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  • November 27, 2014

Golf Grapevine - Ladue News: Sports

Golf Grapevine

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Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2014 12:00 pm

It's time to tee it up and begin our monthly golf meetings again. After such a harsh winter, it's time for us to get back on the fairways. Let's get to it.

Manchester native Scott Langley had a famous playing partner at the recent AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in California. The Parkway South and Illinois alum played alongside Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos.

Langley actually learned about the pairing on Twitter.

"Somebody tweeted at me and said, Hey, sweet pairing. I'm really jealous. Have fun with Peyton,'" Langley recalls. “I had no idea. I didn't know he was playing in the tournament."

Langley—a Green Bay Packers fan—was paired with Manning, hedge-fund manager Harris Barton and fellow pro Greg Owen.

Langley is off to a good start in his second year on the PGA Tour. As of this writing, he had played in 10 events and made five cuts. His best finish was a tie for 18th in the Humana Challenge. His 2014 earnings so far is $163,654.

UMSL grad plays in pro event

University of Missouri-St. Louis graduate Michael Block played in the recent Farmers Insurance Open and made the cut, winning $10,736. In 1997, he won the St. Louis District Golf Association Champion at Bogey Hills Country Club. Block, who turned professional in 1998, attended the San Diego Golf Academy, where he received a degree in golf course management with an emphasis in teaching. He has been teaching since 2004 at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Orange County, Calif.

O'Toole heads USGA

Congratulations are in order for St. Louis' Thomas O'Toole Jr., who recently was inducted as the 63rd president of the United States Golf Association. The USGA is one of two groups that governs the game worldwide.

O’Toole’s election came during the USGA's February meeting in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C. As president, O'Toole, 56, assumes the leadership of the more than 300 professional staff and some 1,200 volunteers who serve the 119-year-old organization. He succeeds Glen Nager, who served for two years as USGA president.

"It is an honor and a privilege to lead such a noble organization," O'Toole says. “I am excited and energized to continue my service to the association and keenly aware of the magnitude of the profound responsibilities that accompany this role."

O'Toole's dedication to the game also extends to the state of Missouri and St. Louis regional golf community. In 1988, he was elected to the Missouri Golf Association board of directors. In 1991, O'Toole established the St. Louis Metropolitan Amateur Championship. One year later, he was the principal founder of the Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association, the first association in the region to permit public clubs as members and service all golfers without discrimination. Within its first four years, the MAGA expanded its tournament schedule from men's to women's to junior and senior championships, and grew to 110 member clubs, as well as elected the first African-American to the MAGA board of directors.

Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association

The MAGA is making a change to the 2014 Four-Ball to bring in more teams. In 2013, the MAGA included an Open Division and a 36-hole event. For the first four years, it was an 18-hole net-only championship. The 2014 edition will offer both open and net championships at 36 holes. This change will give the MAGA the opportunity to expose golfers from outside the metropolitan area to a MAGA championship.

The 2014 MAGA Four-Ball takes place Sept. 28 to 29 at beautiful Franklin County Country Club in Washington, Mo.

Champions Tour

A professional tournament will be conducted in Missouri this year. The Champions Tour’s newly named Big Cedar Lodge Legends of Golf presented by Bass Pro Shops, a two-man team competition conducted over 54 holes, will be played June 2 to 8 on Big Cedar’s par-3 Top of the Rock course, designed by Jack Nicklaus and the 18-hole Buffalo Ridge Course (formerly Branson Creek Golf Club), redesigned by Tom Fazio.

The tournament, which debuted in 1978, was held in Savannah, Ga., the past 11 years. This will be the first PGA TOUR - sanctioned event to use a Par-3 Course in official competition.

Top of the Rock features an Arnold Palmer-designed practice facility with 18 target greens and the remarkable 70,000 square-foot ‘Himalayan’ putting course designed by Tom Watson.

The field will feature two divisions for players age 50 to 65, and 65 and older. Following Friday and Saturday rounds at Buffalo Ridge and Top of the Rock, all contestants will play at Top of the Rock in the final round. The total purse will be $2.75 million.

World Golf Hall of Fame members, including Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Hale Irwin, Gary Player and Lee Trevino have already indicated they will play in the event. Other World Golf Hall of Fame members who actively compete on the Champions Tour include: Fred Couples, Ben Crenshaw, Nick Faldo, Tom Kite, Sandy Lyle, Colin Montgomerie, Larry Nelson, Nick Price, Vijay Singh and Curtis Strange.

Buffalo Ridge has been rated the No. 1 One Public Golf Course in Missouri by Golf magazine, and has been named one of the Top 10 Missouri Courses by Golf Digest for 11 consecutive years.

That's it for this month. If you have an upcoming tournament to promote or any other golf news or a suggestion, contact me at wlmayes13@att.net. Until next month, keep hitting them straight.

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