THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
Posted In: Sports, Local Sports, From Issue 828 By: Robert E Martin
09th June, 2016 0
The Saginaw District Golf Association’s annual Saginaw District Invitational Tournament has been held each year in June at different golf courses throughout Saginaw County for 61-years now; and this year the 2016 Tournament will be held at The Sawmill Golf Club on June 24, 25 and 26.
Conceived back in 1955 thanks in large part to the vision of former Saginaw News Sports Editor Joe Hart, and the tireless effort and commitment of my late father and long-time SDGA Board of Directors Chairman Fred Martin Jr., the Tournament became the premier amateur golf event in Saginaw County and is intended to identify annually the best amateur golfer in the county.
Since the initial tournament, thirty-three (33) different players have earned the distinction of District Champion. The District Championship is awarded to the winner of the Open Division, and receives the Joe Hart trophy. Bill Strong Sr. was the first in a long line of talented players to be crowned District Champion.
Ron Stelter is the dean of participants, having played in every District Tournament from its inception in 1955 through 2012. 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 Murphy and Matt Pumford both have 5 Hart Trophies - tied for second on the list of multiple champions. Danny Hughes is third all-time with 4 victories. Craig Barber has 3 followed by Mike Anderson, Tom Doozan, Terry Franz, Mike Humphrey, Nick Pumford and Walt Van Sickle as two time winners.
Last year in perhaps one of the most exciting District tournaments in recent memory, Bruce Eccleton nailed two Eagle shots to beat out Matt Pumford in the Open Division during a Sudden Death Playoff at Apple Mountain. Pumford previously won the Open Division over three consecutive years from 2012-14.
Played from 1994 through 2013, the Senior Division has seen 10 different champions. The Senior Championship trophy honors founding District chairman Fred Martin, Jr. Dave Bewley, Mike Humphrey and Alan Pumford have each won three Senior titles. Danny Hughes, Mike Skrocki and Mike Stelter have each won twice.
Changes came again in 2014 when the Legends Division was introduced as a separate division for players 50 years of age and older. The Legends Champion trophy fittingly honors district legend Ron Stelter. The first Legends Division champion was Roger Alverson and last year was won by Steve Yockey.
As the Legends Division was introduced, the Senior Division was eliminated, but not the Senior Champion. The Senior Champion is now awarded to the low scoring player 50 years of age or older who plays in the Open Division.
General Registration for the 2016 Saginaw District Golf Tournament is now open for both the Open Division and Legends (over 50) Division. Registration details, including online registration, are available at www.saginawdistrictgolf.com. A limited number of spots remain for each division and registration will close at 4 pm on June 13 or when the field for each division is full.
About the 2016 SDGA Tournament
The Tournament will consist of two Divisions, the Open Division and the Legends Division. Players 50 years of age or older must elect to play in the Open Division or the Legends Division, but not both. Both the Open and Legends Division Tournaments will be 3-day, 3 round events, played concurrently, with each field being cut for the final day of competition.
The biggest change this year for the Saginaw District is that there is no longer a qualifying tournament for entry. Players will be registered for the tournament in the order that registration and payment is received. Registration will close either on the date specified or when each field is full (whichever comes first). Players who meet exemption criteria will have an opportunity to register before general registration.
“We’re hoping that with the elimination of the qualifying tournament we’ll attract top Saginaw County golfers who have skipped the tournament in recent years because they didn’t want to go through the trouble of playing in the qualifier,” explains Trace Hendrick, SDGA Co-Chair.
“There will continue to be exemptions for success in recent tournaments and there will be an early registration window to ensure those players have first opportunity to sign up. After the exempt registration, players will have the opportunity to register for the Open or Legends Division on a first-come, first-served basis and registration will close when the field is full.”
Other significant changes for 2016 include the addition of online registration and a new enforceable Pace-of-Play policy that should speed up play and get players off the golf course in a very reasonable amount of time.
“We’ve had tournament rounds in the past that took around six hours to play and that’s unacceptable and we’re working hard to change that,” said adds Hendrick. “Basically the gist of it is that there will be four timed checkpoints during the round. If you miss a checkpoint, you have to catch up by the next checkpoint or you're liable to penalty stroke(s) or if you miss all 4 checkpoints you could be disqualified.”
Players can register online at www.saginawdistrictgolf.com. If a player fails to return a score that is within 20 strokes of the cut for their division, future entries in SDGA competitions may be declined. Entry fee is $125 and must accompany registration. All players may register during general registration.
Alternates are also accepted for each division and will be notified if they have a spot in the tournament no later than the Thursday before the tournament begins.
General Registration closes at 4 pm, Monday, June 13.
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THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)