Blanchard Wins First AGA Major of the Year at Aguila Golf Course

LAVEEN, Ariz. – Brian Blanchard needed a playoff, but brought home the first AGA Major title of the year Sunday at Aguila Golf Course, shooting -7 overall after a final round even-par 72 at the AGA Championship. Blanchard’s final round tally made up a three-shot deficit, forcing a playoff with 54-hole leader Bryan Hoops and Adam Walicki. He would make birdie on the first playoff hole to triumph in the blustery conditions at Aguila for his first AGA tournament victory, doing so in major fashion by carding rounds of 70-74-65-72.

Close up of Brian Blanchard holds his kachina trohpy in front of him with golf course in background

Blanchard, of Desert Forest Golf Club, and Kurt Watkins were the only players to card rounds of 65 in the competition, with Watkins coming in the first round and Blanchard’s in the third. Going low seemed to give Blanchard some much-needed momentum going into the final round, where he would eventually outlast two former AGA players of the year en route to victory.


Full AGA Championship Leaderboard:

RELATED: Watkins leads after R1 of AGA Championship


Another tournament highlight came from Mike Davidson on the drivable par-4 eighth hole, where he made an Albatross with a hole in one. Check out the video below.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Up next for the AGA:


Kurt Watkins Leads After First Round of the AGA Championship

Watkins’ -7 (65) leads 144-player field by a shot Aguila Golf Course

by Alex Gelman
USGA PJ Boatwright Jr. Communications Intern

The weather and conditions were superb as 144 players this morning and afternoon teed it up at Aguila Golf Course for the start of the AGA Championship – the association’s first major championship of the season. Kurt Watkins fired a 7-under (65) to lead the field through 18 holes. Watkins was 9-under through 16 holes with five birdies and two eagles, until making his first blemish on 17, a double bogey.

Just one shot back of the lead, tied for second, is 2021 AGA Player of the Year Sean O’Donnell, 6-under. O’Donnell birdied three of the last five holes to finish his round. 2018 and 2019 AGA Player of the Year, Adam Walicki, also shot 6-under in the opening round.

Shankar Natarajan, winner of the AZ Short Course at Augusta Ranch last month, is currently alone in fifth place, 3-under (69).

“The energy was really high – the players have been looking forward to the first major championship for a few months now,” said Logan Rasmussen, AGA Director of Rules and Competition. “The golf course is in incredible shape and there are a lot of different options for course set up (tees, hole locations) which keeps it fresh and interesting.

“This is the first time the event has been played over four days. Having that variety of hole locations and an ability to challenge the players is what makes this event so great.”

The field will be cut to the top 60 players and ties after Friday’s second round. Those left will battle it out over the weekend for the coveted Kachina trophy.

The second round begins Friday morning at 7:00a.m. For the full leaderboard, CLICK HERE. For second round tee times, CLICK HERE.


Marilynn Smith Arizona Women’s Open Announces Purse Increase to $87,000

Open Division winner to earn $15K, Senior Division team gets $10K at the inaugural event in Mesa


Media Contact:

David Bataller, Director of Communications
(602) 944-3035 | [email protected]

Player Contact:

Amy Fruhwirth, Programs Manager
(602) 944-3035 | [email protected]

For Immediate Release
March 8, 2022

SCOTTSDALE – The Arizona Golf Foundation today announced the inaugural Marilynn Smith Arizona Women’s Open will feature $15,000 and $10,000 winner’s checks in each respective division. Set to be played May 3-5, 2022, at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, 144 top professionals, amateurs and seniors from across the country will compete for a purse that has currently reached a minimum of $87,000, and is subject to increase as potential community sponsorships are accepted.

“We have worked hard to be a leader in the industry and increasing the Marilynn Smith Arizona Women’s Open purse to $87,000 shows our commitment to women’s golf in the state,” said Anj Brown, Director of Outreach at the Arizona Golf Association. “We hope this is just the beginning, and that as sponsorships increase, the prize pool will reflect the depth of the community’s commitment to the event as well.”

­­­The three-day, 54-hole Open Division will tee off Tuesday, May 3, with a max field of 104 players. The current payout structure will see the top 50 players and ties make a 36-hole cut, with the winner taking home $15,000. The top 20 places will be paid with 20th receiving $1,000.

The 40-player Senior Division will feature 20 two-person teams made up of Senior Tour and LPGA Tour professionals, playing a two-day 36-hole, Scramble and Best Ball format. The winning team will share the $10,000 winner’s prize, and the top-five teams will take home their respective share of the Senior Division’s minimum $30,000 purse, subject to increase as sponsorships are accepted.

A qualifying tournament will take place the week before the event to determine the remainder of the field. Time and location will be released at a later date. The entry fee is $600 per player in the Open Division, and $600 per team in the Senior Division. For a list of exempt players, or for information and to register, visit

On Monday, May 2, the Marilynn Smith Scholarship Pro-Am will see amateurs tee it up with special guests and professionals playing in the event, with proceeds going to the Marilynn Smith Scholarship Fund. The MSSF provides scholarships to female high school seniors who are planning to play golf at an accredited college or university in the United States. The goal of the Pro-Am is to fund fifteen $5,000 scholarships for young female golfers across the country. Teams can be reserved for a minimum of $1200 by registering at

Tournament week kicks off on Sunday, May 1, the community is invited to attend Sunday Tea at Papago Golf Club in Phoenix. Arizona Golf Hall of Famer Bill Huffman will interview players, including LPGA greats Kathy Whitworth, Susie Berning and Sandra Palmer. Guests will enjoy refreshments, an expo and an incredible memorabilia display. Sponsorship opportunities are available for the Sunday Tea, the Marilynn Smith Scholarship Pro-Am and Arizona Women’s Open, ranging from Presenting Sponsor to General Benefit Sponsorships. For more information please contact Chris Montgomery by email at [email protected], or by phone at (602) 872-7011.

For all information on the Marilynn Smith Arizona Women’s Open week’s activities, visit


About The Marilynn Smith Scholarship Fund
Marilynn Smith Scholarships are granted annually through The LPGA Foundation. A founding member of the LPGA in 1950, Marilynn established the fund in 1999 with the proceeds of a golf tournament she organized. The objective of the Marilynn Smith Scholarship is to provide scholarships female high school seniors who have played golf in high school or in her community, and are planning to play golf at an accredited college or university in the United States. To date, more than $1 million has been granted to over 200 young women.

About Arizona Golf Foundation
The Arizona Golf Foundation’s purpose is to fund, support and promote all aspects of the Game of Golf in Arizona, with particular attention to public accessibility, youth development, military charities, scholarships and turf research. Visit to learn more about how to support the Foundation’s efforts. With the departure of the LPGA from Arizona, we feel it important to heighten the visibility for elite women’s competitions.

About Longbow Golf Club
Longbow Business Park and Golf Club is a 330-acre, mixed-use development, being developed by Daedalus Real Estate Advisors, that incorporates office, light industrial, retail, hotel and residential uses surrounded by desert vegetation, a main street transportation design and features the award-winning Longbow Golf Club. Troon managed Longbow Golf Club was originally designed by Ken Kavanaugh in 1997. In 2003, Daedalus commissioned Kavanaugh to execute a complete redesign of the golf course creating a complete refresh layout. For more information on Longbow Golf Club, visit or call (480) 807-5400.

About Arizona Golf Association
The Arizona Golf Association has been serving amateur golfers in Arizona since 1923 when it held the first State Amateur Championship. Today, it is licensed by the United States Golf Association to provide handicapping and course rating services to member clubs, to provide tournament and rules expertise and to oversee the application of amateur status.


Highlighting Golf Trailblazers: The Desert Mashie Golf Club

A large group of individuals pose for a picture in front of a clubhouse.

Photo credits: Desert Mashie Facebook page

As Black History Month comes to a close, we reflect on a member of our most recent Hall of Fame class: The Desert Mashie Golf Club. Passion, pride and perseverance are just a few words that come to mind when you hear the Desert Mashie Golf Club name.

The club, which was formed in 1946 by a group of Phoenix area golf enthusiasts after a round at Encanto Golf Course, has grown into a community focused organization that boasts almost 200 members. However, at the time Encanto Golf Course was the only facility in the city where minorities were allowed to play golf. Thus, they created an organization “for all persons interested in golf regardless of race, or ethnicity,” with Encanto as its home course.

With that, the club defined its purpose, commitment and outlined a program for growth, with five objectives established:

1. To provide instructions and clinics for its members

2. To provide organized competition for its members

3. To promote a golf program for youth

4. To promote a program for women

5. To develop better public relations in the total golf community


Just a few years later in 1950, Desert Mashie Golf Club joined the United States Golf Association (USGA) and maintains its membership to this day. In 1953, Desert Mashie Golf Club became a charter member of the Western States Golf Association (WSGA). The founding members of the club were Dr. Thomas A. Crump, Aubrey C. Aldridge, Earl Le Near, Earnest S. Bartlett, Dr. Lowell C. Wormley, Curtis “Dock” Earl, William Robbie” Robinson, Ray Mercado and Densil Perdue.

As a result, the Desert Mashies trailblazed a path over the next 75 years in the golf community all the while championing diversity, inclusiveness and youth development. With youth development being a main focus for the organization they created the annual “Desert Mashie Spring Championship” in 1981, which became a sanctioned JGAA event in 1992. Today, they are recognized as one of the oldest public golf clubs in Arizona.

Visit the following resources to learn more about The Desert Mashie Golf Club and African American Golf History:


Arizona Golf Honors 2021 Annual Awards Recipients

Throughout the year men and women compete across their respective divisions in hopes of landing on top of the AGA Player Rankings. Players who find themselves at the top of the rankings get to make their mark in Arizona Golf history, earning the coveted AGA Player of the Year Award. Annually, these awards are given out alongside four other service awards which are granted to individuals or organizations who have exemplified selfless commitment and contribution to golf in Arizona. Those service awards come in the form of the Doc Graves Volunteer of the Year award, Champion of Golf Award, Dorothy Pease Achievement Award and the Dr. Ed Updegraff Award. On Thursday,  February 17, 2022 while gathered at Phoenix Country Club, the Arizona Golf Association honored these upstanding individuals. Continue reading to learn more about the awards, honorees and their accomplishments.

The honorees are as follows:

Women’s Senior Player of the Year
Kim Eaton

Women’s Player of the Year
Ashley Menne

Men’s Masters Player of the Year
Bryan Hoops

Mayfair Award – Lowest Scoring Average
Bryan Hoops – 67.92

Men’s Senior Player of the Year
Brad Wayment

Men’s Legends Player of the Year
Frank Ellenburg

Men’s Open Player of the Year
Sean O’Donnell

Doc Graves Volunteer of the Year Award
Steve Tomlinson

Champion of Golf Award
Judy McDermott

Dorothy Pease Achievement Award
Peggy Briggs

Dr. Ed Updegraff Award
Jack Blair, Sr.


Women’s Senior Player of the Year

Kim Eaton

Women’s Four-Ball Championship | Champion
Women’s Partners Tournament | Champion
Arizona Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship | T3
Women’s Players Cup Championship | 3
Women’s State Senior Championship | T3
*Qualified for 2021 U.S. Senior Women’s Open.
*Qualified for 2021 U.S. Women’s Senior Amateur, reaching the round of 32.

Women’s Player of the Year

Ashley Menne

Women’s State Stroke Play Championship | Champion
Women’s Players Cup | Champion
*Pac-12 All Conference Honorable Mention
*2021 WGCA All-American Honorable Mention as a freshman at ASU.
*Invited to Augusta National Women’s Amateur for April 2022.

Men’s Masters Player of the Year & Mayfair Award

Bryan Hoops

AZ Short Course | T8
AZ Stroke Play | 7
AGA Championship | T2
San Tan Amateur | T4
Divisional Stroke Play | T4
*Made final stage of PGA Tour Champions Qualifying

Hoops finished the tournament season with an adjusted scoring average of 67.92, earning him the Mayfair Award for 2021.
*To be eligible for the Mayfair Award, a player must compete in at least one USGA qualifying round in Arizona and at least two AGA individual major championships; or, compete in at least one USGA qualifying round in Arizona, at least one AGA individual major championship and a collegiate championship in Arizona. All scores count towards the adjusted average.

Men’s Senior Player of the Year

Brad Wayment

AGA Players Cup | Champion
Southern Amateur | Champion
Divisional Stroke Play | 3
Northern Amateur | 4
Divisional Match Play | Quarter Finalist
*Qualified for U.S. Senior Amateur & made it to the Round of 32

Men’s Legends Player of the Year

Frank Ellenburg

Divisional Stroke Play | T2
Southern Amateur | 2
Northern Amateur | T2
Divisional Match Play | Semi-finalist
AGA Players Cup | 9
AZ Senior Open | T8

Men’s Open Player of the Year

Sean O’Donnell

AZ Short Course | Champion
AZ Stroke Play | Champion
Players Cup | T3
AGA Championship | T8
San Tan Amateur | T6
Falcon Amateur | 6
AZ Four Ball | T3
Southern Amateur | T9
Northern Amateur | T10
Arizona Amateur | Round of 64
Phoenix City Championship | Champion
Phoenix City Team Championship | Champion
AZ / UT Shootout Team (C) |Champion
Bob Goldwater Cup (C) | Champion

Doc Graves Volunteer of the Year Award

Steve Tomlinson

Each year the staff of the AGA honors an individual (other than an Executive Committee member) who most exemplifies volunteerism through his or her commitment of time and effort to the association. In 2010 this award was named after Robert Graves, a long-time AGA volunteer who exemplifies the selfless contributions of time and dedication to serving golf in Arizona.

Steve was introduced to the game of golf in the 6th grade by his good friends, when one of their fathers allowed them to take an old bag of clubs to the park to play with.  They created their own course around the landscape, selecting just one club to use from the bag and aiming at a can they dug in the ground. He became more serious about the game a couple years later when his mother fell ill and her doctors recommended she try the game to assist her healing process. The quality time they spent together made him even more passionate about the sport and he continued playing through his professional work career, eventually moving to Arizona and retiring in 2008.

The Rules of Golf were something that always interested Steve and he knew them well from being a player. With a little more time on his hands, he picked up his first Decisions Book in 2010, after being encouraged to dedicate himself to the rules by his good friends, Bob Ford and Ralph Warrington. After working local events at his club in Rio Verde for a couple years, he was
introduced to the Arizona Golf Association at an ASU Collegiate event in 2013.  It was there he
shadowed his friend Bob during the competition, solidifying his desire to give back to the game.

Since then, Steve has devoted himself to serving both the AGA and JGAA as an expert Rules Official. He has become one of the most respected
individuals on the course, and can be easily
identified by his wide brim hat and the occasional cigar. He has volunteered thousands of hours over the years, and in 2021 spent 103 days on the golf course, an incredible number and something that is truly appreciated by all.

When asked what he enjoys most about volunteering, Steve replied,

“I enjoy the opportunity to help the player not make a mistake…our job is to ask the right questions and help them through a situation, so they do not get penalized.”


Champion of Golf Award

Judy McDermott

In recognition of selfless lifetime service to the Game of Golf in Arizona, the Champion of Golf Award is given annually to a person who, by his or her accomplishments, has created lasting benefit to the game.

Tucson’s golf landscape would look different without the Judy McDermott touch over the past three decades. McDermott moved to Tucson in 1992, taking a position as the Marketing
Director for the Conquistadores and the PGA TOUR’s Northern Telecom Open. She quickly climbed the ranks within the organization, becoming Tournament Director only two years
later, eventually being promoted to Executive Director in 2007 when the WGC-Accenture Match Play was scheduled at The Gallery. When the WGC event found a new home outside of Tucson in 2014, she immediately brought a PGA TOUR Champions event to Tucson National the following year, the Cologuard Classic.

In 2006, she and the Conquistadores partnered with the City of Tucson and PGA TOUR to
establish The First Tee of Tucson.  Juggling multiple organizations proved no problem for McDermott, and her leadership over the years has brought in $26 million to youth sports in Southern Arizona.  She stepped away from professional golf and the Tucson Conquistadores in 2019 and now focuses her efforts full time as the Executive Director of The First Tee of  Tucson.

Dorothy Pease Achievement Award

Peggy Briggs

The Dorothy Pease Achievement award was established in 2011 to honor the memory of Dorothy Pease, and to recognize the contributions to golf by the outstanding women who have followed in her footsteps. This year’s recipient is Peggy Briggs.

Peggy Briggs was born in Iowa and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin. She played many sports growing up in a family of six, and as a senior in high school was the all-around state gymnastics champion. Peggy was introduced to golf but did not actively pursue it until she and her
husband moved to Arizona in 1994.

In 1997, she joined the LPGA and began her career learning all aspects of the profession.
Peggy played two years on the Players West Mini Tour before achieving her Class A
Professional status. She soon learned that teaching was what she loved best, “I love bringing people into the game of golf and keeping them there.”

Growing the game of golf hasn’t just about giving lessons for Peggy. She always wants to make sure that her lessons include keeping people passionate about playing golf and learning how golf can bring people together. She took this a step further and became a golf writer,
co-authoring a book, “Smashing Balls, Golf Opening Doors for Women”.

Because Peggy found that she had some extra time and a lot of extra passion for the game, she began volunteering with several local organizations. She volunteered for Dr. Debbie Crews and her Gila River Program in 1999. Peggy was one of the first instructors to work with the Arizona Women’s Golf Association to teach their Golf 101 Program, introducing women to the game of golf and the Golf Performance Series which focused on the body/swing connection. She also volunteered with Kathy Knadler in the LPGA Girls Golf Program. This is where she fell in love with junior golf. Peggy has also participated as a Golf Professional for Mesa High School with the AWGA’s “High School Build A Team Program” to help more girls in high school become interested in golf.

For the last five years, she has volunteered with the JGAA coaching the Arizona Girls Junior Americas Cup Team and she has been the  Tournament Director of The Joanne Winter Silver Belle Championship since 2017. Peggy also takes an active role with the LPGA Central Section by serving as Secretary and member of several committees. In 2020, she was awarded the Marilyn Smith Service Award from the Central Section of the LPGA by her peers.

With more than 25 years devoted to the game of golf in Arizona, the AGA cannot think of a more deserving
recipient of this year’s Dorothy Pease Award.

Congratulations Peggy and thank you for all you do for golf in Arizona!

Dr. Ed Updegraff Award

Jack Blair, Sr.

Established in 1990, the Updegraff Award is the Arizona Golf Association’s highest honor, given in recognition of those who, by their actions, exemplify the Spirit of the Game. The award is named after Dr. Ed Updegraff of Tucson, honoring his lifetime contributions and dedication to amateur golf in Arizona.

Jack Blair, Sr. was born in Decatur, Illinois on June 8, 1928, and it’s been said he was a golfer since the day he could walk. He spent 32 years in the military, beginning in 1951 when he entered active service as a National Guard Officer, culminating in his promotion to Brigadier General in March of 1976.  His military career took him all over the globe, and during his tours he was a post, camp, or fort golf champion in every area he served.  He won numerous other Championships during this time, beating notable names such as Orville Moody and
finishing runner-up to Roberto Devicenzo in the 1959 Panama Open.

After he retired from the Army in 1980, he decided to stay in Sierra Vista and became Vice-President of Arizona Operations for land developer Tenneco.  It was then he became very active in the Arizona golf community, both as a player and supporter.

He served on the Arizona Golf Association’s Executive Committee and was a USGA Committee Member from 1990 to 1993.  Most notably, he completed the development of Pueblo del Sol Country Club, an 18-hole championship level facility in Sierra Vista known for having some of the best conditions in the state.  To honor his accomplishments for the golf community in Southern Arizona over the past few decades, the General Jack Blair Four-Ball was announced in 2021 and conducted at Pueblo del Sol as a Sanctioned AGA event.

A small sample of Jack’s playing accomplishments in Arizona include: Qualifying for three US Senior Amateur Championships; AGA Senior Player of the Year; AGA Senior Stroke Play Champion; Five-time Goldwater Cup Team Member; AGA Senior Four-Ball Champion; AGA Southern Amateur Senior Champion; 17-time Pueblo del Sol Club Champion.

His dedication to amateur golf will forever be felt in Arizona. Congratulations to the 2021 Updegraff Award Recipient, Jack Blair, Sr.

RELATED: Past AGA Award Recepients

View the full awards presentations here:

Read the Annual Booklet here: