Whether it’s the golf or the meetings, the week of the Utah Section PGA Awards Banquet, Annual Meeting and the RMT/EZGO Winter Classic is always an excellent way to start of the new Utah PGA season.
The annual Awards Meeting really got the week moving by celebrating our 2019 award winners, highlighted by our PGA Professional of the Year Craig Norman.
Not only did we celebrate Norman and the rest of our award winners, for the first time in Utah PGA history, ABC 4 News Sports Director Wesley Ruff was named as the first Utah Section PGA Honorary Member.
Ruff was completely surprised and received the honor humbly. He is more-than deserving for this honorary membership for all the support he has given to the Section and our members throughout his career.
Another first for the Utah Section happened this week as Glenmoor Head Golf Professional Darci Dehlin-Olsen was sworn in as a director on the Utah PGA Board of Directors during the Annual Meeting, becoming the first-ever woman director in Section history.
Among all the first-time events, inspiring speeches and celebrating award winners for their overachieving, there was golf being played.
Joe Summerhays showed very little off-season rust as he had a total of 92 Stableford points to win the Winter Classic Championship, with rounds of 66-71. With a seven-under 66 at St. George Golf Club, Summerhays got off to a fast start and was tied for first with Haley Sturgeon for the overall trophy.
The final round didn’t see as low of scores, but Summerhays finished strong with birdies on his last two holes to win the Winter Classic by one point over second-place finisher Chris Moody, and two points ahead of Zach Johnson.
“Feels really good, I’m really pleased,” Summerhays said. “I’ve actually been practicing quite a lot over the off season. I went to Florida and played some and I’m in pretty good playing shape, so I probably had an advantage over some of the guys.
“I drove the ball really well, it put me in position to score and I made a lot of putts yesterday. Today I didn’t, but I was hitting it good enough to score decent enough to win. I birdied my last two holes, one a par five and then my last was a par three – hit it to five feet and made it, so that was kinda cool. I didn’t know it was to win but it was still fun to finish strong.”
Summerhays has high hopes for this season, focusing on playing better. As for this week, it’s one he enjoys a lot, “I love it, it’s great. It’s always inspiring to hear the awards banquet. Kind of gets you pumped up to do better as an instructor and a player and it’s fun to see everyone. I love it, it’s a great start to the year.”
Haley Sturgeon continued her impressive play with a 66 at St. George Golf Club to tie Summerhays after round one but had a hard time carrying the momentum to the final round at Sand Hollow Resort.
Sturgeon would finish 4th in the overall race but would take home the first-place trophy for winning the Women’s Division with a total of 88 points.
“It feels amazing to start the year off strong,” she said. “I played solid for the two days, I just missed a few key putts coming down the stretch. I’m hoping I can keep the momentum going throughout the season.”
Steve Schneiter also started hot with a 66 at St. George Golf Club, playing in the Senior Division for 51 points. He managed to hold onto his lead and win after earning 36 points at Sand Hollow for an 87-point total. Scott Smith finished second with 84 points.
“Pretty much everything was working yesterday,” he said. “I saw the line better, I made a lot of putts, I hit right at my target. Today was a little off. It’s always nice to win a trophy. Even if it’s the old guy trophy. Usually I play the back tees but this week I decided to move up.”
David Hall took home the Super Senior Division with 84 total points, with a pair of 70s at St. George Golf Club and Sand Hollow. He fended off a charging Scott Brandt, who found 50 points at Sand Hollow to finish two points shy of Hall.
And last, but not least, Chip Garriss won the Legends Division with 78 points. After being tied with Ronald Branca after the first round, he played steady with 35 points in the final round.
We owe a big thank you to Brandon Bonham and Chad Kartchner of RMT/EZGO and to Mike Stanger of Underarmour for their support of the Winter Classic.
Thank you to Larry Rickets of SunRiver Golf Club for hosting our Day 1 Team Scramble, and to James Hood of St. George Golf Club and Adam Jasperson of Sand Hollow Resort for hosting the final two rounds.