Record seeded No. 1 in AZ Amateur

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Matt Record, a junior college All-American from Scottsdale headed to Nebraska in the fall, ran away with medalist honors at the 88th Arizona Amateur Championship on Tuesday at the Gallery Golf Club in Marana.

Record, a key player on South Mountain Community College’s national championship team last month, set a torrid pace on the Gallery’s North Course with rounds of 6-under-par 66 to go with a 68 on Monday for a two-day total of 10-under 134. That was five shots better than UA sophomore Ricky Lee, a former Tucson Salpointe Catholic High standout that got into red numbers with a 67 his second time around.

Another shot back at 4-under 140 were Chandler’s Bryan Hoops, Scottsdale’s Carter Mejia and Ian Patterson, a teammate of Record’s at South Mountain.

Other players of note who made their way into the elite match-play bracket that includes the top 64 players: Zachary Wright (3 under, tied for sixth), the highly touted Phoenix Pinnacle High star headed for LSU in the fall; Chandler’s Peter Koo (1 under, T-17), who became the youngest player ever to win an Arizona Golf Association major when he won the 2011 AZ Stroke Play; Michael Wog (2 over, T-36), last year’s runner-up in the AZ Amateur who is playing in his final AGA event before he turns pro; and five-time AZ Amateur champ Ken Kellaney (4 over, T-54) of Phoenix.

Even 2011 AGA Player of the Year Camron Howell of Queen Creek qualified for match play despite himself, stumbling in with a 79. It helps, however, to shoot a 67 the day prior, as Howell did. That 67, by the way, proved to be the best score from Day One.

But in the end, the medal play portion of this tournament and the No.1 seed belonged to Record, who is one of five players from Arizona headed to Nebraska. The other Cornhusker recruits include Record’s teammate at South Mountain, Jimmy Kozikowski, as well as Kolton Lapa and the Wong twins, Aaron and Nate. Lapa and Aaron Wong also made their way into the match-play bracket, as both players were at even par (T-21).  Nate Wong and Kozikowski were not in the 148-player field.

“The golf course just sets up really, really well for me, and the greens were soft and slow, so I could just throw it right at the pins,’’ said the 20-year-old Record, who made 14 birdies to offset four bogeys over the two days, including eight birdies on Tuesday.

“My scoring irons were just working. And I only missed two greens in two days, so everything is starting to click. I could not be more happy with my game right now.’’

Record will need all of it against the rest of this power-packed bracket, as a new champion in this AGA major is guaranteed after Bowen Osborn decided not to defend. And the North Course will be stretched from 7,000 yards to up to 7,300 yards, according to tournament manager Alex Tsakiris.

Record, who played on three straight state high school championship teams at Scottsdale Chaparral – all under coach Howard Twitty — said the change in format for the last four days of this tournament works for him.

“I just love match play because I make a lot of birdies,’’ he said. “Last year I made it through the first two rounds so, hopefully, I’ll go farther this time around.’’

The mano y mano confrontations begin early Wednesday morning with 32 matches; a double session of 16 and eight on Thursday; and the quarterfinals and semifinals on Friday. The championship will take place early Saturday morning.


AGA & AWGA make move to GHIN

The United States Golf Association (USGA) announced today that two Arizona golf associations will switch to receiving support for their handicap operations to the Golf Handicap and Information Network® (GHIN) beginning October 15, 2012.

Together, the Arizona Golf Association ( and the Arizona Women’s Golf Association ( represent approximately 80,000 golfers and more than 400 golf clubs statewide. The two associations also partner to manage the Arizona Handicap Network, or AzHN.

“There are many good reasons for the AWGA to subscribe to the GHIN service,” said Mary Pomroy, executive director of the Arizona Women’s Golf Association. “The deciding factor in our choice to make this transition was GHIN’s progress over the last decade in the utilization of state of the art technology. We are confident in its commitment to the continued enhancement of the product offering within GHIN, and to supporting the needs of state and regional golf associations.”

"We have been very impressed with the progress GHIN has made in adopting an on-line handicap service program that meets all of our needs,” said Ed Gowan, executive director of the Arizona Golf Association. “The seamless integration with other GHIN associations is important to our clubs, many of which have members in other associations.”

Started in 1981 at the request of state and regional golf associations, the GHIN service has grown to become the largest handicap computation service in the world, servicing in excess of 2.1 million golfers representing 73 golf associations and more than 12,700 golf clubs in 43 states, 4 U.S. territories and 4 foreign countries. GHIN is offered exclusively through state or regional golf associations, federations or unions as a service for their member clubs to assist in meeting the policies of the USGA Handicap System™ that enables all golfers to compete on a relatively equal basis.

“The USGA is proud of the increasing recognition and support for GHIN that national and international golf associations are delivering,” said Gene McClure, chairman of the USGA’s GHIN Committee. “The GHIN service has become a true global handicap and member service provider, and we look forward to continuing to develop and implement innovative services as part of our strong service commitment to these associations.”

About the USGA
The USGA conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open, as well as 10 national amateur championships, two state team championships and international matches. Together with The R&A, the USGA governs the game worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, Equipment Standards and World Amateur Golf Rankings. The USGA’s working jurisdiction comprises the United States, its territories and Mexico.

The USGA is a global leader in the development and support of sustainable golf course management practices. It serves as a primary steward for the game’s history and funds an ongoing “For the Good of the Game” charitable giving program. Additionally, the USGA’s Course Rating and Handicap systems are used on six continents in more than 50 countries.

For more information about the USGA, visit


Jack Nicklaus Golf Academy opens in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

Jack Nicklaus’ latest golf academy might just be his greatest yet. Located at the Nayar Vidanta course in Nuevo Vallarta, the Nicklaus Academy is the 15th such facility worldwide and third in Mexico. The academy opened this month to dazzling reviews from PGA pros, avid golfers and weekend players whose games stand to benefit most from the elite instruction and training program. Tucked inside sprawling Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta, which boasts the Grand Luxxe, Grand Mayan and five more resorts, the academy gives visitors the added luxury of shaving strokes off their score while vacationing in paradise. “I think I have found heaven… and in Nuevo Vallarta of all places,” said Leon Shwetz, a visiting golfer from Las Vegas by way of Canada. “The new Nicklaus Academy is unbelievable. I now have a place to come to get out of the cold or the heat, and just work on my golf game as much as I can stand.” Golfer Mark DeWald took a two-hour flight from Phoenix for the grand opening and he wasn’t disappointed. “I came here with the expectation of seeing another driving range with some teaching aids and the standard stuff,” he said. “That wasn’t the case. The range is huge with all sorts of targets and trees to hit at or around. The short game area was one of the largest I have seen. But the really cool part was the climate-controlled coaching studios that allow you to escape the heat, sun or rain while taking a lesson.” The academy experience includes tactical evaluation, on-course instruction and mental and physical evaluation and training programs. The lit driving range is designed with seven strategically placed target greens complete with bunkers and palm trees, creating a realistic visual for the golfer working to shave strokes off their score. “You feel like you are on a course,” said Mike Malaska, PGA of America’s 2011 National Teacher of the Year and the Nicklaus Academies’ Worldwide Director of Instruction. “The backdrop from the tee is the [Sierra Madre} mountains. Not the golf course, buildings or houses, but a mountain. This is the perfect setting to work on your full swing, your short irons, and your complete game.” Ted Simons, Executive VP / COO of Nicklaus Academies, called the new facility “one of the best I’ve seen anywhere in the world.” “The short game training and practice area is a dream come true,” Simons said. “The oversized putting green, and the oversized chipping, pitching and bunker areas provide the opportunity to practice virtually any shot you might come across during a round of golf. The practice areas are complete with a variety of uphill, downhill and side hill lies. Anyone interested in developing a solid and consistent short game area does not have to go anywhere but here.” The facility’s director of instruction is Bruce Summerhays, Jr., a PGA professional from Utah whose father Bruce played on the PGA and Senior PGA tours. “This academy is really more of a golf experience than a practice area,” Summerhays said. “The beginner can not only enjoy the incredible atmosphere, but can feel confident that they are receiving the best quality instruction.” Summerhays said the early feedback from guests has been encouraging. One visitor from California emailed Summerhays to thank him for changing his family’s attitude toward golf. “I have been trying to get the rest of my family involved in golf. A lesson with you has everyone excited about playing.” The Nicklaus Academy is open to members and guests of Vidanta Resorts as well as residents and visitors to Puerto Vallarta. Customized lesson packages for individuals, groups and juniors are available for all ability levels. Golfers can test their rejuvenated games on the Nayar course, which reopened last year after an extensive renovation by Nicklaus Design. For additional information on the academy and golf at the Nayar course, please visit


Pioneer Classic commemorates 25 years

On September 21-22, Alliance Beverage celebrates its 25th anniversary of the Pioneer Classic Golf Tournament at the Wigwam Resort and Golf Club. Since 1987, the Pioneer Classic Benefit Fund has been dedicated to raising funds for Arizona charities. The University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center, Arizona Cancer Center, Young Life and the Changing Lives Center for Women and Children will benefit from the 2012 tournament. “It takes a dedicated and caring group of people who are committed to making a difference in Arizona. It’s a fundamental charge that we serve and give back to our community our time, treasure and talent, taking an active role in the lives and needs of our community.” Bob Smith, Alliance Beverage Distributing Co., LLC President and CEO. While the 2011 Pioneer Classic Golf Tournament surpassed $2.8 million in charitable giving, Alliance Beverage hopes to surpass the $3 million mark for their collective giving over the past 25 years running the Pioneer Classic Event. “We’re thrilled with the support we’ve received over the last 20+ years, but we’re especially proud of 2011. Raising dollars in a down economy is a real challenge, but out suppliers, associates and friends didn’t waiver in their commitments to Alliance Beverage Distributing Company and the communities of Arizona. For that we are grateful, as I’m sure most Arizonans are,” stated President and CEO, Bob Smith. “We work hard to return the highest possible percentage of revenue generated from the event to our charities.” states Tracy Uffelman, VP Legislative and Community Relations, Alliance Beverage. “It’s important to our 800+ employees, and hundreds of suppliers, that we’re striving to do our best to help the members of our community that are in need.” From humble beginnings in 1987, The Pioneer Classic has grown to become the largest volunteer run golf tournament in Arizona, hosting close to 400 golfers and a total of 650 guests for a fun-filled weekend at the Wigwam Resort and Golf Club. “Alliance Beverage cherishes the Pioneer Classic that was born to raise cancer research funds but now does so much more for the people of Arizona, and beyond. The Pioneer Classic is a wonderful weekend that brings friends, family and colleagues together for all the right reasons,” said Stephen Abbate, Pioneer Classic 2012 Event Chairman, and Alliance VP. Since 1993, the Wigwam Resort and Golf Club has been hosting this wonderful weekend of golf and events designed to give and get. The Classic kicks off on Friday morning at 7am, September 21st, with the exclusive President’s Invitational tournament, followed by the Sports Celebrity Luncheon and an evening reception. Saturday the 22nd begins with breakfast and Bloody Marys on the North Lawn followed by the 25th Annual Pioneer Classic Golf Tournament, poolside paradise afternoon filled with food, fun, family & friends! Saturday evening hosts a reception and silent auction where guests can bid on everything from jewelry to vacation packages while sipping their favorite cocktail; followed by dinner, and an after party like no other. For Pioneer Classic Golf Tournament sponsorship specifics, visit http//, or contact 2012 Event Chairman, Alliance Beverage’s Stephen Abbate, via email at: [email protected]


AGA member special at Camelback Golf Club

Camelback Golf Club is inviting AGA members to enjoy a relaxing day of golf at a great rate. Through Sept. 13, play the Padre Course weekdays for $29 anytime, weekends before 10 a.m. for $49 and weekends after 10 a.m. for $39. Call 480-596-7050 to reserve a tee time and be sure to tell them you are an AGA member.