All three of the local Chapter Championships were contested over 36-holes, hosted by the Oro Valley Country Club. The traditional tree lined par-72 layout was in magnificent shape with its outstanding bent-grass greens nestled in at the base of Pusch Ridge of the Catalina Mountains.
After an opening round 1-under par 71 the defending champion Robert Taylor found himself on top of the leader-board for the seniors.
The women had a pair of 76’s leading their event, shot by Pam Drake, Head Professional at Randolph Golf Complex and Susan Meyers Teaching Professional from Ventana Canyon.
La Paloma Country Club Assistant Kevin Crawley shot an even par-72 taking a one shot lead to the final round.
The Senior’s winner came from behind after struggling in the opening round, shooting a 76 due to an ailing back. However, Wade Dunagan the Executive Director of the Accenture Match Play loosened up during the final round and fired a bogey free round of 3-under par 69 to win the Senior Championship. Dunagan before turning 50 this year to qualify for the senior division, had collected four Southern Chapter PGA Championship titles.
After shooting a 3-under par 33 at the turn in the final round of the Women’s Championship, Pam Drake took a six stroke lead into the back nine. She proceeded to birdie the 11th-hole to go 4-under par and take a commanding eight shot lead. Drake started to put it on cruise control, making a couple of bogeys coming into the 18th hole. Her tee ball missed the fairway by inches settling down in the rough for a difficult approach to the green. Drake’s closest competitor Susan Meyers knocked her second shot to 3-feet away and a sure birdie. Drakes second shot caught a tree limb and fell back into the rough. Her third appeared to be good shot but caught the greenside bunker leaving her hole high. Drake said, “It was going so well all day. I did not even hit a bad shot on 18th, and now I am standing in the bunker getting ready to hit my fourth shot and trying to figure out where I stand with Susan for the tournament, knowing she has a sure birdie. All of a sudden, the bunker shot looked more difficult with the water behind the green. I hit it heavy coming out of the bunker leaving me a long putt. I ended up 3-putting and was shaking my head wondering what just happened. Susan made her birdie and after adding it all up, I realized I still won by two shots. What a relief!”
The defending Assistant’s Champion Josh Brown of La Paloma Country Club had a rough opening round of 76, but bounced back with tournament low round of 5-under 67. It looked as though he was going to win based on the front nine scores of the other groups, but uncertain how everyone else on the course were playing on the back nine. The last group of the day was coming down the 18th hole and Preston Otte from Heritage Highlands was playing well. When asked how he stood for the day, Otte said, “I think I am 3-under for the day.” It then appeared as though Otte would win with a par on the 18th hole. After Brown heard the news he figured he lost. Well, after making par, Otte realized he was only 2-under par, and we now had a playoff. After the up and down emotions that Brown experienced, he had one more to experience when Otte rolled in a 8 foot birdie on the first playoff hole to defeat Brown and win the Southern Chapter PGA Assistant Championship.