Utah PGA Members Jeff Brehaut and Steve Schneiter have qualified for the 2024 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship after earning top 10 finishes over the weekend at the Senior PGA Professional Championship at the PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Brehaut and Schneiter are two of the 35 PGA of America Golf Professionals who have punched their ticket to senior golf’s oldest major. The 35 Professionals make up the 2024 Corebridge Financial PGA Team that will compete at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Michigan next May.
Park City resident Brehaut, a Utah PGA Life Member, finished tied for fourth place with a 5-under 282 total on rounds of 73-71-68-70.
Schneiter Pebblebrook’s Steve Schneiter, a former Senior PGA Professional Championship winner and last year’s runner-up, shot (-1) 67-73-75-71 – 286 to finish tied for 9th place Sunday.
Missing the 54-hole cut by 1-stroke was Davis County Director of Golf Dustin Volk. Other Utah PGA Senior Professionals to compete this year were Senior Match Play and Section Champion Mark Owen (Mountain View), Scott Brandt (Bloomington), Todd Tanner (InMotion Junior Golf), Joe Summerhays (Oakridge) and Dave DeSantis (Golf Galaxy).
PGA Director of Instruction at Kinsale Golf and Fitness Club (Powell, Ohio) Bob Sowards won the championship with a six-stroke lead with a final round 6-under 66 on the Wanamaker Course Oct. 29th to finish at 15-under, 272. The win is the second Senior PGA Professional Championship title for Sowards who previously claimed the Leo Fraser Trophy in 2018. He is just the seventh player to win the title twice.
Utah PGA Section members will tee off Oct. 26 at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida in the 2023 Senior PGA Professional Championship presented by Cadillac and supported by Golf Channel.
The field of 264 PGA senior professionals includes Utah PGA members Scott Brandt, Jeff Brehaut, Dave DeSantis, Mark Owen, Steve Schneiter, Joe Summerhays, Todd Tanner and Dustin Volk.
Schneiter is a past champion of the event, winning in 2016 and was last year’s runner-up. Owen (cover photo) is this year’s Utah PGA Senior Match Play champion and Senior Section champion.
Utah PGA Executive Director Devin Dehlin said, “We want to wish the Utah PGA members the best of luck this week at the Senior PGA Professional Championship. We have a solid group representing Utah in this national championship and have no doubt we will be well represented.”
In the 72-hole championship players compete for the Leo Fraser Trophy, named after the 16th president of the PGA of America and for a share of the $335,000 total purse including the winner’s share of $27,000.
Additionally, the top 35 finishers will be named to the Corebridge Financial PGA Team and advance into the field for the 2024 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship May 23-26 at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
The top five finishers also gain an exemption into the final stage of the 2024 PGA TOUR Champions Qualifying School. The top eight finishers, including ties, will automatically qualify for the 2024 Senior PGA Professional Championship at Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Oregon, Sept. 26-29.
Each player will compete on PGA Golf Club’s Wanamaker and Ryder courses on Thursday and Friday before a cut to the low 90 scorers and ties. Following Saturday’s round, a second cut will be made to the low 70 scorers and ties. The third and final rounds will be contested solely on the Wanamaker course.
The Senior PGA Professional Championship began in 2006 to provide additional playing opportunities for PGA of America Golf Professionals who are 50 and older. It has become a showcase event featuring some of the finest players in the Association.
For Round 1 & 2 starting times and more information about the 2023 Senior PGA Professional Championship, visit here.
For two days in mid-October, the Utah Section PGA Women’s Match Play was staged in likely the most pleasant conditions of any golf tournament in the state this season, as crisp mornings turned into ideal autumn afternoons.
Haley Sturgeon was not interested in lingering in that setting, though. She exited Alpine Country Club as early as possible each day, producing an even more dominant performance than last year. Sturgeon, due to deliver a child in December, needed only 42 total holes to win her three matches as the defending champion and No.1 seed: 6 and 4 over Aspyn Jones (Alpine Country Club), 4 and 3 over Darci Dehlin-Olsen (Glenmoor Golf Club) and 6 and 5 over Emily Jones, her colleague at The Country Club in Salt Lake City.
Haley Sturgeon is now a three time champion of the Utah PGA Women’s Match Play Championship.
Sturgeon went 44 holes in match play in 2022, when she earned her first title in three years. She now has won the Match Play title three times in six years.
The eight contestants played a nine-hole seeding round in advance of the quarterfinals, with Sturgeon opting out of the round as the defending champion. Jones shot even-par to earn the No. 2 seed. Utah newcomer Melissa Hatten, an LPGA national award winner this year as the head professional of Talisker at Tuhaye Golf Club, defeated Sue Nyhus to become the other semifinalist.
Sturgeon’s play during the semifinal and championship matches produced only one bogey for the day accomplishing her game plan of “hitting fairways and greens” and not “pressing anything.”
Of the championship match Sturgeon said, “We said no matter what’s happening we were going to stick to our game plan and just let her (Jones) do her thing and I was going to do my thing. It just ended up working out.” Sturgeon’s father Mark, a major influence in her competitive nature, was on the bag once again.
For Jones, who made five birdies in her semifinal win over Hatten, the lunch break prior to the championship match may have proved too much of a cooling off period.
“I’m glad that I tried to play more tournaments this year than I have in the past. That tournament experience is so fun, and that’s what I need to do to be a better player.” – Runner-up, Emily Jones.
“I just saw the target,” she said of her semifinal match. “I was hitting everything I wanted. I think this afternoon (championship match), it’s just a different type of pressure. I just have to learn how to play under that pressure.”
It was going to take birdies to beat Sturgeon and pressing a little led to Jones getting behind quickly, going three down in the first four holes.
“I’m grateful I could be in the finals and it was such a fun week,” Jones said.
Jones had BYU women’s golf coach Carrie Roberts as her caddie for the tournament and became emotional when asked about her influence.
“I know she’s got a lot on her plate. And the fact that she would take two days to come caddy for me means so much. It was so fun to have her here with me. She just knows how to talk to me. What to say, and when to push me. It means the world. So grateful for her friendship and the ongoing relationship we have together. I’m so grateful for it. We talk all the time, she’s my go to, so it’s awesome.”
BYU Women’s Golf Coach Carrie Roberts was on the bag for Emily Jones throughout the two-day championship at Alpine Country Club.
Jones played for BYU in 2009-2011 and was Roberts assistant from 2015 to 2017.
The win wrapped up Sturgeon’s 5th consecutive Utah PGA Rolex Player of the Year award. Jones is right behind her in player points heading into the championship and both players knew what was on the line.
Jones said, “I’m glad that I tried to play more tournaments this year than I have in the past. That tournament experience is so fun, and that’s what I need to do to be a better player. A lot of it for me is juggling mom life, competition life and teaching life. I’ve loved competing so much that I’ll keep fighting through it. But yeah, it’s just trying to find that balance so overall it was great experience.”
Haley Sturgeon made only one bogey on the day throughout her semifinal and championship matches.
For Sturgeon, her game plan for next season will be to continue with Utah PGA competition. She will play the Pro-Assistant ahead of her delivery date and then will take the winter off with a new-born before looking ahead to next year’s Winter Classic.
“It’s easy to say now, you know, things could change, but I’ve talked with my dad and my mom and my in-laws and they’re so supportive and my dad is just, you know, so supportive. I still want to be involved in golf and just not get caught up in being a mom and you know, involve him (the baby) and show him, maybe that it’s okay to keep working and have a good work ethic in all things. So I’ll take, you know about six weeks off is what they recommend. That’ll put me about middle of January, and then I’ll have about a month to get ready for the Winter Classic down in St. George. That’s the game plan.”
Many thanks to championship host Alpine Country Club and the support from PGA Professional Brock Padilla and General Manager Neal Maurer.
2023 Women’s Match Play Championship recap written by Fairways Media Publisher Randy Dodson with contributions from Fairways Senior Writer, Kurt Kragthorpe. Photos by Fairways Media.Editor’s note: The Utah PGA Rolex Men’s and Senior Player of the Year awards have not been finalized as of this story.
A four-stroke penalty couldn’t keep Crimson Cliffs’ Boston Bracken down as he won his second individual 4A title and led the Mustangs to a back-to-back 4A state championship.
The day started in a tight race between Crimson Cliffs and Orem, with the Mustangs narrowly leading Orem by three strokes after day one of the tournament.
Unfortunately, the weather did not improve from Day 1, and the tournament continued amid the cold, rain, and wind. Despite the harsh weather, Crimson Cliffs found some separation and took a 13-stroke lead over Orem.
However, as Bracken finished in the last group, he realized he had an extra club in his bag, causing a four-stroke penalty. Bracken still finished the day with a five-stroke lead over second place and earned his second individual state title in a row.
4A Medalist, Boston Bracken
“Honestly, I thought it was a two-shot penalty for every hole,” said Bracken. “I had 15 clubs in the bag, cleaning up this morning in the hotel I put my 5 wood in the bag and did not take it out this morning. When we got to the 17th tee I realized ‘Shoot, I got 15 clubs in my bag.’”
“I was a little distraught, I thought it was a 32-shot penalty, luckily it was only four. I buried the last two holes, which I’m not sure how because mentally, I wasn’t there. But it was a good finish and I’m proud of the team.”
In the end, Crimson Cliffs ended the day with a 579, which was more than enough to take it over Orem who ended with a 595.
The conditions were far from ideal at the 3A golf state tournament this week, with rain and wind for long stretches both days making for miserable playing conditions.
It’s not what anybody wanted, but nobody navigated the conditions at MeadowBrook Golf Course better than the Morgan Trojans, and they have another state championship trophy to show for it.
Morgan held a narrow four-stroke lead after Wednesday’s opening round, but weren’t fazed by Thursday’s rain and extended the lead to 15 strokes by the end of the tournament to capture their fifth 3A state title in the past six years. The Trojans finished with a 591 team score, with Union in second with a 606 and defending state champion Richfield in third with a 608.
3A Medalist, Lance Loughton
“It was tough out there. The weather was rough. It was windy, rainy, but shout out to the superintendent for making the greens really good. You just kind of have to be patient, take your time, keep all your stuff dry and really just focus on your shot,” said 3A medalist Lance Loughton of Morgan.
Olympus golf coach Matt Barnes, who moonlights as the Titans’ highly successful basketball coach, has seen a lot in his 27 years at the Holladay school.
And prep sports never ceases to amaze the likable mentor to hundreds of athletes and students alike.
Take what happened at Fox Hollow Golf Course in Utah County on Tuesday, for instance.
The Titans rose up and snapped rival Skyline’s five-year stranglehold on the 5A golf title, running away from the field for a 17-shot win over runner-up East, 579-596. The Eagles placed sixth with a 614.
“Golf is crazy,” Barnes said. “I’ve done this for a lot of years and it never gets old. It’s just awesome.”
Bonneville senior Parker Bunn, who has signed to golf for national powerhouse Oklahoma State next fall, won medalist honors by defeating Olympus sophomore Will Pedersen with a birdie on the first playoff hole, the par-5 ninth at Fox Hollow.
Bonneville’s Parker Bunn birdied the first playoff hole to claim 5A medalist honors at Fox Hollow GC.
Bunn got a tremendous break when his tee shot hit a rock in a hazard and bounced into the fairway. He missed the green with his second shot, while Pedersen was safely on in two.
However, Bunn got up and down for a birdie 4, and when Pedersen’s 5-footer for birdie slid past the hole, the much-decorated Bunn had his individual state championship to accompany him to Stillwater, Oklahoma, next year.
Read more from Deseret News’ James Edward, Click Here. Photos by Utah PGA intern, Josh Green.
High school golf championship celebrations are usually pretty subdued, but not on Tuesday at the Old Mill Golf Course following conclusion of the 6A state tournament.
As Corner Canyon junior Bowen Mauss hugged coach Derek Fox to celebrate his 6A individual title by two strokes, the pair was mobbed by the rest of the Chargers team and were doused with buckets and bottles of water in celebration of the first boys golf state title in school history.
6A medalist, Corner Canyon’s Bowen Mauss
Mauss and Fox both emerged drenched, particularly Fox, but it was more than worth it after dethroning five-time state champ Lone Peak.
“We’ve been doing this for six years, getting better every year. Every player on this team has had a piece to do with this,” said Fox. “It’s my favorite time of year. I have four girls at home and have 27 boys in the fall. Our chant is family, and that’s how we feel about each other.”
This was Fox’s sixth year as head coach at Corner Canyon, and the team has gotten methodically better each year, and finally cleared the final hurdle this year. His team finished fourth in 2018 and 2019, third in 2020, and second in 2021 and 2022. The Chargers watched Lone Peak lift the 6A trophy the last four seasons.
But this year, the roles were reversed.
Read more here from the Deseret News’ James Edward, Click Here.
Team Texas turned hometown heroes with its victory at the 2023 13u National Car Rental PGA Jr. League Championship today.
With the sun setting and ESPN cameras rolling, No. 2 seed Team Texas (Farmers Branch) defeated No. 4 seed Team Utah (Lehi) 6.5 – 5.5 in the match play Championship final at PGA Frisco’s Fields Ranch West.
FRISCO, TX – OCTOBER 08: Team Utah celebrates on the 17th hole during the National Car Rental PGA Jr. League Championship. (Photo by Ryan Lochhead/PGA of America)
No one could have asked for a closer match. The teams went wire-to-wire, with the title coming down to the last match, on the last hole, between Team Utah’s Jordan Ofahengaue and Blake Brown, both 13, and Team Texas’s Chase Roman, 13, and Lincoln Rubis, 11.
2021 Champion Team Utah needed an eagle on the final hole to force a playoff and another shot at the title. They couldn’t get there, but that didn’t stop Coach Tele Wightman, PGA, from beaming about his team.
FRISCO, TX – OCTOBER 08: Coach Tele Wightman of Team Utah claps during the National Car Rental PGA Jr. League Championship at Fields Ranch West at PGA Frisco on Sunday, October 8, 2023 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Ryan Lochhead/PGA of America)
“You know, I’m just so proud of the boys,” said Wightman, PGA Director of Golf at Thanksgiving Point Golf Club. “They competed all week and it was a great semifinal win against Florida today. They made the shots when they had to, we knew Texas would be tough and it was tight all the way, you know. They just made one more putt than we did. So, hats off to Texas. I’m proud of our kids.”
The Finaus blended in with the crowd of families proudly watching their kids’ teamwork on display.
FRISCO, TX – OCTOBER 08: Tony Finau watches his son Jraice Finau of Team Utah play during the National Car Rental PGA Jr. League Championship at Fields Ranch West at PGA Frisco on Sunday, October 8, 2023 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Ryan Lochhead/PGA of America)
“I’m just a spectator, just a father,” said Jraice’s dad and six-time PGA Tour winner Tony Finau to Michael Collins’ on the ESPN2 broadcast, just before their final hole. “He got three flags for his team today. Hopefully it’s enough to get them into a playoff, but if not, I had a great time following my son.”
The LPGA Professionals announced Utah golf professional Melissa Hatten as its Professional of the Year as they honored the 2023 award winners for their dedication and achievements. Hatten is a LPGA Professional at Talisker Club (Tuhaye) in Kamas.
The national award winners were selected by the LPGA Professionals membership’s Executive Committee from the pool of Section Award winners voted on by officers of the six regional sections: Central, International, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast and Western.
The LPGA Professional of the Year Award was established in 1980 and is awarded annually to an LPGA Professionals member primarily engaged in a golf operation, golf association, or industry position, promoting the game through player development, growth of the game initiatives, and other golf-related activities.
“Being named LPGA Professional of the Year is a culmination of many years of hard work, and this award is a testament to the support my family, friends, amazing mentors, members, the LPGA, TaylorMade Golf and Talisker Club have given me over the years,” expressed Hatten. “This award is even more special with the number of talented professionals within the LPGA membership. My life goal is not just to make a difference but to BE the difference, and I am excited for my future, and the future of both golf and the LPGA.”
A month before the start of the high school golf season, and his senior year, Rowland Hall’s Matt Siegal didn’t really envision himself playing high school golf this fall. He was just burned out on a golf, didn’t practice through the winter and barely picked up his clubs throughout the spring and summer.
Siegal’s dad convinced him to just go out and see if the joy came back, especially since his senior season was also the last year for long-time head coach Stacey Camacho.
A few practices in, the golf itch game back for Siegal, and that dedication came to fruition on Thursday during the final round of the 2A state tournament at Glendale Golf Course
“I ended up birdying nine and I just kind of got in the zone and felt like I could keep making birdies and just went from there, I was feeling really good with my swing” said Medalist Matt Siegal. (Photos: Fairways Media/Garrit Johnson)
Siegal’s 7-under 65 in Round 2 not only helped him win 2A state medalist honors after tying for third a year ago, but it also led Rowland Hall snap Beaver’s five-year reign over 2A as the Winged Lions captured the title by two strokes.
Rowland Hall backed up Wednesday’s 305 with another 305 of Thursday, finishing with a two-day score of 610, which was just barely good enough to edge Beaver’s 612.
“They worked really hard the last few weeks, really came out and prepared on the course a lot, a lot of putting a lot of short game. A lot of work believing in themselves,” said Camacho, whose team had a two-stroke lead after Day 1.
Read more by Deseret News’ sportswriter James Edward, Click Here.