Arizona PGA golf professionals did their part to support the Southwest Section Southern Chapter PGA’s Ricki Rarick Junior golf program in Tucson on September 5 at the Stone Canyon Club in Oro Valley.
The tournament was comprised of 17 teams held at the exclusive private club, with the funds raised going to support the program – which is celebrating its 60th year of conducting junior golf tournaments in Southern Arizona. The Stone Canyon Club has been the host and Title Sponsor for the past eleven years as the Casino del Sol Resort and Sewailo Golf Club was the Presenting sponsor of the tournament for the fifth straight year.
Tucson amateurs Patrick Fahey and Ed Greer were there, happy to support the program and get a chance to play Stone Canyon.
“The Ricki Rarick program is an awesome organization, is well organized and pretty well funded – and has quite a reach in Tucson,” Fahey said.
Greer was familiar with the program through friends, many of whom have had kids participate in their tournament program and clinics.
“Several guys I work with have had their kids in the program, so we come out and support it any way we can,” he said.
The amateurs were looking forward to the day on the course, which was built into the rocky, mountainous terrain on the northwest side of Oro Valley offering specular views that require an accurate tee shot to post the winning score.
“If you miss the fairway, you’re toast,” said amateur Jeff Wilhelms, who was playing against fellow competitor George Arias. Shots into the rocks prompt some begging from players, he said. “Occasionally you’ll hear a guy yell, ‘Spit it out!’”
“I’m playing it for my third time, but it feels like my first,” Arias said. “I remember it’s pretty tight, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Sewailo Head Professional Spencer Cody brought a couple of teams to play and was happy to support junior golf in Southern Arizona.
“Casino del Sol Resort and the Sewailo Golf Club are proud partners of this event – and we’re happy to come out, support a good cause and have some fun,” he said.
The resort donated rounds of golf and overnight stays for the raffle, which helped to bring in more dollars for the program.
PGA Southwest Section Southern Chapter Director of Operations Rick Price estimated the tourney and raffle raised more than $7,000 for the program.
“This is one of our main fundraisers to help keep the cost down for the parents and kids who participate in our summer program,” he said.
“The Stone Canyon Club is very exclusive, so most people don’t get a chance to play it unless they play in this event. It was a perfect day and the golf course was in perfect shape – so it was a great day.”
The team of PGA Professional Aaron Quiroga from La Paloma Country Club and amateurs partners George Arias, Daniel Heisey, and Jerry Foley shot 13-under-par, 59, to win the shamble format tourney by two shots. Scott Schultz the Head Professional from Oro Valley Country Club’s team shot 61 to finish second place with the team of Jeff Wilhems, Jon O’Shea and Ted Neville. The third place team winning in a scorecard play-off was Professional Don Littrell from Skyline Country Club and amateurs Davis Rich, Jeff Goldberg, and Charlie Choate shooting 62.
Jeff Brandt Head Professional from Arizona National Golf Club and Don Littrell from Skyline Country Club were the overall low professionals shooting 5-under par 67’s to taking home the first place honors.
Do to the overwhelming support of the local golf community Price said, “Thanks to all the volunteers, supporters and sponsors of junior golf we will be able to continue this great junior program for another 60 years and beyond.”
Golfers come out to support Ricki Rarick Junior Golf
By Kevin Duke
Associate Editor – Golf Arizona