News

Arizona Golf Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2022


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 7, 2022

Contact:

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

 

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Arizona Golf Hall of Fame Committee is proud to announce the four inductees to the 2022 Class. Three modern candidates were selected by the Voting Delegates: Geri Cavanagh, Del Cochran and Missy Farr-Kaye; and one Legacy candidate was chosen by the Selectors Committee: Alice Cooper. The dinner and induction ceremony will be held Tuesday, October 25, 2022.

Invitations and RSVP’s to the ceremony will be available at a later date.

 

Geri Cavanagh, Amateur and Philanthropist

 

An accomplished golfer, businesswoman, philanthropist and volunteer, Geri Cavanagh’s contributions to the game of golf go well beyond her own achievements on the course. Her dedication to the game helped her capture numerous accolades, but perhaps more importantly, countless golfers have benefitted from her generosity over the last 50 years.

As a player, Cavanagh notched the first of her 12 Paradise Valley Country Club Championships in 1974. In all, she won 18 PVCC tournaments, eventually serving as the club’s President. She also served as President of White Mountain Country Club, and held board positions for the Arizona Women’s Golf Association (AWGA) and Phoenix Country Club. Cavanagh won five Arizona State Amateur Championships, three Phoenix City Championships, two Navapache Opens and one AWGA Amateur Stroke Play title – and once qualified as an alternate for the U.S. Women’s Open. At age 32, Cavanagh joined the golf team at Arizona State University and played in the 1983 NCAA Championships at age 36.

Although Cavanagh no longer plays golf competitively, her passion for the game has never wavered. In recent years she has turned her attention and energy into enabling others to thrive. She co-founded the PING Banner Health LPGA Tournament, and alongside her late husband, received the Turquoise Award for their contributions to the tournament and cancer prevention. Over the past 23 years, Cavanagh has donated nearly $1.2 million to junior golf; assisted with and contributed to the development of the ASU Karsten Golf Course; and contributed more than $300,000 to the Silver Belle Championship, LPGA Foundation, Marilynn Smith golf tournaments, PING Junior Golf University and the AWGA.

In 2011, she was awarded the Dorothy Pease Achievement Award – the AWGA’s highest honor. With her induction, Cavanagh joins her late husband, Harry, in the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame.

 

Del Cochran, Industry Leader

 

In 1963, Del Cochran made his first trip to Arizona, saw his first palm tree, smelled the orange blossoms, and decided this is where he was going to live. Raised in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Cochran “headed West” to Arizona eight years later, working as an assistant professional at Apache Wells and Dobson Ranch before a two-year stint at El Paso Country Club, in Texas, working under renowned PGA Professional Bill Eschenbrenner. However, his love for Arizona was powerful, and he returned for good to become the first head professional at Pinnacle Peak Country Club from 1977 to 1981. During that time, he served on the Board of Directors of the SWSPGA with his final year as President of the section.

In 1992, Cochran joined his friend Gregg Tryhus to form the team that developed and operated Grayhawk Golf Club. They believed if something was good for golf, for Scottsdale, and for Arizona, they wanted to be at the forefront. Under their leadership, Grayhawk became one of the must plays in Arizona golf and remains so today.

A member of the Thunderbirds for 33 years, Cochran also spent 20+ years serving on the board of directors for Experience Scottsdale. In 2010, the American Junior Golf Association awarded Cochran the Digger Smith award, “honoring longtime service and dedication to junior golf.” Additionally, Grayhawk hosted the PGA Junior League Championship for six years, and is hosting the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships from 2021-2023.

 

Missy Farr-Kaye, Arizona State University Women’s Golf

 

Lifelong Arizonan Missy Farr-Kaye has continuously left her mark on golf in her home state over the last four decades. After a standout career at Xavier Preparatory Academy and playing junior golf at Papago Golf Course, Farr-Kaye played at Arizona State University. Shortly after her playing career, she joined ASU’s coaching staff as an assistant, and eventually became the program’s head coach in 2015. In each of her roles at ASU, Farr-Kaye brought the program to new heights.

In 2017, Farr-Kaye led the Sun Devils to the program’s nation-leading eighth NCAA championship. This was her first national championship as a head coach, which completed the rare feat of becoming a three-time NCAA national champion: winning the first as a player in 1990 and the second as an assistant coach in 2009. Over her tenure on the coaching staff at ASU, Farr-Kaye has led her teams to 16 NCAA Championship appearances, two Pac-10/Pac12 titles and a myriad of team and tournament titles.

Academically, her golfers have won the Edith Cummings Mason Award, given to the top female golfer who is both a playing All-American and Academic All-American. She has had four golfers named Pac-12 Scholar Athlete of the Year, and her 2015 team had the highest grade-point average (3.65) within Sun Devil Athletics. Although Farr-Kaye solidified her legendary status by helping her student-athletes flourish during and after college, her own accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. Among them are being named the ASU Alumni Achievement award, as well as four different Coach of the Year awards following the 2017 national championship season.

Most admirably, Farr-Kaye is a three-time cancer survivor and continued to coach through each bout, inspiring everyone around her with her perseverance and strength. For that, she was awarded the Kim Moore Spirit Award by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association in 2009, the first and only coach to receive the honor typically reserved for student-athletes.

 

LEGACY DIVISION

Alice Cooper, Philanthropist

 

Already a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Alice Cooper made the Valley his home as a teenager and can now add Arizona Golf Hall of Famer to his resume. In the midst of a flourishing career on the stage, he has found solace on the golf course and has since used the game to benefit others through his philanthropic efforts.

Early on in his music career, Cooper lived a traditional rock-and-roll lifestyle and in 1982, it led him to a doctor’s visit and a wake-up call for him to change his lifestyle. He stopped drinking, but it meant that he needed to find something else on which to focus. That turned out to be golf. Cooper picked up the game quickly and soon found himself playing 36 holes in a day as often as possible. Since then, he has played golf all around the world, but calls Phoenix Country Club his home club. He’s averaged 250 rounds per year, and with a 4-handicap, he has established himself as one of the best golfers on the celebrity circuit.

Cooper credits golf with saving his life, but he also uses the game as a vehicle to benefit the next generation of artists. He regularly hosts, participates in and performs at golf events that benefit his non-profit, Solid Rock, which he founded in 1995. Solid Rock’s mission is to inspire and challenge teens to embrace excellence and reach their full potential through the arts. Cooper regularly hosts and participates in golf tournaments that benefit his organization.

Through Solid Rock, Cooper opened Solid Rock Teen Centers in Phoenix and Mesa, where teens can discover and hone their talents. Equipped with state-of-the-art studios and equipment, the centers provide teens with free training in music, dance, art, recording, lighting, staging and video production.

 

About the Hall of Fame Committee
The Hall of Fame Committee consists of representatives from six of the allied golf associations serving golf in Arizona: Arizona Golf Association, Cactus & Pine Golf Course Superintendents, Club Managers Association, Junior Golf Association of Arizona and the Southwest Section PGA.

News

2022 Divisional Match Play Champs Crowned in Scottsdale

by Brandon Genson
AGA Communications Manager

 

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.- After five days of competition, Matthew McDougall (Masters Division), Alex Stamey (Senior Division) and Tim Blau (Legends Division) came out victorious at the 2022 Divisional Match Play, hosted by Talking Stick Golf Club.

FINAL RESULTS

McDougall’s tournament run started off strong, as he entered match play as the No. 2 seed thanks to shooting two under after 36 holes of stroke play competition. McDougall’s high seed also earned him a first round bye before edging out three players, en route to the championship match.

“It was a good week overall. I played great in the qualifying to get a good seed and then in match play, kept in play, hit a lot of greens and just tried not to make a whole lot of mistakes and try to find the birdies when I could,” McDougall said.

In the final match, McDougall found himself pitted against the reigning AGA Masters Division Player of the Year, Bryan Hoops. Hoops had picked up steam since shooting two over in stroke play and upset higher seeds to advance to the final match. Hoops and McDougall traded birdies through the first seven holes, before McDougall pulled away by two strokes and held onto that lead for his 3 & 2 victory.

McDougall’s Divisional Match Play win comes just weeks after a quarterfinals run at the 98th Arizona Amateur, where he came up just short against the AGA’s reigning Player of the Year, Sean O’Donnell. Friday’s win also marked McDougall’s first AGA tournament win.

“It’s been great,” McDougall said. “I’ve put a lot of time into my golf this summer and it’s nice to come out and play some of these tournaments and have a great week and it was a lot of fun- really enjoyed playing the match play portion as well.”

In the Senior Division, Stamey found himself on the wrong end of a strong start as his opponent, Ray Plewa, had a three hole lead through eight. When it looked like the match might come to an early finish, Stamey sank a birdie on nine and went two under on the back nine. The match was decided on the 18th hole, where Stamey secured his second Divisional Match Play title; he also won in 2020 at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club.

“It’s fantastic,” Stamey said when asked what the wins mean to him. “The first one was a surprise, quite honestly, and the second one was a surprise but any time you can win something like this in our AGA tournaments, it’s fantastic. It’s a joy to win it.”

After some tight victories throughout match play, including one over top-seeded Brad Starr, Tim Blau won his championship match in 5 & 4 fashion. Blau’s day was characterized by pars, but it was enough to defeat a struggling Rich Morrison. Blau’s win marks his second ever in Divisional Match Play (2021, 2022) and goes along with his second Divisional Stroke Play title (2019, 2022) he earned back in June at TPC Scottsdale, marking the first time he’s won both in the same year.

RELATED: Ex-MLB pitcher Kyle Lohse hits one-in-a-million shot into golf cart’s cooler during Divisional Match Play qualifying round.

News

Starkutė Wins 2022 Women’s State Amateur Stroke Play

By Brandon Genson
AGA Communications Manager

 

ANTHEM- After three rounds at Anthem Golf and Country Club, Gilė Bitė Starkutė came out on top to win the 2022 Women’s State Amateur Stroke Play Championship, finishing at -5 overall. Starkutė, a University of Arizona Wildcat, finished off the tournament with round three’s lowest score at -2 (69) en route to the win.

With a first-round 67 and third-round 69, the Lithuanian Starkutė posted two of the tournament’s three lowest scores. Those rounds were good enough to overcome the only hiccup of her performance- a second round 75, in which some of the challenges posed by the course got the better of her.

“I want to say the course was challenging enough where if you had a good day, you could shoot really low under par like my first day was -5,” Starkutė said. “But then, it is challenging enough that if you are missing it a little bit off the fairway, you will get in trouble and that’s what happened on day number two.”

Starkutė’s five-shot victory marked her first tournament win in the United States. In the process, she defeated the two-time defending champion, Ashley Menne, who won in 2020 and 2021. Menne finished tied with Nicole Lorup for second at even par overall.

“I hope this is not my last time in the Arizona Stroke Play,” Starkutė said. “It’s great and I hope to come back next year and compete against all these good names.”

In addition to crowning Starkutė as the tournament’s overall champion, Shannon Mason shot even par (74-72-70) throughout to earn the Net Championship. Mason participated in the field division and shot two under par in the final round for a net score of 216.

Full results from the 2022 Women’s State Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Anthem Golf and Country Club can be found by clicking here.

News

Neuheisel Wins 98th Arizona Amateur Championship

 

For Immediate Release
August 13, 2022

 

Contact:

David Bataller
[email protected]
(602) 944-3035

 

SCOTTSDALE – Joe Neuheisel capped an outstanding week of golf with a 2 & 1 win over Camden Braidech to win the 98th Arizona Amateur Championship at Desert Mountain Club’s Outlaw Course Saturday. Neuheisel made four straight birdies from the eighth hole through the 11th, and then won the 12th to take a 5-up lead, before claiming the championship on the 17th hole.

It’s a dream week, a lot of fun, a lot of golf, but everyone who knows me knows you can’t get me off the golf course, so it was as good as it gets,” said Neuheisel, 25, who was a first alternate at the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines as an amateur.

“It couldn’t have been better – this was one of the best weeks I’ve had on and off the course in a while,” said Braidech, 17, of Scottsdale. “I couldn’t have pictured a better way for this to go this week.”

In a tight match that saw hole-halving putts lip out, and approaches to a foot tied with long putts, Neuheisel jumped out to a 1-up lead with a birdie on the second hole, and extend the lead to 2-up after a par on the fifth hole. Showing off a significant length advantage off the tee, Neuheisel dropped a 157-yard approach on the par-4 eighth hole to six feet past the pin. Braidech’s second from 200 yards out landed softly in the middle of the green, but his 30-foot putt missed by a narrow margin, and Neuheisel buried his birdie putt to take a commanding 3-up lead.

“I always like to think I’m capable of good golf,” said Scottsdale’s Neuheisel, who played his college golf at Boise State and UCLA. “They say ‘horses for courses’ – I think my game suits this course pretty well. I hit it pretty straight off the tee and I’m an alright putter. So I think it was kind of the perfect storm.”

Neuheisel would extend the lead even further to 5-up through 12 after Braidech failed to get up and down from a greenside swale, but the week’s social media sensation would battle back to win three straight holes starting on the 14th. But trailing 2-up with two holes to play, Neuheisel’s conceded par on 17 ended any further comeback attempt by Braidech, and earned Neuheisel the coveted Kachina trophy as Arizona Amateur Champion.

“I built the lead, thank God, because I was leaking oil at the end,” said Neuheisel, who finished in second place (-10 over two rounds) during the Stroke Play Qualifying portion of the 98th Arizona Amateur Championship. “Camden is a great player and he made it tough on me at the end, but I’m fortunate to get it done.”

“It was awesome – I’m still trying to get recruited, working on figuring out where I want to go to school, and I think this will help that process a lot,” said Braidech, who is home-schooled as a senior and plans to play Division I collegiate golf. “It will help really the rest of my career, right? Finishing well at any tournament is going to help your confidence so this is a big boost.”

After semifinal play was suspended Friday due to inclement weather in North Scottsdale, both finalists recorded big victories when play resumed Saturday morning. Neuheisel beat reigning AGA Player of the Year Sean O’Donnell 5 & 4, shooting -7 through 14 holes in the win. Braidech, meanwhile, took down Stroke Play Qualifying Medalist Rylan Johnson 4 & 2.

Full Bracket and scores from the week of the 98th Annual Arizona Amateur Championship at the Desert Mountain Club’s Outlaw Course can be found by clicking here. Full recaps can be found on the Arizona Golf Association website. And a wide selection of content from each day of the tournament can be found on the AGA’s social media channels: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

News

Arizona Amateur Semifinal Play Suspended Due to Rain

 

For Immediate Release
August 12, 2022

 

Contact:

David Bataller
[email protected]
(602) 944-3035

 

SCOTTSDALE – Both semifinal matches were suspended due to inclement weather Friday afternoon at the 98th Arizona Amateur Championship, played at Desert Mountain Club’s Outlaw Course. Play will resume at 9:15 a.m. Saturday morning, with match winners advancing to the Championship match set for later Saturday.

“After monitoring weather reports and collaborating with Desert Mountain staff, we made the determination to suspend play for the day,” said Logan Rasmussen, Director of Rules and Competitions for the Arizona Golf Association. “We are excited to resume play in the morning and wrap up the championship tomorrow.”

Play was halted at 1:27 p.m., with Joe Neuheisel holding a 4-up lead through eight holes over Sean O’Donnell, with both players safely in the 9th fairway off the tee. Camden Braidech leads Rylan Johnson 3-up through seven holes, with both players having played their approaches to the 8th green.

Full Match Play bracket can be found by clicking here.