Beautiful Golf CoursesThe 2014 Invitational would turn into the most closely contested event in the 14 year history of the tournament. It was 4 days of fabulous golf, amazing achievements on the links and grand comradery.

This is the 9th time that our incredible flagship site, Wild Horse Pass Resort, has been the venue for our annual celebration, and the two golf courses at Whirlwind GC were in the best condition that we have ever seen. That is really saying something when you understand that Whirlwind is the only facility to have been twice the winner of Troon Golf’s, “Facility of the year”.

Most Desired Golf Courses in the United StatesAt our opening dinner we were thrilled to induct Don and Barb Raymond into the Walk of Honor. Don and Barb are the first Amateurs that have been inducted into the Walk of Honor, and it is such a richly deserved reward for two people, who have led extraordinary lives.

When we first met Don and Barb in 2002, they had never played golf before, but that would change very quickly. They now both play over 100 rounds each year and have accomplished so many of the game’s milestones. What truly separates the Raymond’s though from most people is all the tireless work that they have devoted to helping others and the causes that they have so generously supported throughout their lives. They are the very best of human beings and it is so fitting to see them take their place with the other honorees.

Golf Induction of Don and Barb Raymd

Don & Barb Raymond

The first day of the tournament was the Scramble format that produced two “rookie” winners. Paul Pendleton and Michelle Smith from Denver had never played a completed 18 hole round before Friday’s round and were the stars of their team! Playing with Bill Gunderman form Myrtle Beach and their day’s professional Marty Hoeffken, the GM at Whirlwind, they would record a net score of 50.7 to take the first day honors.

Golf Awards and Best Golf School

Don Raymond, Jay Ewing, Barb Raymond & Jim Samsing



In second place with a team score of 52.4 were the team of Hub Donald, father and son: Al and Jon McMahon with their professional Pam Wright. The day’s third place team with a score of 54.8 were Jim and Jann Wilkens, Greg Stanek and professional Craig Waryan.

Following the first day’s play everyone competed in the 9-hole Putting contest (most people agreed that this was the hardest course layout we ever had). The winner in the Men’s Division with an incredible score of 18 was Sigmund Haland and the Ladies winner with an equally impressive score of 21 was Irena Powers.

Golf Invitational at Bird Golf Academy

After Jackie carried her team all day; they returned the favor!

George & Jackie Yost, Sean Welch & Tom Price
Day two would give us some remarkable scoring in the Two Low Net format. Professional Pam Wright inspired her team with superb golf by recording a 4-under par, 68 on Devil’s Claw. Pam’s team of Mike Carlile, Cody Learmonth and Jan Harris shot a remarkable team score of 25-under par to not only win the day but also take the overnight lead heading into Sunday’s final round. In second place for the day with a score of 124 were the McMahons’, Donald trio with their pro Jim Samsing who also played very well and shot a 1-under par, 71. Two teams tied for third place for the day with a score of 127. The Pendleton, Smith, Gunderman trio and their pro, Shirley Furlong and the “Team in Pink”, Stephanie Lary, David Schwan and Mike Gelinas with professional, Tim Peightal.

All the players were faced with a stern test for Sunday’s final round with winds gusting up to 30 mph but that wasn’t enough of an obstacle to deter our hardy students from playing superb golf. The first place team on the day (Low Gross/Low Net format) were led by professional, Craig Waryan who made 6 birdies in his round of 4-under par. Craig’s teammates, Sigmund Haland, Lourdes Enamorado and Joe Fildler shot a sensational 16-under par, 128 to claim the day’s low score by one shot.

Golf Invitational Winners

Day 3 winners

Mary Mills, Sigmund Haland, Lourdes Enamorado & Joe Fidler
And here is where things got really interesting. The overnight leaders, Learmonth, Carlile and Harris played brilliant golf to shoot a score of 14-under par, 130 which would surely make them the winners? This team had all played so well for 3 days but were championed in the final round by Mike Carlile, a 12 handicap, who was flawless in the difficult conditions and shot a 5-over par 77. Their 3-day total would be 305.5.

The McMahon and Donald threesome were paired with professional, Tim Peightal on Sunday and were in all ways, spectacular. Undaunted by a shaky start to their round they found lightening in a bottle to close the day at 15-under par which left them with a 3-day score of 305.4. Yes, you read that correctly; by the slimmest possible margin they had won the Invitational by 0.1 of a stroke!

Golf School Invitational Golf CourseThe professional division was also a nail-biter as Pam Wright claimed the first place honors by one shot over Tim Peightal.

That evening at the awards ceremony all were agreed that not only was this the closest Invitational that we have ever had but also one that was filled with great laughter and even better friendship.




Golf Invitational Champions

Professional Golf Invitational Champions Pam Wright & Don Raymond being presented by Jay Ewing

Golf Invitational Runners Up

RUNNERS-UP: Carlile, Harris, Learmonth + pros #24 Pam Wright, Cody Learmonth, Jan Harris, Sharon Miller, Marty Hoeffken & Mike Carlile being presented by Jay Ewing

Third Place Golf Invitational Winners

THIRD PLACE TEAM: Gunderman, Pendleton, Smith + pros #23 Marty Hoeffken, Bill Gunderman, Michelle Smith, Paul Pendleton, Shirley Furlong & Sharon Miller being presented by Jay Ewing

Fourth Place Winners Golf Invitational

FOURTH PLACE TEAM: Lary, Schwan, Gelinas + pros #22 David Schwan, Stephanie Lary, Mike Gelinas, Justin Lake, Mary Mills & Tim Peigthal being presented by Jay Ewing

Fifth Place Golf Invitational Winners

FIFTH PLACE TEAM: Raymonds, Huggins + pros #21  Don Raymond, Sharon Miller, Barb Raymond, Craig Huggins, Jim Samsing & Troy Weise being presented by Jay Ewing

Sixth Place Golf Invitational Winners

SIXTH PLACE TEAM PIC: Thurlows, Clark + pros #20 Beth Thurlow, Tom Clark, Bob Thurlow, Jim Samsing & Troy Weise being presented by Jay Ewing

To all of you who attended this year’s celebration of golf; thank you! We hope to see you all next year when we do this all over again at Wild Horse Pass and Whirlwind, November 12-16. We hope you have an amazing year on the links and continue to play better golf.

We also hope to see those of you who couldn’t make it this year, in 2015!

Call 877-4-BIRDGO To Learn More!


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