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Michael Wog II set to defend Publinks title

Michael Wog II of Scottsdale, the 2009 Arizona Golf Association Player of the Year, is set to defend his title at the Arizona Publinks Championship to be held at Randolph North Golf Course in Tucson March 5 – 7. He will be joined by 143 elite amateur golfers in the state in the first AGA major championship of the year. The format for the Championship will be 54 holes of individual stroke play at gross with a cut after 36 holes to the low 60 + ties. 
“I was really excited when I found out that the Publinks was going to return to Randolph North.” Wog said. “I love the golf course layout and it just seems to really fit my eye and game. I would love to go out and have a repeat performance like I did last year, but I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself to do so.” Other top players scheduled to compete including 10-time AGA Player of the Year Ken Kellaney of Phoenix, a two-time past champion, Chris Kessler of Scottsdale, who was second last year in AGA Performance Points, Patrick Geare of Tucson, who was fourth in AGA Performance Points and the 2009 Masters Player of the Year and the Senior Player of the Year Frank Ellenburg of Chandler. Other past champions in the field include two-time winner Steve Dallas of Mesa, a two-time past champion and Robin McCool of Bethlehem, Penn., who captured the title in 2004. Being a past champion and Player of the Year provides extra motivation for the 27-year-old Wog. “As the Player of the Year, I feel like I should contend in every tournament I play,” he said. “I’ve continued to improve this offseason and I’m excited for this year. I know that I may have some off days or weeks, but I definitely think that what I’m working on is taking me in the right direction.” For Geare, a longtime resident of Tucson, who grew up and learned to play golf at Randolph, the course holds a special fondness for him and it doesn’t hurt that his game is in good shape. “Last year I was very pleased with how the season turned out,” he said. “I have enjoyed playing the course for many years so knowledge of the course won’t be a problem. In past Publinks I haven’t played very well and I am hoping to improve this year.” It’s not just the players who will be bringing their best game to the tee. The staff at Randolph has been busy ensuring the course will be a good test of golf. “It’s a good golf course and the city of Tucson should be given a lot of credit because they put a lot of effort in getting it ready for this tournament,” Geare added. “I played the Roy Tatum Best Ball tournament last weekend and the course was in excellent shape and I’m sure it will continue to be in great shape this coming weekend.”

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Wildfire GC Honors Armed Forces

Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa is honoring America’s military men and women by providing active, reserve and retired military personnel with discounted golf fees.  The “Fairway Furloughs” program offers golfers in the military a discounted $59 rate now through April at Wildfire Golf Club, nearly a 70 percent savings off the normal rate, when they play after noon any day of the week. The golf rate is $49 May through June and just $29 in the summer months of July, August and September. Wildfire Golf Club, which is situated in the Sonoran desert of northeast Phoenix, features two picturesque 18-hole courses designed by two of golf’s greatest legends — Arnold Palmer and Nick Faldo. Surrounding both courses are the majestic McDowell Mountains and century-old Saguaro cacti, providing a magnificent setting for golfers. The 7,145-yard, par 72 Palmer course is situated in the rugged Sonoran desert and meanders though scenic arroyos. The par 71 Faldo Course features a total of 6,846 yards, generous fairways and ample landing areas. Wildfire Golf Club, a certified member of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program, is the desert gem of Phoenix and Scottsdale’s resort golf courses offering exciting play as well as a luxurious Arizona getaway. The two courses of Wildfire Golf Club are an integral part of the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, named one of Travel + Leisure Golf’s “World’s Best Golf Resorts” and voted one of the “Top 75 Resorts in North America” by Condé Nast Traveler readers. Tee times can be made up to three days in advance for the Fairway Furloughs program. A valid military identification card is required for play. For more information about the Fairway Furloughs program at Wildfire Golf Club, call 480-473-0205. The largest luxury resort in Arizona features 950 guestrooms 10 dining experiences, Marriott’s first Revive Spa — a 28,000-square -foot facility — eight tennis courts and four acres of elaborately landscaped pools including the Lazy River with serpentine slide, two championship golf courses and Wildfire Golf Club. JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa is located where Phoenix meets Scottsdale, with easy access to the Loop 101 freeway. For more information about JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa located at 5350 E. Marriott Drive in Phoenix, call 480-293-5000, toll free at 800-835-6206 or visit www.jwdesertridgeresort.com

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Terravita GC Doantes to Arnie\‘s Army Battles Prostate Cancer

Terravita Men’s Golf Association’s (TMGA) opening day event was not only a battle on the Terravita Golf Course, it was also a battle to help fight prostate cancer.
Terravita Golf Club, an award-winning private, member-owned and operated 18-hole golf course located in North Scottsdale, raised more than $5,700 for Arnie’s Army Battles Prostate Cancer at the opening day event late last year. Terravita has contributed more than $24,000 to Arnie’s Army during the past five years. Legendary professional golfer Arnold Palmer is the honorary chairman of Arnie’s Army Battles Prostate Cancer and is a prostate cancer survivor. He created the non-profit foundation to support the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the world’s largest philanthropic source of support for prostate cancer research. The TMGA annually participates in the nationwide fundraising effort. The event was led by member Don Winterhalter, who was assisted by George Tyson and Jim Buckalew. “We have a very high member participation rate each year,” said Terravita Director of Golf Steve Mallory. “The money was raised through a voluntary event entry fee, and by hosting a hole-in-one and a closest to the pin contests during the TMGA opening event.” Winners of the contests included TMGA members Rick DeRosa, Jon Palmberg, Barry Silver and Dwight Thomas, who received prizes donated from the Prostate Cancer Foundation, Jet Blue Airlines, and Callaway Golf Company. About Terravita Golf Club: Terravita Golf Club is the private golf club of choice in North Scottsdale, located in the heart of picturesque desert foothills. There are nearly 1,400 households in the gated community, located just south of Carefree, Arizona. It offers world-class amenities in an elegant desert setting, with an award-winning, private 18-hole golf course designed by renowned architects PGA Hall of Famer Billy Casper and Greg Nash. Terravita Golf Club has been ranked first by Ranking Arizona – The Best of Arizona Business Magazine’s listing of the state’s top 10 private golf courses in 2009, 2007, 2006 and 2005. For more information, visit www.terravitagolfclub.com About Arnie’s Army: Legendary professional golfer Arnold Palmer is the honorary chairman of Arnie’s Army Battles Prostate Cancer and is a prostate cancer survivor. The program was created to raise funds to find a cure for prostate cancer. All funds raised go directly to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the world’s largest philanthropic source of support for prostate cancer research. Since its inception, PCF has raised over $260 million dollars and funded over 1,200 research projects. Golf clubs around the country participate in fund raising, with one-day, one-hole, closest-to-the-pin contests. For more information, please visit www.arniesarmybattles.com

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Arizona Stroke Play Championship preview

The Arizona Golf Association’s Stroke Play Championship, one of four major amateur championships held annually in the state, has found success with its new home at the TPC Scottsdale – Champions Course. The event, which was moved to the Champions Course in 2008, is the only major of the year to have a permanent home. The 2010 event will feature a field of 144 players and the 72-hole championship will have a 36-hole cut to the low 60 players and ties. The championship is open to all AGA amateur members. Two qualifying tournaments will be held for the championship, March 16 at Stone Creek and March 24 at Tucson National. “The partnership with TPC has been a tremendous success for the Stroke Play Championship,” said Ed Gowan, executive director of the AGA. “To be associated with one of the state’s most highly-regarded courses, that has a proud tradition with the PGA Tour, compliments our efforts to showcase the states’ premier amateur golfers.” The decision to partner with the city of Scottsdale and the TPC was made to elevate the stature of the championship and create a venue that would allow the championship to grow and generate additional opportunities to expand the ancillary events during the week. As part of the festivities, a Champions of Golf Award was created to honor an individual who has given back to the game and been a stalwart in the Community. The first recipient was Tom Cunningham, the Arizona Junior Golf Association executive director and last year, famed golf course architect Gary Panks was honored. “It is a sincere pleasure to partner with the Arizona Golf Association in hosting the state of Arizona’s premier amateur event, the Arizona Stroke Play Championship,” said Bill Grove, the TPC director of Golf. “Our staff enjoys the opportunity in hosting this event to see the state’s best players try their hand on the Champions course. This event compliments our PGA TOUR event on the Stadium course and gives us two outstanding competitions hosted on two great golf courses.” Established in 1985, Arizona Golf Hall of Famer Billy Mayfair won the first two events. Ken Kellaney, a recent Arizona Golf Hall of Fame inductee and a 10-time AGA Player of the Year, has won the championship a record four times. The only other multiple championship winner is Stanford Cardinal Andrew Yun, the current defending champion. A graduate of Hamilton High School in Chandler, his former teammate, Chan Kim, who now plays at ASU won the inaugural championship on the TPC Scottsdale – Champions Course. Last year, he went on to win the prestigious Pacific Coast Amateur Championship. “I love that the tournament is permanently at the TPC-Champions course,” said Michael Wog II, the 2009 AGA Player of the Year and 2009 runner up at the Stroke Play Championship. “It is a fantastic layout that is a true test of golf. If you can break par, then you have definitely controlled your golf ball well for that round. To me, the Stroke Play Championship is the biggest major of the year for the AGA, because it is over four rounds and whoever plays the best golf for that week will win. “I personally love the layout of the Champions course. I think you really have to have all aspects of your game working to play well, driver, irons and putting. I’ve been working hard in the off-season in order to get ready for this one tournament. This is the one I really want to win,” added Wog. The Championship week also features a PGA Tour-style Pro-Am, known as the AZ Stroke Play Am / Am, where golfers can play with some of the state’s best amateurs who are playing in the AZ Stroke Play Championship. This year’s Am / Am will take place on the TPC Scottsdale Champions Course, on Tuesday, April 13, with a 12:30 p.m. shotgun. AGA members who are interested in playing with one of the AZ Stroke Play participants can contact the AGA office to sign-up. About the AGA: Established in 1923, the Arizona Golf Association is a volunteer-based organization with over 400 member clubs and 65,000 members. The mission of the AGA is to foster the enhancement and expansion of the game of golf by leading in the development of member and information services, the promotion of opportunities for all who want to play, and the protection of the game’s integrity and valued traditions. More information is available by calling 602.944.3035 or in state toll free at 800. 458.8484 or online at www.azgolf.org. About TPC Scottsdale – Champions Course: The Champions course has already been recognized as one of greater Phoenix’s most outstanding facilities and has received national recognition as well becoming one of the Top 30 municipal facilites in the United States to play recognized by Golfweek Magazine. It has also been the host for PGA TOUR Qualify schools and most notably was the site for the final stage of the Champions Tour Qualifying school in November of 2009. The course is solid test of golf with rolling fairways that are contoured to give some noticeable elevation changes as well as greens compounds that require imagination around the putting surfaces. Conditions are maintained seasonally with overseeded turf in the cool seasons and a lush growth of bermuda grass in the summer months. Four sets of tees will give any player the opportunity to test their skills no matter what their handicap. More information is available by calling 480.585.4334 or toll free at 888.400.4001 or online at www.tpc.com

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Southwest Section PGA to Raise Money for Charities Through Virtual Helicopter Ball-Drop In 2010

The PGA Southwest Section announced today a unique event benefiting two Phoenix-based charities, the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Arizona and Nevada chapters of Special Olympics and the PGA Southwest Section Foundation.  The Virtual Helicopter Ball-Drop will take place on Friday, June 11, 2010 as part of the Arizona Open Green Day Charity Tournament. The evening culminates with the innovative animation and dinner at Harold’s Restaurant in Cave Creek. Those unable to attend will be able to participate by viewing the Ball-Drop live, via web-link. This dynamic event will precede the state’s second longest running professional tournament, the 66th Arizona Open. The 54-hole stroke play championship will be conducted at Desert Mountain’s Apache Course from June 17-19. The PGA Southwest Section and its production partner, GiveThroughGolf.com will sell golf balls for $20 each. The Grand Prize winner will receive a 2010 Lexus! 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place winners will take home other great prizes. Vito Berlingeri, marketing director for the PGA Southwest Section, said,” the campaign will significantly increase the amount of charitable giving the non-profit organization contributes in 2010 and we are excited to be at the forefront of this great opportunity with Give Through Golf.” Give Through Golf , provides a dynamic, web-based, ball-drop production that can function as a stand-alone event, or work in concert with an existing event, such as a golf tournament or a gala. GiveThrough Golf sells golf balls online through a customized web page developed specifically for each charity. The custom animation allows donors to view a Virtual Helicopter Ball Drop from anywhere there is Internet access. To learn more about the Virtual Ball-Drop, the upcoming event, and to purchase golf balls visit GiveThroughGolf.com, click on the Charity Tab or the Southwest Section PGA Logo or call (877) 885-2088 For more tournament information call Mr. Berlingeri at the PGA Southwest Section Office at (480) 443-9002. Also follow The Southwest Section of the PGA on Facebook!