JUNE 3, 2015

100th Annual Southwestern Amateur scheduled June 8-13 at Desert Mountain

Longest-running men’s tournament of its kind in SW U.S.

Bookmark and Share

SCOTTSDALE – The 100th annual Southwestern Amateur, which helped launch the careers of many of today’s PGA champions, will be held June 8-13 on the Jack Nicklaus Signature Cochise and Geronimo courses at the Desert Mountain Club in Scottsdale.

Desert Mountain will host the event through 2019.

The Southwestern Amateur is sponsored by the Southwestern Golf Association, a non-profit organization that supports the tournament and promotes amateur golf in the Southwest. It is the longest-running men’s tournament of its kind in the southwestern United States.

Past tournament winners who went on to have highly successful careers in the PGA include Nick Watney, Mark O’Meara, Corey Pavin, Craig Stadler, Tom Pernice Jr., Jay Haas, Ryan Palmer and Ted Purdy.

Kyle Jones of Taylor, Ariz., and a senior at Baylor, won the 2014 event at Desert Mountain. Jones, who opened with a 68/67 in the first and second rounds, went 66/67 on the weekend to win by two.

“Through the years, we have seen some stellar young players participate in this tournament,” said John Ranslem, president of the SWGA. “We’re proud that the organization has been able to support amateur golf for 100 years and it’s gratifying to know that the tournament has helped them on their way.”

The tournament got its start when the SWGA met for the first time in Douglas, Ariz. According to the March 1915 issue of The American Golfer magazine, the organization’s original officers were President Nathan Kendall, a Realtor, farmer, miner and underwriter, who was a member of the Tucson Country Club; Vice President Stuart W. French, general manager of the Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Company in Bisbee and the first president of the Douglas Country Club; and Secretary-Treasurer Roger Pelton, who was appointed the State Civil Works Engineer for Arizona and acted as chief mining engineer for Phelps Dodge Corporation, Copper Queen Branch in Bisbee, from 1907-1919.

The first tournament in 1915 was won by E.C. Robinson of Douglas. For the next 49 years, the Southwestern Amateur was a match play event until 1965. From 1966 to the present it has been a 72-hole stroke play event.

Through the years the tournament was hosted by many clubs throughout Arizona, New Mexico, West Texas (El Paso Country Club hosted the event for 13 years), and Nevada.

While many of today’s PGA Tour and Champions Tour players have been tournament winners in the recent past, early stars of the event included Dr. James Vance of El Paso, who won six times between 1916 and 1929; Vern “Spec” Stewart of Albuquerque, who also was a six-time winner from 1931-47; and Dr. Ed Updegraff, a member of the Tucson National Golf Club, who won in 1954-55, 1961 and 1969 and still plays golf today in his 90s.

Updegraff had a long amateur career, winning many other tournaments on a local, state and national scale, receiving the Bob Jones Award from the United States Golf Association in 1999 and was inducted into the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame in 1969.

One of the most memorable rounds was in 1957 during the 36-hole final when El Paso resident Frank Redman, who was eight down after the morning round against Phoenician Gray Madison. He evened the match after 36 holes and went on to win on the 38th by hitting a wedge shot through the fork of a tree that hit the flag on top of the pole that went straight down in the cup for an eagle two to beat Madison.

Bob Goldwater, the brother of five-time U.S. Senator from Arizona Barry Goldwater, known as the “Father of the Phoenix Open,” was also a tournament winner when he was 17 in 1927, 32 in 1942 and at 41 in 1951.

Other facts about the Southwestern Amateur:

Jay Haas and Bob Byman, both from Wake Forest, battled it out neck-and-neck in the 1976 tournament. Haas was the NCAA champion at the time and a favorite to win the event. Haas did win besting Byman by two shots.

In 1983, Jim Carter won the event in a play-off with Texas’ Brandel Chamblee, currently a studio analyst for Golf Central and an analyst for Live From programming, both on the Golf Channel. Carter went on to win the NCAA title, the first from Arizona State University, the same year. He also won the 1984 Southwestern Amateur.

To date, Scott Frisch, now director of golf at Phoenix Country Club, is the only player to win the tournament three years in a row from 1987-89.

Ted Purdy won the 78th annual event in 1993 which was what he needed as he and his University of Arizona teammates, who were ranked #1 in the United States, missed the cut at the NCAA tournament by one stroke just prior to the Southwestern Amateur.

This year’s Southwestern Amateur will have a field of 156 players which will be cut after 36 holes to the low 60s and ties. The field consists of a combination of invitation and open entry applications. Invited players include the top scratch players with world amateur ranking, collegiate golfers as ranked by Golfweek , the top 25 finishers and ties at the 2014 Southwestern Amateur, and individuals selected by the tournament’s executive committee.

To date, players are coming from 29 states, 79 colleges, universities and community colleges and six high schools. Countries represented include Australia, Canada, Chile, Finland, Guatemala, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan and Trinidad.

Practice rounds start June 8-9. The first and second rounds are June 10-11 with starting times between 7:30 a.m. and 9:20 a.m. Third and fourth rounds are June 12-13 with starting times from 7:30 a.m. to approximately 9 a.m.

The 7,026-yard Cochise course, which hosts the Charles Schwab Cup Championship on the PGA Champions Tour, is considered by Nicklaus to be one of the most picturesque in the world and one that demands thoughtfulness and strategy in its approach. Part of its distinctive design is a double-island green shared by the par three seventh hole, the course’s signature hole, and the par five 15th hole.

Geronimo, which plays at 7,099 yards, provides players with a golf experience full of drama: Significant elevation changes, panoramic views, stunning vistas and challenging play across deep ravines and scenic plateaus.

The tournament is free to spectators. “The public is welcome to watch these up-and-coming golfers who may one day be competing on the PGA Tour,” said Ranslem.

Desert Mountain is located at 37700 N. Desert Mountain Parkway (at Cave Creek Road), Scottsdale.

For more information about the tournament visit www.swga.net or follow the tournament on Twitter @SouthwesternAm.