Winds of Change Carry the Saginaw District Golf Tournament Into Exciting New Directions

Posted In: Sports, Local Sports,   From Issue 773   By: Robert E Martin

18th July, 2013     0

Since 1955 the Saginaw District Golf Association's annual District Invitational Tournament has been held each year for nearly six decades.. Thanks in large part to the vision of former Saginaw News Sports Editor Joe Hart and the equally tireless effort, passion, and long-time commitment of my father, Fred Martin, Jr., whom served as SDGA Board of Directors Chairman from the inception of the tournament until his passing in 2004, the Saginaw District Tournament has evolved into the premier amateur golf event in Saginaw County.  It's intent is pure simple and purpose is centered upon the objective of identifying the very best amateur golfer in Saginaw County.
This year the 59th Annual Saginaw District Golf Tournament took place at The Saginaw Country Club from June 28-30th and pulled together a final field consisting of 72 of the finest golfers in Saginaw County, with 24 players being 50 years of age or older and playing in the Senior Division; and 48 players being under the age of 50 and playing in the Open Division, however several players in the Senior Division also qualified to play in the Open Division.
The Open Division Championship was solidly secured by Matt Pumford, repeating as District Champion with an excellent 3 under par 210.  This 2013 win marked Matt's fourth District Crown; while the Senior Division championship went to Alan Pumford, who recorded a 1 over par 143 and marked Alan's second Senior title, having won both the District Open and Senior Championships in 2011.
However, winds of change are in the air for 2014 as the prestigious tournament enters its 60th year; and The Review is extremely proud and excited to sponsor a new format that will begin in 2014 for the  Saginaw District. 
After surveying past district participants in late 2012, the SDGA Committee fashioned together changes that, based upon invited comments, should improve the tournament. According to SDGA Committee member Burris Smith, these comments together with conversations with participants over the years prompted the new tournament format, which we are pleased to outline below.
This new format reflects general agreement that the over and under 50-years of age divisions should be separate, but held concurrently; and that golfers over the age of 50 should have the opportunity to compete for both the Open and Senior championships.  Both tournaments will be 3 days events, but the divisions should play from different sets of tees.
These changes will be in effect beginning in 2014 and the Tournament will consist of two divisions, The Open Division and The Legends Division. Players 50 years of age or older are automatically entered in the Legends Division, unless they are eligible to play and elect to play in the Open Division by virtue of exemption or successful qualification.
The Open field is limited to 48 players and will be cut to low 24 and ties; and anyone within 10 shots of the lead for the final day of competition.  Players 50 years of age or older can elect to play in the Open Division if they meet qualification requirements.  The Open Division Champion will receive the Joe Hart Trophy sponsored by The Saginaw News and will be recognized as the District Champion.
The low scoring player 50 years of age or over playing in the Open Division will receive the Fred Martin, Jr. Trophy that will be sponsored by Review Magazineand will be recognized as the Senior Champion. If no Open Division player over the age of 50 makes the cut, the 2 round totals will determine the Senior Champion, with ties decided by playoff.
Riding carts may not be used by Open Division players and exceptions will require a written medically verified disability. There will be 24 exempt players in the Open Division and if a player is eligible for exemption in the Open Division and is 50 years of age or older, he may elect to play in the Open Division or the Legends Division, but not both. If the player elects to play in the Open Division, he is eligible for both the Fred Martin, Jr. Trophy and the Joe Hart Trophy.
The Legends Division field is limited to 24 players who are 50 years of age or older as of the first day of the Tournament. Such players are automatically entered in this division unless they are eligible to play and elect to play in the Open Division by virtue of exemption or successful qualification. The field will be cut to low 12 and ties and anyone within 10 shots of the lead for the final day of competition. The Legends Division Champion will receive the Ron Stelter Trophy and is recognized as the Legends Champion.  Legends Division players may use riding carts and the course will play fro tees targeted not to exceed 6300 yards.
It gives me an immense sense of pleasure to sponsor the Fred Martin, Jr. Senior Division Trophy through the auspices of my publication, Review Magazine. And it also affords a special symmetry. My father was a remarkable man for many reasons and he held an intense passion for celebrating all the characteristics and values that the game of golf represents: precision, discipline, sportsmanship, and the simple indelible joy that is derived from completing an excellent round.  But what he truly loved about the game was that it didn't discriminate in terms of testing one's levels of accomplishment. Through this sponsorship and the continuation of this pivotal tournament, those values can be carried forward throughout the community; and in the process, touch future generations for years to come.


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