The 64th Annual Saginaw District Golf Tournament

Set to Determine the Best Amateur Golfer in Saginaw County

Posted In: Sports, Local Sports,   From Issue 863   By: Robert E Martin

14th June, 2018     0

The Saginaw District Golf Association’s annual Invitational Tournament has been held each year in June at different golf courses throughout Saginaw County for 63-years now; and this year the 2018 Saginaw District Golf Tournament is scheduled for the weekend of June 22-23-24 at Apple Mountain Golf Club.

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 Saginaw District has evolved into 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, 35 different players have earned the distinction of District Champion. The District Championship is awarded to the winner of the Open Division, who receives the Joe Hart trophy. Bill Strong Sr. was the first in a long line of talented players to be crowned District Champion.

According to Saginaw District Chairman Trace Hendrick, “The story line for the 2018 Tournament is mostly that we're hoping for good weather this year after the heavy rains that happened last year, which forced the cancellation of the Legends Division.”

“Defending champion of the Open Division is Nick Ludka who won't be participating this year due to work that he's starting for his senior thesis.  He will be in town to present the green jacket on Sunday, but wasn't able to play on Friday,” notes Hendrick. “Steve Yockey is our defending champion of the Senior Division (over-50 in the Open Division) and he'll be playing in the Legends this year, so he's unable to defend his title.” 

“Consequently, we will have a new champion for the Open and Senior divisions,” he adds.

Gary Trumble was the 2016 Champion in the Legends.  5-Time Open Division champion Matt Pumford is also returning to the tournament after a 2-year absence.  The last time he played, he lost in a playoff to Bruce Eccleton at Apple Mountain.

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.

Played from 1994 through 2013, the Senior Division of The Saginaw District has seen 11 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, followed by Steve Yockey, and then Trumble.

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.

Having played in at least every Saginaw District tournament over several decades, defending Legends Champion Gary Trumble had this to say about he felt were the most challenging golf courses in the region; and particularly, how he feels about Apple Mountain, where this 64th Annual District Tournament will be held.

“With The Sawmill you have to place shots carefully on the back nine, so that can be a tough course,” he reflects.  Personally, I’ve had great rounds at Apple Mountain, although a few years ago I shot a 33 on the front nine and by the time I hit the back nine the storms and wind came up and I shot a 44 because I mentally lost it.  The greens are also tough at Apple Mountain, so you have to learn to adjust quickly as they can be super-quick.”






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