The tenth annual Invitational was our greatest to date. Another sold-out event with a full field enjoyed four fantastic days of golf at our flagship site, Wild Horse Pass Resort.

We were very proud to honor two more of Golf’s icons, Carey Mumford and Mary Mills with their induction into the Walk of Honor. The Walk of Honor is becoming an esteemed and revered part of Whirlwind Golf Club and Wild Horse Pass. With the addition of Carey and Mary, we now celebrate the careers of four members of the Bird Golf family (last year our two founding teaching professionals; Jim Samsing and Sharon Miller were the inaugural inductees).


Mary Mills / Carey Mumford

One of the highlights of this year’s event was Mary’s acceptance speech at the Opening Dinner. This incredible lady has literally been a part of golf history throughout her life and relayed the history of the golf swing through her own journey. Beginning with an introduction to Bobby Jones when she was a young amateur to her experience with legendary teacher, Ernest Jones and her complete understanding of the evolution of the modern golf swing. It was spellbinding.


Mary Mills acceptance speech

Friday’s opening round scramble format produced some amazing golf; with one group in particular who sensationally. Playing with Bird Golf’s National Head Professional, Sharon Miller, the team of Dennis Britten, Sheryl Heffernen and Mike Lowenthal were simply incredible. They shot a Bird Golf Scramble (we always play a scramble on the first day) record of 48 which gave them a four stroke lead over the day’s second placed team of Don and Barb Raymond, Larry Kirk and their professional, Scott McNeal. A further two strokes back were the team of Mike and Tracy Carlile, Cody Learmonth and professional, Marty Hoeffken. It was certainly a day to remember for the winning team and their Captain, Sharon-who is now being called “48”!


The Scoreboard / leaders at lunch after the “48”

Friday afternoon’s putting contest was another very competitive affair. Bird Golf’s General Manager and resident course-designer, Bob Willis outdid himself this year with another fantastic creation and a great time was had by all the contestants. The Men’s Champion this year, carrying forward his great earlier from in the scramble was Larry Kirk. In the Ladies Division, we had a tie at the end of regulation play with Jenifer Hansen and Nancy Torcivia both shooting great rounds of 23, over the 9-hole course. On the first hole of sudden-death Nancy edged out Jennifer to win this year’s contest.


Jay passing out score cards at the putting contest

We were thrilled this year to be joined for the event by our youngest ever competitor, 10 year old sensation, Zhaimon Sosoban. Zhaimon who is coached by Jim Samsing, is on his way to becoming an incredible golfer. Jim says that Zhaimon has more talent at his age, than he has ever seen, which is high praise indeed from Mr. Samsing. Zhaimon’s lovely parents, Jun and Brenda, made the trip with their young star whose golfing path we shall closely follow. Zhaimon played with our wonderful friends from Japan Isamu and Hiroko Iwahara, who once again honored us by coming all the way from Tokyo for the tournament. Isamu-san is a golf professional of considerable note in Japan and we are privileged to be a part of his game.


Jim Samsing, Carey Mumford, Zhiamon Sosoban, Isamu & Hiroko Iwahara

Day 2 saw more remarkable scoring in the two low Net format (we take the two best balls of the four, with full handicap). In the closest single day of competition ever, only one stroke separated the first 4 placed teams. The winners on this day though would be George and Jackie Yost, Tony VanGestel and their professional, Jason Saunders, who scored a superb, 21-under par, 123. They narrowly beat out the Day One winners Dennis Britten, Sheryl Heffernen and Mike Lowenthal trio with their pro, Rich Carter. Only one stroke further back was the team of Bill & Gail Averitt, Jen Shaull and their pro, the two-time defending Professional Champion, Heath Morden. Of particular note was that Jen Shaull recorded a personal best, 92 on this day, which could have been ever lower were it not for an uncooperative putter. Great playing, Jen!


George Yost getting ready to putt as team looks on, Jason Sanders, Tony VanGestal and Jackie Yost / After a great round of golf the Doyle ladies have lunch with Tim Peightal and Roger Kreuter

So after two rounds, the Britten/Heffernen/Lowenthal trio held a commanding lead going into Sunday’s final round.


After dinner drinks with Mike & Tracy Carlile, Jan Harris, Shirley Furlong & Cody Learmounth

In Sunday’s 1 Low Gross (without handicap) and One Low Net (with handicap) we were once again treated to some superb golf from our students. The winners on this day, recording a great score of 16-under par, 128 were Roland & Pat Gustafson, Larry Blake and their professional, Jim Samsing. Jim played especially well on Sunday and shot a 3 under, 69 to lead his team. In second place with a score of 131, were the Averitts. and Jen Shaull with professional, Craig Waryan. The third place team were Jason and Mitchell Adams, Jan Harris and professional Rich Carter who recorded a 10 under par score of 134.


Team Loudmouth, Roland & Pat Gustafson, Jen Shaull & Jim Samsing / Lunch with Jeff Goodrich, Dominic & Nancy Torcivia, Shirley Furlong & Cody Learmounth

The overnight leaders, Britten/Heffernen/Lowenthal, continued their fine play and shot a team score of 138 to finish with a three day cumulative score of 310, and win the tenth Invitational by 8 shots. Considering that Sheryl Heffernen has only played a handful of rounds of golf, and that Dr. Dennis (Britten) only gets to play once a month, their and Mike Lowenthal’s (the first two-time Amateur Champion!) accomplishments were indeed remarkable. CONGRATULATIONS to them; and all of our contestants, who are winners all!


The Professionals



Mary Mills, Jay Ewing, Larry Kirk, Barb Raymond, Don Raymond, Pam Wright, Don Raymond



Jay Ewing, Don Christensen, Mary Mills, June Coljee, David Newman



Jay Ewing, Mary Mills, Larry Blake, Roland & Pat Gustafson, Sheri Carter, Jim Samsing



Jay Ewing, Shirley Furlong, Mary Mills. Jason Adams, Jan Harris, Lee Maiden, Mitchell Adams, Rich Carter


Jay Ewing, George Yost, Mary Mills, Jackie Yost, Pam Wright, Tony Van Gestel, Jason Sanders

Jay Ewing, George Yost, Mary Mills, Jackie Yost, Pam Wright, Tony Van Gestel, Jason Sanders



Jay Ewing, Mary Mills, Gail & Bill Averitt, Jen Shaull, Craig Waryan



Jay Ewing, Mary Mills, Dennis Britten, Mike Lowenthal, Sharon Miller, Sheryl Heffernen, Lee Maiden, Rich Carter




Rich Carter

Next years event will again be at Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa, November 10-14. We will be honoring our East Coast Head Professional, Tim Peightal with his induction into the Walk of Honor. We will hope to see you here!


Tim Peigthal 2011 Walk of Honor Inductee

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