The 65th Annual Saginaw District Golf Tournament Set to Determine the Best Amateur Golfer in Saginaw County

Posted In: Sports, Local Sports,   From Issue 880   By: Robert E Martin

06th June, 2019     0

The Saginaw District Golf Association’s annual Invitational Tournament has been held each year in June at different golf courses throughout Saginaw County since 1955; and this year the 2019 Saginaw District Golf Tournament is scheduled for the weekend of June 21-22-23 at The Sawmill Golf Club, which at 6,735 yards from the Championship tees presents a challenge for any serious golfer.

Originally conceived through 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 entries have been going very good this year and we're looking forward to another high quality field.  Last year on the final day of the tournament we had five players at or below par on the toughest setup of the weekend at Apple Mountain.  We look forward to seeing many of those same players this year at the Sawmill and we expect a few new faces as well.”

“One thing new this year is that we've added sponsors for the tournament which will allow us to give back more prize money to the participants, which is something we've been trying to do since the elimination of the qualifier round.  We also have a big announcement that we'll unveil during the awards presentation about the 2020 tournament.”

Last year Matt Pumford won the Open Division for his 6th time after a two-year absence; Steve Yockey secured the honors in the Legends Division; and Alan Pumford won the Senior Division.  When asked about the key players to watch and whether there are any new players on the horizon fans should  pay attention to, Hendrick notes: “I think you always have to pay attention to anyone with the last name of Pumford, but you can't ignore 2016 Champion Adam Jacobs who's home course is the Sawmill.  We also have a number of other players who play at the Sawmill including Adam Haswell who has always played well year after year.” 

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 won 5 Hart Trophies, Danny Hughes is fourth 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 2018, the Senior Division of The Saginaw District has seen 14 different champions. The Senior Championship trophy honors founding District chairman Fred Martin, Jr. In this division, since his first win in 2011,  Alan Pumford has secured six Senior Division trophies, winning four years on a row between 2013-2016; and also winning last year in 2018.

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 Gary Trumble. In 2017 the tournament was cancelled due to rain; and last year in 2018 Yockey won his second senior division trophy.  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.

“We’re excited to be back at The Sawmill,” concludes District Chairman Trace Hendrick. “The pro Adam Fairchild  is part of a new ownership group and has a lot of plans for the golf course.  The Sawmill always does a great job of getting the course ready and we're excited to return there.”




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