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.
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: https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/3320756
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.
Up next for the AGA:
- Travel: Mayan Palace Spring Member Weekend, March 26 – 27, 2022 | Recap: 2021 Mayan Palace Member Weekend
- Social Golf: AZ Under30 – Dobson Ranch Golf Club, April 3, 2022
- Learn Golf: Take A Swing Clinic – Cave Creek – Session 1, April 16, 2022
What to Know about the First Major of the Year: the AGA Championship
The best amateurs in the state converge at Aguila Golf Course today as they tee it up for the first Major AGA Championship of 2022. Here is what you need to know about the event, field and venue. (Scroll to the bottom for fast facts).
One of Phoenix’s most popular municipal courses, Aguila Golf Course, plays host to the 33rd AGA Championship, formerly known as the AZ Publinks before changing names in 2018. The 72-hole event will be played in an individual stroke play format and conducted over four days, a new approach for every AGA major championship this year.
With tee times slated to go off at 7:00 am Thursday morning, players will get to take advantage of the cool morning temps, courtesy of the dwindling Arizona winter. There will be no shortage of competition as a 144-person field featuring old and new faces ready themselves to contend for the title. Players will be hoping to advance to Saturday’s third round as a cut to the low 60 players (plus ties) will take place after 36 holes.
Familiar faces in the field include three recent AGA award winners: Sean O’Donnell (2021 POTY recipient), Bryan Hoops (2021 Mayfair & Masters POTY recipient) and Brad Wayment (2021 Senior POTY recipient). O’Donnell, who’s coming off a win at last month’s San Tan Amateur, is returning to the same event and venue where he earned his first AGA Major victory in 2020. After shooting 70-70-66 for an overall 7-under 206. Surely, he is looking for the same winning outcome this week.
Other notable players in title contention are recent JGAA standouts Mahanth Chirravuri and Joseph Lloyd, as well as AGA Short Course Champion Shankar Natarajan, who is looking for his first AGA Major victory. Chirravuri, a recent JGAA grad, is currently committed to play Division 1 college golf at the University of Southern California while Lloyd is riding out the last semester of his freshman year with the University of Utah men’s golf team.
The venue, Aguila Golf Course, situated eight miles southwest of downtown Phoenix at the base of South Mountain, will provide scenic views and a challenging championship level course for the 72-hole stroke play event.
|Championship Course||Aguila Golf Course, Phoenix, AZ|
|Championship Yardage||7032 | Par 72|
|Format||72 holes of individual stroke play|
|Cut||Low 60 players (+ ties) after 36 holes|
|Tournament Record Score||2019 George Markham (65, 69, 65) | Overall 14-under 199|
|Defending Champion||Cameron Barzekoff | (69,70,69) | Overall: 2-under 208|
|Past Champions in the field||Past Champions in the field: Sean O’Donnell (2020), Sam Engel (2016), Jimmy Kozikowski (2013)|
|Pairings & Results:||https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/3320754|
Barzekoff Picks Up AGA Championship Victory
By Brianna Gianiorio
LAVEEN, ARIZ- Cameron Barzekoff shot a final-round 69 Sunday at Aguila Golf Course to overtake second-round leader Jacob Letman and win the 2021 AGA Championship by two strokes. Barzekoff combined his opening-round 69 and second-round 70 to finish 2-under 208 for the tournament, the only player under par for the weekend.
“This win means a lot – this is my first tournament since early November,” the first-time AGA Major winner said. “I took a long, long time off – just been working on my game. I have not won a tournament since maybe this past summer.”
Evan Chien turned in the low round of the day, an impressive 3-under 67 to finish tied for second with reigning AGA Player of the Year Bryan Hoops at even-par.
Prevailing through rain, wind and cold weather during the first two rounds of the championship, Letman was the only player to record both rounds under par. Entering the final round 3-under, Letman started the day with a narrow one-shot lead ahead of Adam Walicki and a two-shot lead ahead of Barzekoff.
Barzekoff, a 20-year-old Las Vegas resident, found himself one behind the lead after he birdied the first hole. When Letman and Walicki turned in bogeys on the par-4 5th hole, Barzekoff jumped into his first lead of the tournament. After a birdie on hole 8, Barzekoff made the turn with a 1-under 34, two shots ahead of Hoops and Zach Smith.
It was an up-and-down back nine for Barzekoff, who still managed to hold the lead through the final stretch. He recorded two bogeys and a birdie on his first five holes to drop his lead to one. It was a clutch eagle on hole 15 that made for his two-shot win..
“Today it was a little bit more wayward off the tee, I made some clutch holes coming in, like the eagle and 15,” Barzekoff said. “I think I went driver driver off the deck and then made a 30-foot for eagle. That was what kept me kind of in the tournament.”
He finished out his final three holes bogey, birdie, bogey to claim the win.With tough hole locations and weather, he was the only player to turn in three rounds of par or better.
“I didn’t have much confidence coming into the greens this week after the first two rounds,”he said. “Trusting your line is probably the biggest thing – a couple of my longer putts I trusted and I happened to make a few when they counted.”
This marks Barzekoff’s first tournament and win of his 2021 amateur season. The champion gave up D1 college golf at Boise State University to return back home to Las Vegas after his father was diagnosed with cancer but hopes to return to college golf soon.
“I played two years there (at BSU). I decided to come home for my father’s health in Vegas- he has been battling cancer for the last two and a half years, so I wanted to come closer to him and hopefully I’ll be on UNLV’s roster next semester.”
2021 marks the 32nd year of the AGA Championship since its inception in 1989. Formerly known as the AZ Publinks, the Championship is one of seven championships conducted by the Arizona Golf Association. Held over a three-day period, the 54-hole event with a cut after 36 holes, is the first AGA Championship of the year. The next Championship is the Arizona Stroke Play Championship hosted by Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Course set for April 22-25, 2021.