Thursday, November 30, 2006

Palmer Working on Mustang Island

An article in the Orlando Sentinel details Arnold Palmer's move from golfer to full-time golf course architect. Arnie has moved his design business to his home base at Bay Hill and is taking a much more active role since deciding to permanently hang up his spikes.

And that means Palmer is more personally involved in the golf course he has under development on Mustang Island, near Port Aransas, as part of a major development there.

According to the article:

Over the next three years, Palmer's staff will unveil five courses around the world that will feature a combined 30 holes of golf along the seashore. The courses are located on Mustang Island in Texas, the islands of St. Lucia, Dominican Republic and the Bahamas, plus along the Sea of Cortez in Mexico.

"Think about that -- 30 holes with the impact of the 18th at Pebble Beach," Larsen said. "I don't think we have gotten our just recognition. Three to five years from now, I think the Palmer guys are going to be viewed among the best of all the architects. I feel pretty strongly in the sites, the clients and the staff, especially now that Arnold is involved."

That certainly raises expectations, eh?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Texan Dill Still Swinging - This Time In Europe

Terry Dill has played the PGA Tour, then the Senior PGA Tour (now called the Champions Tour, of course). Next year, he'll have a new home: the European Seniors Tour.

Dill is 67 years old now, but he gained conditional status on the Euro Seniors by finishing 11th in the qualifying tournament.

He'll be returning to golf after time of for various activities, one of which was running for the Texas Legislature. He lost in the Republican primary.

"I thought I was a right wing Republican," Dill told USA Today, "but I wasn't right wing enough." Yep, that'll happen to you in Texas these days.

Read the full article

Monday, November 20, 2006

PGA Tour Qualifying - Second Stage

Six second-stage qualifiers for the PGA Tour wrapped up over the weekend, and the next step for the golfers who advanced is Q-School finals. Two of those second-stage tournaments were in Texas, and here is the list of Texans who advanced out of each site:

Deerwood Golf Club, Kingwood
(Top 20 and ties advance)
2. Adam Rubinson, Benbrook, 285
t7. Roland Thatcher, The Woodlands, 288
t9. Mark Walker, Hurst, 289
t13. Richard Swift, Rockwall, 290
t18. Cameron Beckman, San Antonio, 291
Full Results

TPC Craig Ranch, McKinney
(Top 19 and ties advance)
1. Anthony Kim, Dallas, 274
t5. Paul Stankowski, Flower Mound, 276
t10. Franklin Hatchett, Dallas, 279
t13. Edward Loar, Dallas, 280
t13. Kelly Grunewald, Grand Prairie, 280
Full Results

Other Sites
Southern Dunes Golf Club, Maricopa, Ariz.: 8. Jason Schultz, Dallas, 274

There are always a lot of recognizable names - past PGA Tour winners and members - who can be spotted in these results, and many such players who fail to advance. You can see the full results from each of the six second-stage qualifiers here.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Latest on Boot Ranch

Boot Ranch is the controversial luxury golf course development outside of Fredericksburg that is the brainchild of Hal Sutton.

It's been controversial because of part of the financing for the development came from the pension fund of Louisiana police officers, and the members of that pension fund are unhappy with how their retirement money has been invested; and because of water issues in the Texas Hill Country, including decreased supply and increased demand. (Gee, nobody could have seen that coming, eh?)

But the golf course itself has been open for a while. Now Sutton's challenge is to sell home lots, and to sell club memberships.

The San Antonio Express-News has a lengthy article detailing the rocky road to fruition that Boot Ranch has traveled. Among the things we learn in the article are:

  • Membership initiation fees are $175,000, and dues are a minimum of $1,000 per month.
  • Sutton has sunk northwards of $30 million of his own money into the development.
  • Former President George H.W. Bush is an honorary member, although he has no plans to visit the club.
And that the pensioners continue to fight, and that area water rights owners continue to fight. You can read the full article here.

Also, the Boot Ranch Web site is now up and running.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Improvements Complete at Austin's Circle C

The Golf Club at Circle C in Austin has had a "please excuse our construction" sign out for a while. But the various upgrades and improvement projects are over after nearly a year of work. What's the verdict?

The Austin American-Statesman reports: "Already top facility now even better."

Monday, November 13, 2006

PGA Tour Winner Edwards Takes Title at SPI Texas Senior Open

From the STPGA:

Danny Edwards of Scottsdale, Ariz., shot a final round score of 66 for a 54-hole total of 4-under-par 75-71-66—212 to win the 2006 South Padre Island Golf Club at South Padre Island Golf Club in Laguna Vista, Texas. Edwards’ victory was worth $14,000 of the tournament’s total purse of $80,000.

Edwards, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, was five shots out of the lead when the final round began. He birdied three of the first five holes before taking his lone stumble of the day, a bogey on the par 4 ninth hole.

“I had a good solid day,” said Edwards of his final round. “When I birdied #11 and eagled the (par 5) 13th, I figured I had to be getting close to the lead.”

Edwards scored another birdie on the 16th for the final margin of victory, even though he didn’t know it at the time.

The southerly prevailing winds at South Padre Island Golf Club had dominated play through the first two rounds, and then a cold front blew through the night before the final round. The accompanying north winds turned the final rounds into a survival of the fittest. Cases in point:

  • Defending champion Chuck Moran of Houston led after the first round and was tied for second place after two rounds. He moved to 4-under par through 12 holes during the final round, but a bogey on the 14th hole dropped him to 3-under . . . he finished in second place at 69-74-70—213 for $10,000 in winnings.
  • Tony Peterson of Blythesville, Ark., was tied with Edwards at 4-under-par when he reached the final hole. His approach shot, played directly into north winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour, died in the pond just short and right of the 18th green. The resulting double bogey left him in third place at 70-74-70—214 for a check of $8,000.

Fort Worth’s Lindy Miller finished in fourth place at 74-70-71—215 ($6,000), followed by James Blair of Ogden, Utah, in fifth place at even-par 72-71-73—216 ($5,000).

Richard LaPierre of San Antonio (73-73-74—220) and Tom Takes of Weatherford, Texas, (78-70-72—220) contested a sudden-death playoff for low amateur honors, with LaPierre taking home the trophy with a birdie on the second extra hole.

Friday, November 10, 2006

North Texas Pros Rumble in Jordan Cup

The James P. Jordan Cup Matches - pitting teams representing the Northern Texas PGA and the South Central PGA sectionals in Ryder Cup-style competition - wasn't much of a contest this year. The NTPGA team played the role of Europeans, and the SCPGA team looked like the Americans.

Here's a report from the NTPGA:

BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma – The Northern Texas PGA team played three solid rounds of team golf to capture back the Jordan Cup from the South Central PGA team in the 2006 James P. Jordan Cup Matches. The 15.5 to 8.5 victory by the NTPGA brings the Cup back to the Northern Texas Section after a one-year absence. Captained by Dean Larsson, an assistant golf professional at Bent Tree Country Club in Dallas, the NTPGA team really turned up the play during the
Foursome Matches when they won the Monday afternoon session 5 – 1.

The James P. Jordan Cup is a “Ryder Cup” style event contested between a team of twelve of the top playing assistant golf professionals in the Northern Texas Section against a team of the twelve top playing assistant golf professionals in the South Central Section (Oklahoma, Arkansas and southern Kansas). The Northern Texas PGA Team now leads 14-2 all time in the Matches.

The NTPGA had an 8 – 4 point lead following the Four-Ball (best-ball) matches and the afternoon Foursome (alternate shot) matches on Monday. The NTPGA took seven single matches and halved another to solidify a great team win.

The James P. Jordan Cup Matches are an annual competition between teams of assistant golf professionals from the Northern Texas PGA Section and the South Central PGA Section. The Matches are named for the late James P. Jordan, a past chairman of the Salesmanship Club of Dallas and Northwood Club member.

Match results can be found on the NTPGA Web site.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

San Antonio's Loss is Scottsdale's Gain

Michael Lamanna, director of The Academy at La Cantera in San Antonio over the past several years, has announced he is leaving the Westin La Cantera Resort to join The Phoenician - another Troon-managed property - in Scottsdale, Ariz.

I've had the pleasure to get to know Lamanna during his time at La Cantera, and it's tough to think of a nicer guy in golf. And that makes him one of the best teachers you'll run across, too. How many golfers are intimidated out of ever taking lessons because they've heard stories about gruff or even rude instructors, teachers who lost patience or expressed frustration when the student wasn't grasping a given concept?

My guess is that Lamanna never once had such a moment with a student. His methods are simple and direct, and the nice-guy part of the equation makes working with Michael a joy.

He will be missed in San Antonio. But if you're ever in Scottsdale, go visit him at The Phoenician, and tell him Bogey sent you.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

South Texas Retains Joe Black Cup in Tie

For the first time in the 26-year history of the Texas Joe Black Cup Matches, the teams of golf professionals representing the Southern Texas PGA and Northern Texas PGA played to a tie - the competition ended with both teams having accumulated 12 points and the Southern Texas PGA, lead by Captain Mike Higgins of Bryan, retained the Texas Joe Black Cup by virtue of its point total and its victory in the 2005 matches.

The two teams entered the deciding singles matches tied at six points each following six four-ball and six foursome matches. The Northern Texas PGA team, led by Captain Tom Campbell of Bullard, earned five points in the first eight singles matches and appeared well on its way to the 12-1/2 point total it needed to wrest the Cup away from the STPGA, but Ken Kelley, Carl Baker and Henrik Simonsen won the next three matches to insure the STPGA of at least a tie. When the NTPGA’s Cameron Doan defeated the STPGA’s Bruce Smith, both teams had won 12 points and the STPGA retained the Cup.

The NTPGA holds a 13-12-1 lead in the Texas Joe Black Cup Matches series.

The Ryder Cup-style tournament began in 1981 and was named in honor of Joe Black, a native of Snyder, Texas, who was then serving as president of the PGA of America. Black is currently living near Austin.

Here are the individual match results:

Day 1

Four Ball Matches

  • Ken McDonald/Gordon Johnson, STPGA, def. RonnyGlanton/Billy Harris; 1 Up
  • Tony Johnson/Matt Trevino, STPGA, def. Lindy Miller/Chad Williams, NTPGA; 1 Up
  • Cameron Doan/Duff Cunningham, NTPGA, def. Henrik Simonsen/Dale Morgan, STPGA; 1 Up
  • Carl Baker/Ken Kelley, STPGA, def. Larry Bryan/Greg Sikes, NTPGA; 2 & 1
  • Britt Patton/Robert Boisvert, NTPGA, def. Garry Rippy/Rick Arnett, STPGA; 3 & 2
  • Bruce Smith/Steve Bowman, STPGA def. Greg Antunes/Tom Strueber, NTPGA; 4 & 3
Foursome Matches
  • Lindy Miller/Tom Stueber, NTPGA, def. Ken McDonaldGordon Johnson, STPGA; 6&4
  • Tony Johnson/Matt Trevino, STPGA, def. Billy Harris/Greg Antunes, NTPGA; 1 up
  • Cameron Doan/Duff Cunningham, NTPGA, def. Henrik Simonsen/Dale Morgan, STPGA; 4&3
  • Carl Baker/Ken Kelley, STPGA, def. Ronny Glanton/Chad Williams, NTPGA; 5&4
  • Britt Patton/Robert Boisvert, NTPGA, def. Garry Rippy/Rick Arnett, STPGA; 2&1
  • Larry Bryan/Greg Sikes, NTPGA, def. Bruce Smith/Steve Bowman, STPGA; 3&2

Day 2

  • Dale Morgan, STPGA, halved Ronny Glanton, NTPGA
  • Robert Boisvert, NTPGA, def. Gordon Johnson, STPGA; 3&1
  • Tony Johnson, STPGA, def. Greg Sikes, NTPGA; 3&2
  • Lindy Miller, NTPGA, def. Garry Rippy, STPGA; 1 up
  • Ken McDonald, STPGA, def. Chad Williams, NTPGA; 3&2
  • Greg Antunes, NTPGA, def. Matt Trevino, STPGA; 3&2
  • Steve Bowman, STPGA, halved Britt Patton, NTPGA
  • Larry Bryan, NTPGA , def. Rick Arnett, STPGA; 6&5
  • Ken Kelley, STPGA def. Tom Strueber, NTPGA; 2&1
  • Carl Baker, STPGA, def. Duff Cunningham, NTPGA
  • Henrik Simonsen, STPGA, vs. Billy Harris, NTPGA; 3&2
  • Cameron Doan, NTPGA, def. Bruce Smith, STPGA; 4&3

Lardon Wins PGA Assistant Professional Championship

Congratulations to Brad Lardon of Austin on his recent victory in the 30th TaylorMade-adidas PGA Assistant Professional Championship, played at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Here's the tournament report, courtesy of the STPGA:

Former PGA Tour player Brad Lardon of Austin, Texas, came from behind to capture the 30th TaylorMade-adidas Golf PGA Assistant Professional Championship
at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Lardon began the final 18-holes two-shots behind third-round leader Faber Jamerson of Amherst, Va., and battled back with a final-round 4-under-par 68 for a Championship total of 14-under-par 274. Jamerson finished in second place two shots back with a 12-under 276.

Lardon and Jamerson played in the final group this morning, along with Ryan Helminen of Appleton, Wis., who finished in tie for fifth place. They went head-to-head throughout the round and Lardon took the lead on the par-5 542-yard
hole No. 6, where he hit a 4-iron into the green and two-putted for a birdie, while Jamerson carded a par. From that point on, Lardon never looked back and took complete control of the national Championship.

“I played very solid today and kept the ball in play and birdied all the par-5’s,” said Lardon, the PGA Assistant Golf Professional at Escondido in Horseshoe Bay, Texas, who won the Southern Texas PGA Assistant Professional Championship, the STPGA Professional Championship and the STPGA Club Car Memorial Championship earlier this year. “I never took anything for granted and I was fortunate that Jamerson didn’t have his best day and opened the door to let me back in the game early.”

Jamerson did in fact have a difficult day early with three bogeys on the front nine on Nos. 4, 7, and 9. He then made the turn determined to fight back into the Championship. He carded birdies on Nos. 13 and 14, then followed with a bogey on No. 16, but ended on a strong note with two ending birdies.

“The atmosphere for my day was hitting the ball close to the hole but not making any putts,” said Jamerson, who recorded his highest round of the tournament with an even-par 72. “When I birdied No. 14 from 12-feet, I knew that I still had a realistic chance to win the Championship if I could take advantage of my length on the upcoming par-5. However, I unfortunately left the ball short and was not able to capitalize.”

Three-time Champion (2002, 2003, 2005) Kyle Flinton of Edmond, Okla., entered the clubhouse with the lowest round of the day, 6-under 66, to jump from a tie for 15th place after the third round to a tie for third place for the Championship at 70-72-71-66-279. Joining Flinton in a tie for third position is Grant Masson of Little Rock, Ark.

“I am honored to win this PGA of America national Championship which is full of tradition,” said Lardon, who earns a first place check of $9,000 out of the total purse of $100,000. “The field was very strong and I am so proud to come out on top as the Champion this year.”

Jamerson is invited to participate in the 2007 Australian PGA National Futures Championship, by finishing as the low apprentice in the Championship.

The 30th TaylorMade-adidas Golf PGA Assistant Professional Championship was comprised of 41 PGA Section assistant champions, section qualifiers, the defending Champion Kyle Flinton and assistant/apprentice champions from Australia, Canada and Great Britain.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Private Side of Boerne

The number of golf courses in Boerne, just outside San Antonio on IH-10, has doubled. From one to two. And both are great. Unfortunately, the new one is private, and the older one is going private.

The older one is Tapatio Springs, which boasts 27 holes, some of which are spectacular, all of which are set in a gorgeous valley or along a ridgeline. The good news is that Tapatio is planning on adding another nine to create two 18-hole layouts.

The bad news: Tapatio Springs is going private, effective Jan. 1. It will thereafter be open only to members, their guests, and people staying at the resort.

The new course is Cordillera Ranch, which is having a soft opening in advance of its official opening next spring. It's a Jack Nicklaus Signature Course, and it sounds pretty nice. Too bad most of us will never get to play it.

More info on both these courses and the new developments can be found on the San Antonio Express-News Web site:

Big plans in works as Tapatio goes private
Nicklaus' vision realized

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