The 2012 Bird Golf Invitational

It is hard to believe that this was our 12th Invitational. It has been a wonderful 12 years and this year’s event comprised a full field of 60 players. It was amazing that all 60 players were able to make it, as 23 participants were directly affected by the lethal reach of Hurricane Sandy. It was a testament to their resolve and determination that all were able to attend.

As is our tradition, the incomparable Carey Mumford addressed all of the participants with another spell binding presentation on the Mental Game. Listening to and learning from the master is always an amazing learning experience.

We honored our sixth member of the Walk of Honor this year with the induction of Craig Waryan. In his storied career Craig has won almost every honor that the PGA of America has to offer, including being the “Teacher of the Year” multiple times, the “Golf Professional of the Year” and being only the 87th member to achieve “Master” professional status. This most humble and giving person would tell you that his induction has little to do with him but is “all about my students”.


Craig Waryan / Walk of Honor Inductees, Jim Samsing, Sharon Miller, Tim Peightal, Carey Mumford, Mary Mills & Craig Waryan

The course conditions at Whirlwind GC were better than ever and that is saying something. Whirlwind was very deservedly awarded Troon Golf’s highest honor, the “Facility of the Year” in 2012. It is the second time that they have won that award and makes them the only two-time winner (they won in 2004 as well).


The Bird Golf Rock


Whirlwind Golf Clubhouse

Day 1 of the tournament was our Scramble format and it produced some very fine play. Finishing the day in 3rd place was the team of Don Christensen, June Coljee and Victoria Zuber, with their professional, Jay Ewing with a team net score of 54. One shot better in second place was the Crawford family team with Dr. Jim and Carole and son Steve who played with Whirlwind GM, Marty Hoeffken. A further one stroke better on this day were the winning team of Mike and Tracy Carlile and Irena Powers, who were led by professional, Heath Morden. Only 7 strokes separated the first place team from the team in last place so it was still anyone’s tournament to win.


Gayle Gleason, Sharon Miller, Paul Jackson & Greg Mastrangelo / Tim Peigthal, Larry Kirk, Jon McMahon & Gail Rubin

The afternoon’s putting contest was another very hotly contested affair. In the Men’s division, Jon McMahon and Cody Learmonth finished regulation play 1-under par and Cody edged out Jon on the second hole of sudden death. In the Ladies division, Deb Green narrowly beat out Irena Powers with very impressive 2-under par.


Cody Learmonth / Deb Green

Day 2 of the tournament was the 2 Low Net format (teams take the two best balls of four with full handicap) and more great play ensued. The 3rd place team on this day was Stephanie Lary, David Schwan and Mike Gelinas who played with professional, Craig Waryan. The days’ runners-up were Don and Barb Raymond, Warren Dyer and pro, Heath Morden. In first place were last years’ Champions: Jan Harris, Jeff Goodrich and Cody Learmonth who played with Marty Hoeffken.


Shirley Furlong, Irena Powers, Tracy Carlile & Mike Carlile / Tom Morgan, Toy & Bill Booth

The tightly bunched field meant that anyone of the 15 teams still had a chance to pull out a victory on Sunday’s final round. The overnight leaders, the Raymond’s’/Dyer team, had a host of pursuers hot on their trail! Sunday’s format was One Low Net/One Low Gross (best two of four balls, one with handicap, the other without). The third placed team on this day was the trio of Cavell Simmonds, Rich Gover and Belinda Keever with their professional, Troy Weis. In second place were Jeff and Kathy Cunningham with Hub Donald and professional, Patrick Galloway.

The victors on this day however were the amazing team of Harris, Goodrich and Learmonth with their professional, Shirley Furlong who would become the first ever back to back Champions of the Invitational. They were led on Sunday by Cody Learmonth who made six birdies in his round. Cody (who is taught by Shirley Furlong) has certainly come a long way with his game (he broke par earlier this year for the first time) and all of his hard work is certainly paying off! His performance on Sunday was quite remarkable.

And such were the respective scores of what was another superb 4 days of golf made possible by our fantastic students. But the Invitational is about so much more than winning and losing. It is a celebration of this most magical pursuit but even more importantly, an opportunity to see old friends, make new ones and to enjoy as one participant said, ‘the best four days of my year’!.



Troy Weise, Shirley Furlong, Rich Gover, Belinda Keever, Carey Mumford & Jay Ewing
Not pictured: Cavell Simmonds & Rich Carter



Marty Hoeffken, Carole Crawford, Jim Crawford, Steve Crawford, Sharon Miller, Carey Mumford & Jay Ewing



Patrick Galloway, Jim Samsing, Bob Willis, Hub Donald, Kathy Cunningham, Jeff Cunningham, Carey Mumford & Jay Ewing
Not pictured: Rich Carter



Craig Waryan, Sharon Miller, Bob Willis, David Schwan, Stephanie Lary, Mike Gelinas, Carey Mumford & Jay Ewing



Patrick Galloway, Victoria Zuber, Lee Maiden, June Coljee, Don Christensen, Carey Mumford & Jay Ewing



Jim Samsing, Heath Morden, Warren Dyer, Pam Wright, Barb Raymond, Don Raymond, Carey Mumford & Jay Ewing



Tim Peightal, Jeff Goodrich, Jan Harris, Cody Learmonth, Shirley Furlong, Marty Hoeffken, Carey Mumford & Jay Ewing

Next years’ Invitational will be a Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa, November 7-11, and we hope very much to see you there!

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