The PGA Southwest Section Southern Chapter held its annual Women’s, Assistant’s and Senior Championships July 30 and 31 at Oro Valley Golf and Country Club in Tucson, with some great golf played in all three divisions.
After the first 18 holes, there was a possibility that one woman could win all three championships.
Kristie Fowler, an assistant at The Gallery Golf Club, entered each division and was tied or had the lead in all three with an opening round of 1-over-par, 73.
But in the end it would be Ventana Canyon teaching professional Susie Meyers, Forty Niner Country Club assistant Derek Deminsky and the PGA’s and Golf Arizona’s own Rick Price who would take home the titles.
Meyers rebounded from an opening round 78 to shoot a 1-under-par, 71, on day two, drawing from her playing experience at the University of Arizona and on the LPGA Tour in the ’80s to win the women’s title by two shots over Fowler.
“The first day I wasn’t as sharp,” she said. “I was a little more focused on day two and was determined to play the whole round with the same mindset.”
“It helps to have a playing background … and I kind of tapped into my past experience as a player.”
She cited the key stretch in the tournament as the last three holes of the second round, when Fowler struggled in and opened the door.
“I was aware of where I stood because I was playing with Kristie,” Meyers said. “It really turned around the last three holes, where she didn’t play as well as she had for most of the two days. I just focused on my process before each shot and it worked out.”
It was Meyer’s fourth consecutive year to win the women’s title in the only tournament she has competed in during that time. She will break that trend in August, when she travels to play in her first national tournament in 25 years, the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional National Championship in Braselton, Georgia.
Deminsky romped to a seven-shot win in the assistant’s championship, following up his opening round 73 with a 2-under-par, 70, for a two-day total of 143.
Tied with Fowler after day one, Deminsky knew he needed to go low to win the title.
“I didn’t know where she was, so I figured I had to a shoot a couple under par to beat her,” he said. “But I never really focused on the score; I was just trying to make birdies.”
He did just that, making three birdies and adding an eagle on the par-5 11th hole, where he hit a hybrid from 240 yards out to three feet.
Deminsky has seen an improvement in his play this year, winning a Pro Series event at Sewailo Golf Club on July 17, shooting 2-under-par, and making the cut and finishing 33rd at the Sedona Open earlier in the month.
“I used to be a good player,” he said, “but I’ve been struggling the last few years. I’m kind of getting it back to where I was when I was 2nd at the Chapter Championship in 2010.”
He will continue to test his skills in the Southern Chapter PGA Championship at Sewailo on Aug. 16, and 17, and in the Arizona Open at Troon Country Club in Scottsdale, Aug. 21-23.
Price, between his duties with the PGA and as publisher and editor of Golf Arizona Magazine, does not play in many tournaments these days, but made the most of his opportunity with a playoff win in the Senior Championship over The Gallery’s Paul Nolen.
After opening rounds of 3-over-par, 75, the two University of Arizona alums both came in with the low rounds of the tournament on day two, shooting 3-under-par, 69, to make it into the playoff. Price birdied the first playoff hole to take the title.
“I actually hit the ball better the first day than the second day, especially on the back nine. It was just one of those rounds I didn’t make any putts to speak of and wasn’t able to capitalize on the good shots,” he said.
The putter came to life on day two.
“The first day my pace was a little off on the greens, I finally rolled in some putts on the second day and hit it well enough to keep it in play,” Price said.
“It’s not always about how pretty looks, it’s all about getting it in the hole.”
It was Price’s second win in the senior division. He won it in 2012 with a two-day total of 4-under-par, 140.
“I think people are surprise every time I play well enough to win an event, just because I don’t generally play that much, but every once in a while when I get in the proper mind set, the old competitive spirit rises up out of me.”
Fowler’s final round 78, still managed to finish second behind Meyers in the Women’s division, third in the Assistant’s and fifth in the Senior Championship.