Winning never gets old for Utah Golf Hall of Fame member and Schneiter’s Pebblebrook Professional Steve Schneiter.
Schneiter shot rounds of (-4) 68-68 at the Talisker Club at Tuhaye August 29-30 to win the Utah Senior PGA Professional Championship.
“I mean I played solid all day,” He said. “I had one little hiccup on three but made a good bogey.
“It’s fun, I haven’t won for a while,” he continued. “I played in the Team TaylorMade Championship at Pebble Beach last week and me and my partner won the team part of it, but it’s been a while.”
This marks Schneiter’s third Senior Section Championship victory over his senior career. After leading the first round, he held off a charging Jeff Brehaut, who shot a final round (-4) 66 to get within two strokes of the lead.
The championship acts as a qualifier for the National Senior PGA Professional Championship, which will be played this year on October 13-16 at Twin Warriors & Santa Ana Golf Clubs in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico.
“It’s our big one, it’s the biggest event we play in all year as a club pro, the working pros,” Schneiter said. “That and the regular club pro are the big events for us.”
From there, our qualifiers will have the chance to play for a spot in the Senior PGA Championship.
“That’s the first goal (to get in to the Senior PGA and PGA Championships), and of course to get into a position to win.”
Four qualifying spots were available for the Senior PGA Professional Championship, and as Schneiter was previously exempt as a past champion, the qualifiers included Brehaut, Mark Owen, Tracy Zobell and Ryan Rhees.
The Barn Assistant Pro Braydon Swapp gets his second professional win and first Utah Section championship under his belt by winning the National Car Rental Utah Assistant PGA Professional Championship at the Talisker Club at Tuhaye August 29-30.
“It feels awesome, it’s been a good year,” Swapp said. “It’s bee a little bit of a slow month of August, not playing quite how I want to, so today was a great reset. It Proves I still have it, even though I haven’t been playing great this month.
“First big win for me. It’s an awesome golf course, super fun. Today was great battling with Clint (Godfrey), we just battled the whole back nine. It was good.”
After round one, Swapp and Mick Riley Assistant Pro Clint Godfrey were tied at even-par 70. Going back and forth all day, paired together in the final group – extra holes were needed.
Playing the uphill par-four 7th hole, Swapp won with a par, making no mistakes.
“Fairway, green and a two putt,” Swapp said. “Clint hit a bad second shot, which you don’t want to see. But It’s like my mom always says, pars are good. If you can make a lot of pars and throw in a couple birdies, pars are good.”
With the win, Swapp qualified to play in the National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship in Port St. Lucie, Florida on the PGA Golf Club Wanamaker Course November 17-20.
“Just getting the opportunity to go represent Utah, playing out of state is good,” Swapp said. “It’s my dream to travel and play, so it’s a good step in that direction.”
Also qualifying for the championship is Stonebridge Assistant Pro Paul Phillips and Remuda Golf Course Assistant Pro Jadyn Wayment.
Usually, the only roars heard at Riverside Country Club in Provo come during football games at nearby LaVell Edwards Stadium, home of the BYU Cougars.
But one came Sunday afternoon that probably could have been heard over on campus — and it came after a shot by a former Utah Ute, no less.
Blake Tomlinson will certainly never forget it.
The newly minted pro, who completed his eligibility at the U. last May in the NCAA Championships, holed a 48-yard approach shot for an eagle 2 on the 16th hole. That heroic shot, along with two other eagles and a slew of birdies, carried him to the 2022 Siegfried and & Jensen Utah Open title.
“I knew I put it in a good spot. That’s why I ran over to the left.” Tomlinson said. “I had the bunker a little bit in the way,” he said. “I saw it rolling and I didn’t know if it was going to get there. Everyone was telling it to go in before it went in, and I was like, ‘oh, gosh, hope it goes in,’ and when it did dropped, it was an awesome moment.”
Near the clubhouse, where a group of fans had gathered around the 18th green, folks looked at each other and asked, who (produced) that? Some thought Tomlinson or perhaps Zac Blair had made an ace on the par-3 17th. But it came from the 16th, and the Tomlinson clan, in particular — several of them dressed in Ute red.
“Yeah, I think everyone heard her,” Tomlinson said of roar, nodding in the direction of his mother, Annette. “But yeah, it was awesome. I have a loud family, that’s for sure. But you gotta earn it, and I think I did.”
Tomlinson, who prepped at Skyline High, became the first former Ute golfer to win the Utah Open since Bruce Summerhays won in 2008 at Oakridge in a playoff over his nephew, Boyd Summerhays. But that came some 40 years after Bruce Summerhays played for the U., and by then he was known more for his accomplishments on the PGA Tour and PGA Champions Tour.
Her achievement, five seasons in the making, forever will be known as the Tess Slam in Utah women’s golf. Bingham High School graduate Tess Blair is convinced someone else will match her collection of victories, and that may be true.
This dramatically, though? Unlikely.
Blair’s 50-foot, downhill, wide-breaking birdie putt on the 18th hole gave her a stunning win Tuesday in the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Women’s Open presented by Fairways Media at Thanksgiving Point Golf Club. When the ball struck the flagstick (as the updated Rules of Golf allow) and settled into the hole, Blair covered her mouth in the classic expression of disbelief, then took two steps and hugged her father/caddie, Robert.
And that was before Blair even knew she had won the tournament. The Sacramento State golfer never likes to know where she stands, so the news that she had rescued a win that almost got away from her in disastrous fashion made the ending even more satisfying.
Blair’s one-stroke victory over Colorado pro Bryce Ray came after she lost a six-stroke lead on the back nine, with Ray playing two groups ahead of her. With a pair of 69s for a 6-under-par total, Blair became the first golfer to win three Utah Golf Association events (the Women’s State Am, Mary Lou Baker Open and Women’s Stroke Play Championship) and the Utah Women’s Open, launched by the Utah Section PGA in 2017.
After winning the Stroke Play title by one stroke over Fotu in July, Blair became aware of her historic opportunity. “I thought it would be good to check it off my list,” she said. “I didn’t know it would come so soon.”
Blair’s accomplishment almost became known as the Sirene Slam. Her sister, Sirene, who’s six years older, lost the inaugural Utah Women’s Open in Provo when Lea Garner made a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 18.
Ray earned $1,500 as the low professional, finishing two shots ahead of defending champion Kerstin Fotu of BYU and Haley Sturgeon, an assistant pro at The Country Club of Salt Lake City in the field of 38 amateurs and 10 pros. Ray would have welcomed a playoff for the trophy, just to test herself.
As she played the back nine. Ray was concerned mostly about staying ahead of Sturgeon, while putting pressure on herself to finish well for the sake of preparing for the upcoming LPGA Tour Qualifying Tournament. The former Wichita State golfer birdied three of the last five holes to post a 67, while lipping out a birdie try on the par-3 No. 17.
That’s where Blair three-putted from the fringe for a bogey, after an errant drive had led to a double bogey on the par-5 No. 14. She remained positive at that point, saying, “I knew there were still some birdies out there.”
Blair’s drive sailed slightly right on the par-4 No. 18, leaving her on an upslope, 110 yards from the hole. Her wedge shot sailed to the upper tier of the green, making even a two-putt par challenging. She judged the speed and the line perfectly, though, as the ball trickled over the ridge and into the hole.
Blair earned an exemption into next week’s Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open at Riverside Country Club in Provo, where Fotu last summer became the first woman to make the 36-hole cut.
Another 2022 Utah PGA Junior Series Major season has come and gone with the conclusion of the Promontory Major Championship, played on the Dye course August 1st in Park City.
Before Promontory there were five 36-hole Majors that lead to the season-ending championship and on the line, were exemptions into the 2022 Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open and Utah Women’s Open.
Exemptions were available to the Players of the Year and the winners of the Promontory Championship.
For the Boys 15-18 division, Trever Plewe and Cooper Canyon tied at the top of the leaderboard at 3-under. Due to lightning in the area, no playoff was played, exempting both into the Utah Open at Riverside Country Club in Provo, Utah.
“This is awesome,” Cannon said of his spot in the Utah Open. “I watched my bosses (Davis Park Professionals Dustin Volk & Zach Johnson) play last year and thought it would be really cool to play, so that got me really excited.”
Cannon had two additional wins during the regular season and a runner-up finish at the Davis County Major.
Plewe birdied three of his last four holes to get to 3-under on the day. He had one other win this season and three other top-ten finishes in the Majors.
“It’s something I never thought I’d do, especially just going into my junior year,” Plewe said about his exemption. “It’s a dream I never could have imagined happening.”
As for the Boys Major Player of the Year, that takes consistency throughout the entire summer, and that’s exactly how Jackson Rhees played this season to earn his spot into the Utah Open.
“I’ve grown up watching my dad (The Oaks Head Pro Ryan Rhees) play in it, or caddying for him, so I’m excited to go play in it,” Rhees said. “Making the cut and playing on Sunday would be the goal for me.”
In the three Majors leading to the Promontory Championship, Rhees finished 3rd, T2 and 1st. He finished T2 at Promontory, but earned enough points to finish on top for the season.
In the Boys 13-14 division, Jack Summerhays successfully defending his title with a (-3) 69. Harrison Corcell (-2) finished 2nd and Mo LeCheminant (E) finished 3rd.
In the Girls 15-18 division there was another tie at the top between Reimi Bleyl and Isabell Salas at 3-over. Both earned spots to compete in the 2022 Siegfried & Jensen Utah Women’s Open at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah.
“I’m pretty excited to be able to play in a tournament with such a competitive, talented field,” Bleyl said. ‘I look forward to playing and learning a thing or two from the players.”
Bleyl, who lives in Phoenix, played in all but one Major this season, never finishing lower than 4th. She also won the regular season Tournament of Champions at TalonsCove.
Salas, of Green River, Wyoming, finished runner-up in the two Majors leading up to Promontory and finished the season on a high-note in Park City.
“I’m very honored for the opportunity to play in the Utah Women’s Open,” Salas said. “If you want to be the best you have to play with the best and I feel like the best female golfers I know are in the field at the Open.”
Ashley Lam, who finished 3rd at Promontory, won the Girl’s Majors Player of the Year with four victories and a runner-up in all five majors. She also earned a spot in the Utah Women’s Open, but will be unavailable to play.
Rounding out the girl’s divisions are Ellie DeMond, who won the 17-18 division at 5-over. Molli Mulhall won the 13-14 division at even par. In the six events she entered, she won all but one, where she finished runner-up.
Thank you to the staff at Promontory Club for hosting another Major Championship. And thank you to all who support the Utah PGA Jr. Series year-in and year-out. We look forward to seeing you in 2023!