Our seventh annual Invitational was at our flagship site, Wild Horse Pass, for the second year. It was another event filled with friends, laughter and exceptional performances on the links.

Carey Mumford Clear Key

Carey Mumford – Clear Key Presentation

As always, we were held spellbound at the opening dinner, by the incredible Carey Mumford, who hosted his Clear Key seminar, to begin the event. This year’s presentation was an open forum and participation was spirited, lively and fascinating.

The first day of the tournament was played on the Whirlwind Cattail course. Both Cattail and Devil’s Claw were in incredible condition. If there are greener or more immaculately kept golf courses in Phoenix, we have yet to see them. The format for Day 1 was, two low net and the team of Mike Lowenthal, Jon McMahon and Tony Van Gestel, played some remarkable golf to be the runaway leaders. Playing with professional, Shirley Furlong, they shot an amazing 29 under par. The star of their team on this day, was Mike Lowenthal who recorded a personal best of 86.

Team Play

Jon McMahon, Tony Van Gestel, Mike Lowenthal at Putting Contest

In second place was the team of David Newman, and Chuck and Cynthy Hill who were paired with professional, Sharon Miller and shot a terrific, 24 under par. Tied for 3rd at 21 under, were the teams of Richard Paslay, Mark Wilson, Jim Kratchkowski with professional, Lee Maiden and the team of Tom Wilson, Tom Berdan, Andra Harris and professional, Tim Peightal.

After the first round, all the participants competed in our inaugural, putting challenge. The putting challenge course was brilliantly designed by Bird Golf’s Director of Student Services, Bob Willis, who may have a future in course design! In a hotly contested affair, the Men’s winner was Richard Paslay, who made an incredible, 4 holes-in-one on the 9 hole layout, followed by Tom Berdan and Tim Henry. The Ladies Champion was Pat Gustafson, who edged out Nancy Torcivia.


1st Annual Putting Contest

The second round was at nearby Ocotillo Golf Club. Ocotillo is another superb, Troon managed facility, that features water on 24 of it’s 27 holes. The Day 2 format was a scramble and more remarkable scoring was recorded. The winners on this day were led by Bird Golf’s National Head Professional, Sharon Miller, who led her team to a fantastic, 18 under par score. Playing with Sharon were Michael Wachs, Andrew Spaziani and Traci Aldridge, who was also a star on this day. Traci has only played golf for four months but handled herself like a seasoned player and played superbly.

The scramble format produced a very tightly bunched field, in which there were only 5 strokes from 2nd to last place. Two teams tied for second with fine scores of 15 under par. With professional, Anne-Marie Palli, were Steve Crawford, Ed Marsh and Nancy Lee Honey; and professional, Ross Kroeker led his team of Stephan Strasser, Bill and Gail Averitt. Gail’s performance was also remarkable as she was playing in quite some pain from spraining her ankle, two weeks before the event. Beware of the injured athlete!


Left: Traci Aldrige, Michael Wachs, Sharon Miller – Right: Jim Samsing, Chuck Hunt, Shane Spurlock

Day 3’s format, at Devil’s Claw, was one low Gross, One Low Net. The Paslay, Wilson and Kratchkowski team with professional, Craig Waryan were spectacular and shot a team score of 16 under par. They were followed in 2nd place by the Lowenthal, McMahon and Van Gestel team with their professional, Tim Peightal and the Averitt, Strasser team with their professional, Jim Samsing, came in 3rd. Remarkably for the second year in a row, another hole-in-one was recorded. This year’s “ace” came on the 142 yard, 14th hole, by David Newman. Brilliant stuff!

The final cumulative tournament results were as follows:

CHAMPIONS: Mike Lowenthal, Jon McMahon and Tony Van Gestel
RUNNERS-UP: Richard Paslay, Mark Wilson and Jim Kratchkowski
3RD PLACE: Bill and Gail Averitt and Stephan Strasser
4TH PLACE: David Newman, Chuck and Cynthy Hill
5TH PLACE: Chuck Hunt, Sandy Cable and Shane Spurlock
6TH PLACE: Tom Berdan, Tom Wilson and Andra Harris

The Champions


(Three Champions) Bird Golf’s National Head Professional Sharon Miller, Sandy Cable and Shirley Furlong (Sharon and Shirley were the 2007 Professional Division co-champions).

For the first time in the history of the Invitational we had a tie in the Professionals division and have co-Champions. Sharon Miller, who now becomes a two-time winner and Shirley Furlong are the 2007, Professional Champions.

The closing dinner was another delicious affair at the Cayote/Buzzard/Eagle Banquet room and the food as always, was magnificent. As always, our goal with the Invitational is to celebrate golf and the accomplishments of our students.

We hope that all the 2007 participants enjoyed the event, as much as we enjoyed, being with them. The 8th Invitational will be at Wild Horse Pass again, and will be November 13-16, 2008. We will hope very much, to see you there!

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