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.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Zero Friction™ Gives Back One Tee At A Time Introducing The EnviroTee™

March 13, 2012 - People play golf play for a variety of reasons, they love the challenge, and it's relaxing and fun. If you golf, you probably love nature and the outdoors, the fresh air, green grass and the sight of an occasional deer crossing the fairway. Golfers are passionate and they see the beauty in the outdoors and the aesthetics of a course. Zero Friction™ felt an ethical and moral responsibility to develop a tee that could give back and enhance the environment. We recognized that there was a need as well as a demand for an eco-friendly tee in the market, and after much research and testing, we are proud to announce the release of the EnviroTee™. The EnviroTee™ is made of 25% fertilizer for quick soil absorption and enhancement of course aesthetics. "We are proud to bring to the market a product that can help preserve, protect and enhance nature. We saw the need and we worked hard to develop a product that would be well received from both environmentally conscious consumers and club management," said John Iacono, Founder and President of Zero Friction™.

The EnviroTee™ is specifically engineered to be an earth-friendly addition to your golf game. Each EnviroTee™ is composed of 25% fertilizer plus a proprietary bio-degradable composite. This combination results in a natural breakdown of the tee, enhancing and enriching the soil. "Zero Friction™ has always believed in bringing to market unique and technologically driven golf products, a "green" tee has been one we've been working on for some time. We felt an environmental responsibility to bring to market a product that we could be proud of and that had a real element of benefit to the environment and courses. We have finally found the perfect balance and are proud to release something that people will be proud to use and we believe course management will be equally happy to find on their courses", said Iacono.

Whether it's recycling, using less water or buying environmentally friendly cars, people are recognizing that their behavior is crucial to the future of our planet. The impact we have on the environment today is making a big difference on the world of future generations. It's our responsibility to care for our planet and ensure our future well-being. Using an EnviroTee™ may not have a huge impact on the world, but it's a small way to give back to the environment and bring to light a social awareness surrounding golf and its impact on the environment.

The EnviroTee™ is an earth-friendly product that offers golfers the opportunity to give back in a small way to the game and the beauty that surrounds it. The tees are available in 2 1/8", 2 ¾" and 3 ¼" sizes at MSRP of $8.99 and bulk to green grass. For pricing and additional information contact;

For more information about the EnviroTee™ visit

Golf Channel Amateur Tour's Myrtle Beach Classic To Be Held March 17-18 At Caledonia And True Blue

Nearly 200 golfers will compete to earn a place in the September national championship field
March 12, Pawleys Island, S.C. - The Myrtle Beach Classic, one of the 28 events on the 2012 Golf Channel Amateur Tour, will be held March 17-18 (Saturday-Sunday) at Caledonia Golf and Fish Club and True Blue Golf Plantation. Tee times are scheduled from 7:30-9:30 a.m. each day on both courses.

James Kerg, 55, of North Myrtle Beach, S.C., is one of 193 players in the event that is flighted by age and handicap. He has played in several events this season, with his best finish a third in the Senior Sarazan flight (12-15.9 handicap index) in November at the Elks Fall Championship in Jeffersonville, Ind. He has been playing on the Golf Channel Amateur Tour for more than five years. Golfers compete for merit points, and the first three finishers in each division will automatically qualify for the National Championship Sept. 12-13 at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

There are six flights within the Open division and six more flights in the Senior division.

"Jim is a perfect example of what this Tour is all about," said Mike Rich, Southeast Regional Director of the Golf Channel Amateur Tour. "He has traveled all over the country playing this Tour. This Tour is a great outlet for guys who played in college and want a chance to come back to the competitive game at all levels of ability."

"We are pleased to be hosting the Golf Channel Amateur Tour," said Bob Seganti, director of golf at True Blue Golf Plantation. "We are proud of our two award-winning golf courses and we are sure the golfers will enjoy their test of golf here."

Caledonia and True Blue are two of the courses that comprise the Waccamaw Golf Trail (12 courses) in the southern part of the Grand Strand.

The pre-event favorites in the Open division are Pete DeTemple, 49, of Callaway, Md., and Melvin Barnes, 45, of Hillsborough, N.C. DeTemple won three times in 2011 and already has a second place finish in 2012. Barnes won once last season.

The two teamed up earlier this year to win the Dual in the Dessert (a team event) in February in Las Vegas.

The Golf Channel Amateur Tour, which boasts 6,500 participants, is in its fifth season. Golf Channel has owned the Tour for the last three years.

About Caledonia Golf & Fish Club
Built upon the site of a historic 18th century rice plantation in Pawleys Island, S.C., Caledonia Golf & Fish Club has been described as having 18 signature holes, with holes routed around majestic oaks and meandering streams. The picturesque 18th borders the Plantation's old ricefield and requires a precise tee shot that sets up a difficult second shot: a forced carry onto a green that is watched closely by the beautiful antebellum style clubhouse. The 6,526-yard, par-70 course has been named one of Golf Digest's "Top 25 Courses in South Carolina" and "America's 100 Greatest Public Courses;" a "Top 100 You Can Play" by Golf Magazine; a "Top 100 Modern Courses" and "Best Resort Courses" by Golfweek, South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel's list of "50 Best Courses" and "Top 100 Best Courses for Women" by Golf for Women. For more information, call Caledonia at 1-800-483-6800 or visit .

About True Blue Golf Plantation
True Blue Golf Plantation, 7,126 yards, par 72 is located on the site of the historic True Blue Plantation, a famed 19th century indigo and rice plantation. Designed by architect Mike Strantz and opened in 1998, True Blue emphasizes the natural beauty of the area, utilizing native grasses and vegetation and maintains much of the character of the South Carolina Lowcountry it was built upon. True Blue has received countless awards, including being named one of "America's Greatest 100 Public Golf Courses" by Golf Digest. It also is one of the South Carolina Golf Course Raters' list of "50 Best Courses." And it is one of Golf Magazine's "Top Ten Places To Play" and "Top 25 Courses in the South." Golfweek also awarded True Blue as being one of the "Top 100 Courses in America."

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Heading to the Lake of Ozarks Classic?

Learn about the Lake of Ozarks, MO area as it has more than just golf.  Kiel Christianson, Senior Writer of gives you the inside look.

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. – It's the time of year when golfers who live in wintery climes begin jonesing for the fairways and greens. Temperatures rise outside, and the fever of a new season sets in. According to health professionals, the most effective treatment for this yearly malady is planning an early season golf trip -- tossing the clubs in the trunk and driving just far enough south to find the first clear fairways.

The Club at Old Kinderhook - No. 2

Lake of the Ozarks, Mo., is famous among anglers and boaters as an almost year-round mecca of aquatic fun. But golfers, especially in the Midwest, should consider it as an almost year-round golf destination, too. With some 15 courses dotting the countryside surrounding the massive, amoeba-like lake, there are as many golf holes to explore as there are fishing holes. And if non-golfing family members tag along, they'll have just as many off-course attractions to explore.

Read the full article...

Texas Hill Country Winds Challenge Am Tour Players

Horseshoe Bay, TX (March 4, 2012)Horseshoe Bay Resort, situated just west of Historic Marble Falls, TX  in the highland lakes region of the Texas Hill Country, hosted the 2012 Texas Open Major Championship for the second year.

Apple Rock and Ram Rock, two of the three Robert Trent Jones, Sr. courses on the property overlooking Lake LBJ, would not disappoint the traveling competitors in search of prizes and National Championship qualification.  Just like 2011, beautiful skies and warm south winds were on hand for the practice rounds on Friday only to change direction from the north on opening day, cooling off the players and changing strategies.  As quickly as the winds and temperatures changed for Saturday, light SW breezes and sunshine welcomed the final round.

Championship Flight:  Starting the round on Sunday two strokes behind overnight leader, Al Smith from Cabot, AR, defending Texas Open Champion Marshall Morgan knew he needed a strong start.  Morgan from Odessa, TX would need to make up ground on Smith, but also stay ahead of Jeff Boyer  from Oklahoma City starting the day just one stroke back.  Coming off the 14th green, Morgan looked to have it locked up going +1 against Al's +5 but the remaining four holes would set the stage for the first playoff of the afternoon when they both finished with 155 two day totals.  On the first playoff hole, the 58 year old Morgan successfully defended his title with the long hitting Smith picking up his best Major Championship finish while Boyer picked up the final National Championship qualification finishing third.

Palmer Flight: Consistency would prove to be the key to the championship for Keller, TX player Guy Nickels.   Nickels, the 2010 Texas Masters at TPC San Antonio Champion has now won his last four outings with the Am Tour.  Starting the final round 8 strokes back of overnight leader Ivan Zweig from Dallas, Guy followed up his first day 81 with an 82 on the arguably tougher Ram Rock course to snatch the championship by three strokes over Zweig.  Ivan would hole out from the fairway on the 10th hole for an eagle two but couldn't control any momentum.  2012 Duel in the Desert Flight Champion, Ron Finnerty from Laredo, TX would start and finish the final round in the third spot punching his ticket for the second time this year to the Nationals.

Senior Palmer Flight:  It was traveling Phoenix, AZ player Richard Hunt's tournament to lose after firing an eight over par 79 Saturday at the tough and windblown Ram Rock course.  In the final pairing, Sean Fenton from Fort Worth along with Garland, TX player Kem Albritton were six strokes back to start the day and both mounted a charge. but in the end couldn't make up the deficit.  Albritton and Fenton finished tied for the second spot two strokes back. Hunt, the 2010 WESTERN OPEN  champion made it his second Major championship and thirteenth win on the tour.

Hogan Flight:  Brack Blackwood from Grandbury, TX completed the first half of the events "father / son" tandem championship.  Blackwood, the overnight leader, got into trouble in the middle of his round but finished the last five holes in one over par to grab the championship by 6 strokes over Roger Masek of Sugerland, TX.  Masek took seven strokes off his first round finish ahead of consistent scores from Auburn, WA player Barry Lauderbaugh.  Lauderbaugh's best finish in a major championship punched his ticket to the National Championships by two strokes over fourth spot.

Senior Hogan Flight:  Out of State travelers take the top two spots in the Senior Hogan Flight with William Wirtz from Maryland Heights, MO claiming the trophy and his best finish in a Major.  Two strokes back, overnight leader Gary Spears from Brighton, CO, had enough of a lead going into the final round to stay ahead of Maurice Mintken from Round Rock, TX and Cypress, TX player Bob Miller bettering his score from Saturday to tie for the final National Championship qualification spots.  

Sarazen  Flight:  Oklahoma Tour player Jeffrey Banner from Lawton went wire to wire for his second win on tour.  Starting on the eleventh hole at Ram Rock, Banner played steady through the early going but would run into big trouble towards the late portion of his round.  Playing along side Banner in the final pairing Derrick Matthews from Kileen, TX bounced back after a first hole disaster to put pressure on Banner, but just fell short taking the second spot over Westfield, IN traveler Jon Wendt by three strokes.

Senior Sarazen Flight:  Battling back and forth the entire round, overnight leader Jamie Sansom from Frisco, TX looked to have it locked up coming to the final hole over Mark Kirby of Bridge City, TX.  A two shot swing on the last would put the pair in a playoff where Kirby maintained the momentum and captured the championship.  San Felipe, TX member Jim Craig took twelve strokes of his first day total with three birdies and landed the final National Championship qualification by a couple of strokes over the fourth spot.

Jones Flight:  Katy, TX ace Richard Kelley captured his first win on tour by a whopping 16 strokes over two players knotted in the second spot.  Scott Thompson from Helotes, TX playing in his third event on tour birdied the par four ninth hole to tie up the second spot with Keller, TX player Nick Easen.

Senior Jones Flight:  Randy Adcock from Vidor, TX knows how to win the Texas Open making it a three-peat.  Adcock the 2010 National Champion won the first major at the 2010 Texas Open MAJOR at Barton Creek  and successfully defended his championship last year at Horsehoe Bay.  Ron Hardy took thirteen strokes off his day one total with birdies on the third and seventh holes to finish in a tie for second with Bob Eustice from Garland, TX playing in his first Major Championship.

Snead Flight:  The back half of the father / son Championship, David Blackwood playing out of the Hill Country Tour finished the final round strokes ahead of Jason Crawford from Round Rock. Crawford, playing a limited schedule recorded his best finish on tour bested a pair from San Antonio, overnight leader Xavier Bardy and Carlos Cruz who shared the third and final qualification spot for the Nationals.

Senior Snead Flight:   Timothy Thayer from  Cypress, TX and Pflugerville, TX member Thomas Kerwin took it to extra holes.  Thayer finished off his Championship run picking up the trophy and first win since 2010.   It was Kerwin's best finish in a Major in six attempts.  Rounding out the top three, The Woodlands, TX player Jim Lamberth grabbed his National Championship invitation in his first major event.

Texas Open players put the "Troops First" this weekend raising over $1,600 for the Troops First Foundation.