead Flight:  Rounding out a “family double double”  David Blackwood  from San Antonio, TX took 14 strokes off his first day total to win by one stroke.  David, who like his father, was also a winner at the March Texas Open at Horseshoe Bay edged out Creve Coeur, MO player Nimal Gunasinghe by a stroke. Overnight leader David Small from St. Peters, MO and Hill Country member Carlos Cruz finished T3.

    Senior Snead Flight:   In an all St. Louis Tour top three, Weldon Spring, MO member Steve Oien  and  Chuck Miller from DeSoto, MO took it to extra holes where Oien would prevail.  One stroke back,  Russell Hollenbeck from Des Peres, MO finished in the runner-up position

    Monday, March 26, 2012

    Tour Players Brave Elements at SoCal Open

    Temecula, CA—The Golf Channel Amateur Tour held the Southern California Open over the weekend at the phenomenal “Journey at Pechanga” Golf Club.  A strong winter storm dominated the weekend, with the event lucky to complete the event in an inclement-weather shortened 18 holes.  In all approximately 150 Tour Players braved the strong wind, rain, cold, and hail to complete the event.   The top three finishers (including ties), per flight, qualified for the 2012 National Championship at TPC Sawgrass this September. 

    Brian Beach of Missoula, MT and Gary Robinson of San Diego, CA both birdied the par-five 9th hole, their last of the event, to get into a playoff at 4-over par 76 in brutal conditions.   The playoff started and ended on the par-four 10th hole.  Beach and Robinson, both looking for their first Major Championship title on Tour, hit their approaches close.  Beach’s 5-footer just missed on the low-side, while Robinson nailed his three-footer for the title of Southern California Open Champion.   Mark Mulder of Scottsdale was the only other player in the event to break into the 80’s, his 78 good for a 3rd place finish. 

    The Palmer Flight saw some very tight scoring, with four players tied atop the leaderboard after 18-holes of play on Sunday.  A California foursome all shot 84 including Kristin Wilmes of Carlsbad, Greg Austin of San Marcos, Dale Sandoval of Beaumont, and Kevin Stutts of San Diego.  With Sandoval departing from the golf course, three of the four players headed back out to the course for the playoff.   Like the playoff above, Wilmes was able to take home the title on Sunday, his 1st Major Championship victory on Tour!  All four players successfully qualified for the National Championships at TPC Sawgrass this September. 

    The Senior Palmer Flight also saw some low scoring, with a player from the mid-west taking the title.  Dan Steinman of Chicago, IL must have been used to the rainy and blustery conditions, as he fired a nice 9-over par 81 to win the title in the Senior Palmer Flight.  Paul Jansak of Mammoth Lakes was just a stroke back at 10-over par 82.  Rounding out the top three was Bill Gregg of Irvine, CA. 

    In the Hogan Flight Chris Pope of San Bernardino, CA was able to take home top honors after a round of 86 that took two full days to complete.  Pope, as did the rest of the Hogan Flight, had to come back to the course on Saturday morning and was able to hang on to his 1st Major Championship victory after his 14-over par 86 held up by a narrow stroke.  Tony Anderson of Marina Del Ray, CA and Tommy Stokes of Riverside, CA each tied or 2nd just a single stroke behind at 87. 

    The Senior Hogan Flight also had to play 18-holes covering two days because of the inclement weather.  A self-described “mudder” was the only player in the flight to break into the 80’s and now call himself the Senior Hogan Flight Major Champion.  Ted Collins fired an 88 to take home the title, and admitted that he did not mind the conditions as he considered himself someone who knows how to effectively brave the elements!  Derry Hood of Rancho Dominguez, CA and Dave Gould of Escondido, CA both tied for 2nd place at 91. 

    The Sarazen Flight struggled with the conditions, with Joe Basanda of Mission Viejo, CA taking home top honors in the flight thanks to his 97.  Andre Fitzpatrick of San Diego, CA snatched up 2nd place with a 102, while Sri Mummaneni of Los Angeles, CA was in third place after a 104. 

    In the Senior Sarazen Flight Michael Labrum of St George, UT was able to brave the conditions which he might be used to given his hometown.  Labrum held on to win by a shot, claiming the title at 18-over par 90.  Mark Dieck of Long Beach, CA was the clubhouse leader for awhile, and settled for a 2nd place finish at 91.  Dr Mark Wiener of Carol Stream, IL and Honorable Ira Bank of Studio City, CA tie for 3rd place and qualified for the National Championships at 93. 

    In the Jones Flight Brett O’Donovan of San Diego, CA fired his best round on Tour to date in 7 attempts, with his 90 being a great score notwithstanding the inclement weather conditions.  O’Donovan is now a Major Champion, winning his flight by a full 5 strokes.  Bob Parent from nearby Murrieta, CA was able to shoot a 95 to finish in 2nd place.  Stan Kim of Toluca Lake finished in 3rd place at 97. 

    The Snead Flight saw one person shoot in the double digits, and that person was Don Risner of Bakersfield, CA.  Risner won the flight with a 27-over par 99.  Steve Turner of San Bernardino, CA carded a birdie on the par-three 15th hole en-route to a 2nd place finish.  Alan Wettig of San Diego rounded out the top three finishers. 
    The Senior Snead Flight must have been excited to get home, as the winner of the flight was not around to receive his trophy!   In a battle of attrition, Mike Pavlik of Desert Ridge, AZ came out on top by a full six strokes at 109.  Marcia Moore of Lomita, CA and James Collins of Las Cruces, NM both tied for 2nd place. 

    Thank you to the players again for braving some very difficult weather conditions and to the staff at Journey at Pechanga.  The course held up in spite of the over two inches of rain that fell over the weekend.

    A special Thank you goes out to all the players of the SoCal Open as they raised $1,080 for the Troops First Foundation.

    Comebacks were the Common Theme for the 2012 Myrtle Beach Classic

    Pawley Island, South Carolina—Golf Channel Amateur Tour’s inaugural Myrtle Beach Classic concluded on Sunday morning.  The True Blue course continued to be a test of survival while the Caledonia course provided opportunities to score.  Tour Players across all flights battled against these two championship courses, with the top three finishers and ties, per flight, securing their spot in the 2012 National Championship at TPC Sawgrass. 

    Javier De Zengotita of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico shot a tournament low round of 71 to overcome a one stroke deficit heading into the final round of the Championship flight on the Caledonia course with a birdie on #12 and #14 to win by two strokes over first round leader Melvin Barnes of Hillsborough, North Carolina.  Donnie Hankins of Tazewell, Virginia matched Barnes’ 74 to finish in third place.

    Palmer Flight, Daryl Ewing, shot an 80 to overcome a two shot deficit to win by one shot over first round leader Michael Healey.  David Crowley finished in third place with a final round 84.

    Hogan Flight, Matt Bielawa, from Royal Oak, Michigan shot a low round 78 to overcome a two shot deficit from first round leader Forrest Fontana.  Ed Lewis finished in second place shooting a 79 to fall just two strokes behind the winner.  Torben Dileng shot an 84 to secure third place.

    In the Sarazen Flight, Russell Kuyawa entered the final round tied with co-leader Ray Kolkmann.  Kuyawa used birdies on #3 and #6 to pull ahead and win by one shot over Kolkmann.  Terry Eggleston finished in third place as Patrick Franklin came from the back of the pack with a final round 76 to finish in fourth place.

    Jones Flight, Jody Atkinson was a wire to wire leader as he won the Jones flight over second place finisher Tony Robison and third place finisher Mark Bobak.

    Snead Flight, William Campbell won by one shot over first round co-leader Jason Nogin.  Westley Waller shot the low round of the day in the flight by eight shots to finish in third place.

    Senior Palmer Flight, Bob Moskovciak overcame a four shot deficit to first round co-leaders James Grindstaff and Gary Morgan to win by four shots over Grindstaff.  Van Stemple finished third.  

    Senior Hogan Flight, Christopher Denisar  birdied his first and third hole to come from two strokes behind first round leader David Wachnish to win his first major championship by one shot over Wachnish and two shots over Tom Yeager and Bruce Jones.

    Senior Sarazen Flight Larry Outlaw overcame a three shot deficit and followed up his first round 80 with a final round 81 to win by four shots over Jim Craig and Walter White.  First round leader James Kerg could not duplicate his opening round 77 as he slipped to 7th place.

    Senior Jones flight, Bubba Atkinson won in a playoff over Tony Parker.  First round leader Daniel Henris and Mike Hasty missed out on the playoff by two shots.

    Senior Snead flight, Greg Harris outlasted Danny Souheaver and William Leppert to hold on to a two shot victory for his first two day major championship.  Cordy Worth made improved his score by eight shots to move into fourth place.

    A special Thank you goes out to all the players of the Myrtle Beach Classic as they raised $1,440 for the Troops First Foundation.