The weather was picture perfect on the afternoon of Sunday, June 24th as the top amateur golfers in Saginaw County faced off in the final round of the 58th Annual Saginaw District Golf Association's annual three day 72-hole tournament, held this year at The Sawmill - easily one of the more difficult courses in the area, which was in letter-perfect shape and made for several tightly faced contests.
The winner of the Fred Martin, Jr. trophy for top golfer in Saginaw County in the Senior Division was earned by a well-deserving Terry Franz, who played consistent back-to-back rounds on Friday & Saturday to deftly secure his third SDGA honor, having taken open division titles back in 1992 and 1994 respectively.
As for the open division championship, it was one of those rare moments of competitiveness that kept the top honors 'all in the family', as Matt Pumford walked away with the coveted green jacket after shooting a three over par 219, edging out Bruce Eccleton by only one shot as things wound down on the 17th and 18th holes.
Last year it was Matt's brother Alan Pumford who secured the championship in 2011, while Matt has now won the title three times, finding the sweet spot to the championship back in 1997 and 1999. And if this latest victory isn't enough to cement the sound foundation of this golfing family, Alan's son Nick Pumford came on top of the District Tournament back in 2009.
Matt Pumford is now tied for fourth place in terms of the total number of open division District victories, with local golf legend Ron Stelter leading with ten. Stelter is the dean of participants, having played in every District Tournament since its inception - truly a remarkable accomplishment. In the years from 1956 to 1979, Ron Stelter and Stan Murphy owned the District, accounting for wins in 15 of the 24 Tournaments.
Ron's 10 victories likely will stand as a record for many years to come. Stan's 5 victories put him second on the list of multiple champions, followed by Danny Hughes in third place with 4 victories and Craig Barber with 3 wins, whom Pumford now shares the fourth place all-time champion spot with. Mike Anderson, Tom Doozan, Terry Franz, Mike Humphrey, Matt Pumford, Nick Pumford and Walt Van Sickle are two time winners.
Beginning in 1955, the Saginaw District Golf Association's annual District Invitational Tournament has been held each year for over half a century. Thanks in large part to the vision of former Saginaw News Sports Editor Joe Hart, and the tireless effort and commitment of long-time SDGA Board of Directors Chairman Fred Martin Jr.; the Tournament became the premier amateur golf event in Saginaw County. It is intended to identify annually the best amateur golfer in the county.
Since the initial tournament, thirty-two (32) different players have earned the distinction of District Champion. Bill Strong Sr. was the first in a long line of talented players.
Introduced in1994, the Senior Division has seen 10 different champions. Dave Bewley and Mike Humphrey have each won three senior titles. Danny Hughes, Mike Skrocki and Mike Stelter have each won twice.
9th February, 2024