The Oaks Open is traditionally the event that kicks off the
spring season for Utah PGA Professionals. Though the 2020 running of the event
looked a little different due to the current health pandemic, The Oaks at
Spanish Fork was a sight for sore eyes for many.
Red Ledges Assistant Professional Aaron Purviance put on a
show of eight birdies with only one blemish on the card to turn in a round of
(-7) 65 to win The Oaks Open on Saturday, May 2nd, one shot better
than Valley View Assistant Professional Pete Stone.
this tournament was an awesome feeling considering I haven’t played a
competitive round in a couple months,” Purviance said.
“My putting was a lot better than usual, I was making putts that I normally don’t make and my speed control was great – didn’t miss inside 10 feet.”
The 23-year-old from North Carolina, who’s been in Utah for
three years, got off to a hot start with birdies on two of his first three
holes, taking advantage of the back-to-back par fives on holes two and three.
No matter his impressive start, it was his finish that handed
him the title, his first in Utah. With birdies on holes 15, 16 and 18, he
played the last four holes in three-under.
Stone started the back nine with an eagle, followed by three birdies, but it was two bogeys on the back, including the 18th hole, that caused the one-stroke deficit.
Purviance has his eyes set towards the Utah Open, with a
goal to win the 2020 event at Riverside Country Club in Provo, along with
placing well in the other events he plays in.
Bloomington Country Club Director of Golf Scott Brandt took the Senior Professional Division with a steady (-3) 69. With nine-straight pars on the front nine, Brandt turned it around with four birdies and only one bogey on the back, finishing strong with birdies on 17 and 18.
Bloomington Country Club and SunRiver Golf Club Owner Jimmy Blair finished two strokes behind Brandt with a (-1) 71 round for second place.
BYU commit Zach Jones, who had been serving an LDS mission for eight months until sent home temporarily due to the virus, repeated as Low Amateur with (-5) 67.
He was sitting in the corner of the viewing room by himself.
I looked at him, not catching his eye, and turned away thinking
that I had met him before, somewhere. He looked familiar but I couldn’t place a
name with his face. As much as I have run around in Utah’s golf circles it
bothered me that I could not name him.
I moved along the viewing line at Billy Casper’s funeral and
took a few more glances at him, again without catching his eye.
I paid my respects to Billy, his wife Shirley and the family
then turned to find a seat in the chapel.
With one last look, he was looking right back at me. Not wanting
to be disrespectful of someone I was sure I knew I walked over, shook his hand
and introduced myself.
He smiled and said, “I’m Doug Sanders.”
I knew just enough of the former PGA Tour member to recognize
his face but not enough to remember why.
For the next few minutes I sat with the “Peacock of the
Fairways” as he told me a few stories of playing with Billy during their PGA
Tour heyday. With a tear on his cheek he told me how they caravanned from stop
to stop and that Billy would come to Houston and play his tournament. He missed
the camaraderie of those days on tour.
Bob Casper said Sanders was known for going out of his way to be
nice. “My mother said it meant a lot to her and our family that Doug attended
the funeral.” He had driven to Utah from Texas to be there that day. Just for
Billy. “That was really special to us,” Casper said.
From head to toe you could not miss Doug Sanders. With 20 PGA
Tour wins he is best known for his neon-bright colorful apparel and for missing
a three-foot putt to win the 1970 Open Championship at St. Andrews. Sanders
lost the following 18-hole playoff to Jack Nicklaus by one-stroke, 73 to 72. It
was the second of three Nicklaus wins at the Open and the fourth of four
runner-up finishes Sanders had in major tournaments.
“I remember thinking how bizarre it was that he would show up at
an LDS church in Utah County,” says sports anchor Wesley Ruff. “I think
most people think of him as the guy who jabbed that little putt at the Open at
St. Andrews and ended up in a playoff with Nicklaus, which he lost. But he won
20 times on the Tour. That’s a lot! What he did in the majors in 1966 is pretty
amazing. Top 10 in all four that year! T2 at the British, T4 at the Masters, T6
at the PGA Championship, and T8 at the U.S. Open. And he won three times that
year, including a playoff win over Arnold Palmer at the Bob Hope Desert
Former Utahn Laury Livsey, the PGA Tour’s senior director of
international communications provides the following history of Sander’s playing
days in Utah:
“The two PGA Tour events Sanders played in Utah were the 1958
and1960 Utah Opens, both at the Salt Lake Country Club. He was T15 in 1958,
fifth in 1960. Pretty respectable. In 1960, he held the 54-hole lead
(64-67-64), two shots ahead of Bill Collins. He shot a final-round 71 to (Utah
Golf Hall of Famer) Billy Johnston’s
63 and finished four shots behind Johnston (a prince of a guy who will deserve
a long obituary and all the accolades despite not having near the career
Sanders had). It went Johnston, Art Wall Jr, Collins and Ken Venturi (T3) and
Sanders in fifth. A third-round 73 derailed his chances in 1958. As for his PGA
Tour Champions career, he played once at Park Meadows, in 1999, when he was
well past his prime. He finished 77th.”
Of the1960 Utah Open Deseret News sports writer George
Ferguson reported, “And so it was that despite multi-sensational rounds, which
entertained the huge galleries no end, the sub-par scorched course eventually
put the whammy on all previous leaders – Jay Herbert, Bill Collins, Doug
Sanders and Dow Finsterwald.
“Sanders, who carried a two stroke lead into Monday’s finale,
found his nemesis lurking in the island of scrub oak which protects No. 4 green
and prompts a play it safe or gamble decision.
“Doug gambled. And before he had scrambled out of the oak, onto
the bordering rough, in and out of a sand trap and into the cup, he had a bogey
and had lost the lead – at that particular point to Finsterwald and Collins.
“That seemed to set a scrambling pattern for Doug. The young man
with the brief backswing who shared the lead the first day and led the third
was through. He came in with a 71, a 266 total, good for fifth and
$1,100.” (Deseret News September 13,
Of local interest, 2020 Utah Golf Hall of Fame inductee Lou
North was the low amateur of the 1960 Utah Open at T25 with professional Dick
Kramer. George Schneiter Sr. beat his nephew Ernie Schneiter Jr. for 28th place
and a $90 payday.
My only previous encounter with the Sanders persona happened in
the Las Vegas National clubhouse where, as a former winner of the 1959 Sahara
Pro Am, then an unofficial PGA Tour event and predecessor to the PGA Tour’s
Sahara Invitational, Sander’s complete pink outfit; shirt, sweater, belt, pant,
socks and shoes is enshrined in the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame.
Though his life on tour was full of documented shenanigans off
the course, my memory of Sanders from our brief chat in Billy Casper’s viewing
room is of a soft spoken man with a vivid memory of meaningful times with
famous friends, playing a game that defined his life and lifestyle.
Sanders, at 86-years old, passed away earlier this week, on
Easter Sunday, in Houston, Texas.
Randy Dodson is the publisher of Fairways magazine and a frequent contributor to the Utah PGA News page.
On September 26th, 2003, Ashlin Mae Kleven was born to the proud parents of Eric and Rachel Kleven and her two brothers, Keaton and Hayden. For the first nine months, Ashlin seemed like any ordinary child, until one day, her mom Rachel started seeing signs that Ashlin was leaning to her right side and no longer playing with toys or babbling. Ashlin was taken to the doctors where she was diagnosed with scoliosis.
Wanting a second opinion, we contacted Shriners Hospital in Salt Lake City. For the next six months, Ashlin underwent many tests, and fit for a scoliosis brace for her back to try and control the bending of her spine. She also needed ankle braces for standing. Ashlin was eventually diagnosed by the staff at Shriners Hospital with a genetic disorder called Rett Syndrome.
Being told your daughter will never walk or talk is very humbling.
Having a special needs child can be very expensive trying to determine what disorder she may have. Going through the process, Shriners Hospital wanted to be our secondary insurance which was a huge blessing. After the diagnosis, we wanted to give back to Shriners Hospital as they are a charitable hospital where the child always comes first, regardless of income, insurance or cost.
We started the Shriners Hospitals Charity Golf Event in 2005 with proceeds going to Shriners Hospital in Salt Lake City. This yearly event is held in August.
In 2013, we started the Ashlin Mae Kleven Foundation and became a 501(c)(3). We donate to the Shriners Hospitals Wheelchair Department in Salt Lake City each year. In addition, we focus on making an impact in our community here in Northern Utah.
In 2016, the AMK Foundation became a member of the
Philanthropic Society at Shriners Hospital in Salt Lake City.
Also in 2016, we added the AMK Foundation Par 3 Hole in One Challenge, where all 18 holes at Birch Creek are played from different Par 3 distances.
In 2017, we built the AMK Foundation/Bio-West Adaptive Center up at Beaver Mountain Ski Area to give all the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors year round, especially in the Winter. As a Ski Instructor for Beaver Mtn., it always bothered me that I couldn’t take my daughter skiing due to lack of accommodations for those with special needs. Beaver Mtn. allowed us to build an Adaptive Center so all could enjoy the mountain, whether it be skiing, snowboarding, or other activities.
In 2018, we helped a family in our community with twin special need boys achieve mobility through a grant with the AMK Foundation. Having a wheelchair accessible van for this family has impacted them greatly.
Being given a special needs child can inspire you, if you choose to do so. Inviting our customers and members here at the golf course to support the AMK Foundation, as well as fellow PGA Professionals donating golf to the auction makes the AMK Foundation Charity Golf Event a huge success.
Ashlin has taught our family what real service is all about. Everything we take for granted, Ashlin needs help with.
As a career, I get the opportunity to host many charitable events but having one named after my daughter is huge. Our community has really rallied around the AMK Foundation and our mission, which is to Continue Improving Kids Lives!
In addition to our AMK Foundation Event each year, we run other charity events. One of our member’s son has Angelman Syndrome. Three years ago, I helped him start the Angelman Foundation Charity Golf Event.
Another member’s father passed away from ALS. For the past 12 years, we’ve hosted the ALS Charity Golf Event.
As a PGA Member, get involved in your community and make a difference – Where there’s a need, make it happen! Our impact and involvement in our communities as a PGA Professional does not go un-noticed.
The community, through golf, can really impact all charity events.
Updated 3/17/20 with further announcements made by the PGA of America.
With the rapidly-evolving COVID-19 pandemic looming, the 2020 PGA Professional Championship (PPC) was postponed by the PGA of America on March 16th. The PGA of America then postponed the 2020 PGA Championship the following day, to be played “at a date this summer when it is once again safe and responsible to do so,” said PGA CEO Seth Waugh.
Comprised of PGA Professionals who advance from the 41 PGA Section Championships, along with past champions, the PPC, which started in 1968, sends the low-20 eligible finishers to compete in that year’s PGA Championship.
Due to the event being postponed, if the PGA Championship is played at a date later this summer, the 20 PGA Club Professionals in the field would be based on the top 20 eligible players listed in the final 2019 PGA Professional Player of the Year standings, Davis Park Assistant Professional, and 2019 Utah Section PGA Player of the Year Zach Johnson is listed eighth on the list and would be eligible to compete at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.
The decision to postpone the 2020 PPC and PGA Championship was made due to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation not to hold gatherings of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks and the current shelter-in-place order in effect in San Francisco.
Utah professionals that qualified for the 2020 PPC were Joe
Summerhays, Tracy Zobell, Tommy Sharp, Matt Baird, Todd Tanner and Ryan Rhees.
Johnson and Steve Schneiter were exempt into the event.
Unfortunately these qualifiers, other than Johnson, won’t
have the opportunity to qualify for the 2020 PGA Championship this year.
However, they will still have the chance to compete in the PPC once
rescheduled. We wish the best going forward and know future opportunities are not
out of reach for these exceptional PGA Professionals.
As the Master’s Tournament has been postponed, this would be
the year’s first major championship, now with a local Utah golf PGA
Professional to root for, congratulations to Johnson for a successful 2019
The March issue of Utah PGA Monthly digital magazine is here! In efforts to enhance communication with Utah Section PGA members, Utah PGA Monthly was created to celebrate and recognize PGA Professionals in Utah and all they do.
It’s tradition for the Utah Section PGA to host the Annual
Meeting, Utah PGA Awards Banquet and the Winter Classic Championship during the
same week. It’s a great way to start the new season. This year was special with
the swearing in of Darci Olsen as the first woman board member in Section
history and with the surprise announcement of Salt Lake City’s ABC 4 News
Sports Director Wesley Ruff as the first honorary member of the Section.
“I am just grateful for the opportunity, grateful to get
voted in to be on the board and have a voice,” Olsen said. “I’ve had really
good support from the fellow women in the Section and you know, it’s funny,
until it was made a bigger announcement at the Annual Meeting when I was
getting sworn in, it didn’t hit me until then that I am the first-ever woman on
“Sometimes I’m just ‘one of the guys,’” Olsen continued.
“I’m part of the Section, I’m a PGA member, so sometimes I don’t think about it
that way. But when they announced me as the first-ever woman on the bard, I
just felt so proud.”
Olsen also received the Bill Strausbaugh award at the Awards Banquet in February and in the past has been awarded Merchandiser of the Year (public) in 2012 and Women’s Player of the Year in 2018.
“Hopefully I can be a good leader and someone to pave the
way for some of the younger women up and coming. It just makes me feel a sense
of responsibility. I was the first-ever Women’s Player of the Year and the
first Section champion for women, so now being on the board, it never really
dawned on me that we’ve never had a woman on the board.
“We need the presence and women need to be involved and feel
welcome to come to all the events and meetings and feel like we have a voice. I
think it’s going to make a turn, it’s hard for some of the ladies at this stage
of their life with young kids to come to events, it’s just a little bit
different for women. So hopefully as time goes we’ll have a lot more
participation, we’ll have a lot more women that want to serve and want to be
involved. Hopefully me being on there they can realize that there is a spot for
Another first for the Utah Section was naming Ruff, who has proudly covered Utah’s amateur and professional golf for over three decades, as the first-ever Utah PGA honorary member.
Ruff was fulfilling his usual emcee role at the Awards
Banquet when Executive Director Devin Dehlin stepped up to the podium for a
brief announcement, completely surprising Ruff with his honorary membership.
“Well I was overwhelmed, floored, flabbergasted, all of it.
I am honored beyond belief, flattered that they would think of me. Just
stunned,” Ruff said.
“I’ve been in the market for 35 years,” Ruff said. “I was
here about the time they went from the Rocky Mountain Section to the new Utah
Section. It means the world, because these are people I have been around for 35
years. Golf people are the best people. Of all the sports I cover, golfers are
the best. To be included and a part of that family, it’s awesome.”
Ruff grew up in Springville, Utah, where golf has been a
major part of his life from a young age. He has continually showed his support
for the Section and the PGA Professionals in Utah by covering events and tournaments
throughout his career, and many fond memories have come from it.
“I was in Wendover when they first started having the Utah
Section Championship out there, meeting Jeff Beaudry when he first got started,
and obviously, the work we did with the Ben Hogan Tour and the Nike Tour and of
course being there when Special Olympics got its start in golf. I was a part of
that clinic on the driving range at Riverside Country Club.
“Covering some of the Section guys back then like Milan
Swilor, who would just tear it up on the Nike tour at Riverside and in the Utah
Section. There are so many good people, just the best. You know, meeting Bob
Bentley and Bruce Summerhays. It’s been a great ride.
“And to be the first,” he said. “that means so much to have
that happen to me. I just look at myself as a dopy kid from Springville that
likes to play golf. Suddenly I get the
chance to rub elbows with people in the Section and get to emcee some banquets,
hang with them and play in some events. Now to be an honorary member I could
not script that any better, it’s been awesome.”
The Utah Section PGA is proud and grateful to have Olsen as
a board member and Ruff as an honorary member. The impact the two of these
individuals have had on the Section and on golf in Utah is irreplaceable. Thank
you for everything!
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
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
“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
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
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.
The February issue of Utah PGA Monthly digital magazine is here! In efforts to enhance communication with Utah Section PGA members, Utah PGA Monthly was created to celebrate and recognize PGA Professionals in Utah and all they do.
In this issue:
Why I Play with Lakeside Golf Course Assistant Professional Tim Kjar.
Industry Insider junior golf tips from InMotion Junior Golf Co-Owner Stacey Parkinson-Jones.
PGA Merchandise Show tips from Jeremy Ranch Golf & CC Head Professional Jake Hanley.
Membership Memories with The Barn Head Professional Kelly Woodland.