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 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