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San Antonio Group Shifts Focus To Amateur Game

Golf San Antonio, one of the oldest and largest city golf organizations in Texas, recently took bold steps to promote the growth of the amateur game in the Alamo City.
Earlier this year, Golf San Antonio agreed to split its management of a vast array of amateur programs – including the Greater San Antonio Amateur Championship, the First Tee of San Antonio and others – from its management of the PGA Tour’s Texas Open.
With the recent resignation of tournament president and GSA executive director Tony Piazza, the Board of Directors hired Greg Norman’s Great White Shark Enterprises last week to run the Texas Open starting in 2013, allowing GSA to concentrate its full efforts on promoting local amateur golf.
Longtime San Antonio amateur golf veterans Mary Carriker and Janina Schmit-Collins will oversee the programs.
“With these recent moves, GSA will continue to support the Texas Open and other golf industry initiatives to help grow the game in South Texas,” said interim president and CEO Reid Meyers.
Under the leadership of Golf San Antonio, amateur golf has grown steadily in the area. The First Tee has become headquartered at the historic Polo Fields driving range across the street from Brackenridge Park, the first public course in Texas.
Golf San Antonio has overseen the Texas Open, the fifth-oldest professional tournament in golf, since the 1930s and has groomed it to become the leading charity money-raising powerhouse on the PGA Tour.

Volunteers still are needed for the 2012 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur at Briggs Ranch in San Antonio, Oct. 6-11. More than 200 Texas golf fans already have signed up for the only USGA national championship in Texas this year, but there still are spots available. To sign up, go to the San Antonio Sports Foundation website at
“Everything is coming together very nicely,” said Briggs Ranch Director of Golf Tom Relf. “The course is going to be spectacular and the people of San Antonio are really coming out to help.”
This will be the first national golf championship staged at the Tom Fazio private course in far west San Antonio.

The annual Joe Black Cup matches between Northern and Southern Texas sections of the PGA of America will be held Oct. 28-30 at Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas. The Northern Texas section recently unveiled its team, which will be led by Lindy Miller, teaching professional at Shady Oaks Country Club. The Southern Texas team will be named at the end of the month.
Members of the Northern Texas team are Perry Arthur (The Golf Club of Dallas), Philip Bleakney (The Golf Club of Dallas), Patrick Buhrmann (Abilene Country Club), Cameron Doan (Preston Trail Golf Club), Ronny Glanton (Sherrill Park Golf Course), Jason Hase (San Angelo Country Club), Casey Paulson (The Vaquero Club), Brian Ricketts (The Honors Golf Club in Dallas), Greg Sikes (Hogan Park GC), John Sikes (Hollytree CC), Judd Whiteman (Dallas National GC) and Carl Worley (Holly Lake Ranch GC).

The Dallas Athletic Club, the site of many national and state championships, will host another prestigious event this year when the Texas Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship is held Friday through Sunday.
Statewide qualifying has produced a record field of top players 25-and-older to challenge the Blue Course, which hosted the 1963 PGA Championship won by Jack Nicklaus, the 1997 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship and the 2011 Southern Junior.

Fort Worth’s Gary Hardin, McKinney’s Gary Kirwan and Hal Wright, from Shreveport, La., tied for medalist honors at 71 and earned entry into the 2012 U.S. Senior Amateur. Mike Puls, from Irving, shot 72 and earned the final local spot at Great Southwest Golf Club in Arlington for the national senior amateur championship.

Stuart Deane, PGA teaching professional at Sinclair’s Golf Training Center in Euless, has captured the 2012 Northern Texas PGA Player of the Year and Ben Hogan/NTPGA Stroke Play Average awards. This marks Deane’s first Player of the Year award and second Stroke Play Average award.
He accumulated 381 points to capture the Player of the Year title by a 51-point margin ahead of Troy Denton, PGA assistant professional at Stevens Park Golf Course in Dallas.

Brian Ricketts, defending champion and PGA head professional at The Honors Golf Club in Dallas, captured the 2012 Northern Texas Section Championship at 7-under-par 137 at his home course. This win marks Ricketts’ second individual major championship. He is the seventh professional to win this championship back to back. Jacky Cupit is the only professional to win the event three consecutive times (1968-70). Ricketts also earned entry into the 2013 Byron Nelson Classic.

Chuck Ellenwood and John Stark continued their fine play on the way to a three-shot victory in the 2012 State Senior Four Ball Championship at Lost Pines Golf Club in Bastrop.
Ellenwood and Stark posted a final-round 67 to finish at 16-under par for the championship. It is the team’s second consecutive victory in the event. Ron Hackelman and Tom Royse cruised to a four-shot victory in the Super Senior Division.


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