The 2017 Bird Golf Invitational

The 2017 Invitational was the 16th edition of our annual celebration of golf but the first event that we had ever held in January. Our flagship courses at Whirlwind were in breathtakingly beautiful condition. Watching them mature and explode into the kaleidoscope of desert beauty that they have become has been a marvel. They are complemented by the world’s finest golf staff who always take such great care of our students, students who traveled from as far away as Norway, the Virgin Islands and Quebec this year!

Our sixteenth Invitational was very special on many fronts.  Perhaps the most magical moment being when Roger Hansen proposed to his girlfriend, Denise Starcher, at the beginning of the week. Naturally, Denise said yes! (there must be something about the Invitational, because this is our second proposal in these sixteen years. We have also had a marriage performed at the event!).  

The leaders after Friday’s opening round in the Scramble were on one of our two all ladies’ teams. Sue Lawless, Patsy Siegismund and Carrie Hunter playing with professional Marty Hoeffken were the day’s winners, edging out the team of Mike Gelinas, Stephanie Lary, David Schwan and their professional, Jim Terry by 0.7 of a point with a score of 54.1. A further 0.4 of a stroke back in third place was “Team Crawford” (the Scots were well represented also!); Jim, Carole and Steve with professional Shawn Scott.

The Crawfords

“Team Crawford” pictured L-R Steve, with his parents: Jim and Carole Crawford with Professional Shawn Scott

Raymonds and Spurlock on the course

Don and Barb Raymond have been to all but one Invitational. The two-time champions are also the only Amateurs in the “Walk Of Honor”

D. Patch at the InvitationalOn Friday afternoon the traditional Putting Contest was held. This year, not one but two scoring records were broken. In the Men’s division, Pascal Cornaz, pictured to the right, shot a 2-under par, 16.  And in the Ladies Division, Darlene Patch shot a remarkable 3-under par, 15. Darlene is pictured to the left, after her amazing play.  The staff at Whirlwind once again out did themselves with a great test on the putting course set up.  Hats off to a great contest!

The winning team on Saturday’s “Two Low Net” was the trio of Doug and Mae Menzies and Karen Diiullo-Estabrook with their professional, Shawn Scott, with a terrific score of 18-under par, 126. Two shots further back in second place for the day were the Gelinas, Lary, Schwan group with their professional, Amy Benz. Sigmund Haland, Pauline Lockard, Mike Guess and Jim Terry were a shot further back at 131 to claim third place. The Invitational always produces defining moments for our students and this year was no different as Mike Guess broke 90 for the first time ever in the second round with an 89; great playing Mike!

Ladies Team

One of our All Ladies Teams . L-R: Darlene Patch, Suzanne Olsen, Professional Troy Weise, and Sandra Huckfeldt

New Friends from the Invitational

The best part of the Invitational is that new friendships are struck each year. L-R: Lee Maiden, Adam Ruggles, Duane Barnett and Jan Harris

The winners of Sunday’s final round “One Low Gross/One Low Net” format were the Gelinas, Lary and Schwan team with their professional, Craig Waryan, and an incredible score of 16-under par, 128. Mike, Stephanie and David are one of those examples of friendships made at the Invitational, having all met at the event 9 years ago and having been a team for the last 7 years. They have claimed most every other place over the years and are very worthy Champions! In second place on Sunday were Haland, Lockard and Guess with the professional Shawn Scott and they would also become the tournament’s Runners-Up. Two teams tied for 3rd place on the day, the Raymonds and Spurlock team with their professional, Troy Weise and the Hansen, Starcher and Perry Sprague with professional Amy Benz. Perry shot back-to-back 76’s in the final two rounds to record his personal bests at Whirlwind.     

Another Gaelic trio would take home the third place overall after three days of great play. Mac and Susan Campbell and John O’Reilly finished with a 3-day cumulative score of 331.5 edging out the team of Ollie and Jon Bradsher and Pascal Cornaz by 0.5 who were in 4th place overall.

The winner of the Professional Division was Shawn Scott who played spectacular golf for the three days and won with a score of 318.2. 

The catering staff at the Sheraton Grand once again produced an amazing meal for our Closing Dinner and Awards ceremony.

Banquet Photo 2


The winning teams and their professionals were: (All pictures are listed from Left to Right)

6th place teamSIXTH PLACE: Pro Shawn Scott, Jay Ewing, the team of Mae and Doug Menzies, Karen Diiullo Estabrook, with Pro Jim Terry (not pictured: Pro Sandra Palmer)

5th Place finishersFIFTH PLACE: Pro Marty Hoeffken, Jay Ewing, the team of Sue Lawless, Patsy Siegismund, Carrie Hunter with Pro Lee Maiden (not pictured: Pro Sandra Palmer)

4th Place teamFOURTH PLACE: Pro Troy Weise, Jay Ewing, team of Pascal Cornaz, Ollie Bradsher, Pro Craig Waryan, Jon Bradsher and Pro Tim Peightal

THIRD PLACE: Team of John O’Reilly, Mac and Susan Campbell, Jay Ewing, with Pros Tim Peightal and Bob Willis (not pictured: Pro Amy Benz)

RUNNERS-UP: Sigmund Haland, Pro Shawn Scott, Jay Ewing, Mike Guess, Pauline Lockard, Pros Tim Peightal and Jim Terry 

CHAMPIONS: Pro Jim Terry, David Schwan, Jay Ewing, Stephanie Lary, Mike Gelinas and Pro Craig Waryan (not pictured: Pro Amy Benz)

We salute and thank all of our wonderful students who make this all possible and for making our 16th celebration of golf so much fun.

The 17th Invitational will be January 18-22, 2018 at Wild Horse Pass Resort and we hope you will join us for four fantastic days! 


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