How the spring and summer have flown by. It’s fall and time for our monthly visits to come to an end for this year. But before we pick up and head off to the 19th hole, let’s look at what’s happened.
Congratulations are in order to the remarkable Ellen Port. She added her name to the Mildred Prunaret Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship Trophy for a record fourth time with her 2-and-1 victory over fellow past champion Martha Leach at the 25th Women’s Mid-Amateur at Bayville Golf Club. With her victory, Port received a 10-year exemption into the Women’s Mid-Amateur. She also received two-year exemptions into the Women’s Amateur, Senior Women’s Amateur and Women’s Amateur Public Links.
Port, a high school golf coach and physical education teacher at John Burroughs, previously captured the championship for women age 25 and older in 1995, 1996 and 2000. “It’s just a culmination of a lot of hard work and still having a life outside of golf and still wondering if you could still win,” says Port, a mother of two who celebrated her 50th birthday last month before the tournament.
BALLWIN MAN WINS
Dave Verlhust, who lives in Ballwin, recently won the Golf Channel Amateur Tour National Championship, Senior Sarazen Division, in La Quinta, Calif. The 51-year-old Verlhust sports a handicap of 13, which placed him in the Senior Sarazen flight for handicaps 12 to 15.9.
Verlhust shot a four-round score of 338 to win his division. He qualified for the Golf Channel Amateur Tour, which is comprised of 50 local tours that sponsor 10 to 15 one-day tournaments throughout the golf season.
The St. Louis branch of the AmTour plays approximately 12 tournaments from March through August. The national championships require you qualify by finishing among the top players in your local tour in cumulative results from throughout the local season.
Verlhust has been participating in the local tournaments for five years. This year, he won the big one.
“Winning the National Championship for my flight against 92 other competitors who had qualified by finishing at the top of their local tours from across the country was like a dream come true,” Verlhust says.
Scott Edwards, who plays out of Persimmon Woods Golf Club, came from six shots back after round one to capture his second Metro - politan Amateur Golf Association Senior title.
After opening the championship with a 6- over par 78, Edwards fired the championship’s low round of 3-under 69 to win by one stroke. Edwards also won in 2009.
Andy Frost, of Bellerive Country Club, earned the runner-up silver medal finishing the championship with rounds of 72-76 for a 148 total. Two shots back of Edwards was 2008 champion Scott Thomas, of Meadowbrook Country Club, at 149.
With his fourth-place finish, Jeff Johnson, of Bogey Hills Country Club, secured the 2012 MAGA Senior Player of the Year.
FOREST HILLS COUNTRY CLUB
A $2.824 million renovation of Forest Hills Country Club has begun. The project will include their championship golf course, swimming pools and clubhouse dining facilities. The club is planning to have the entire project completed in advance of it’s 50th anniversary in 2014.
“Our ‘Club Enhancement Program’ has really brought new vitality to Forest Hills, and our membership. As each project unfolds the excitement from the membership continues to build. We are also experiencing quite a bit of interest in new membership. When all phases are completed it will be like having a new club,” says Bud Sinnett, club’s board of directors president.
That work is slated to be completed in May.
Well, that’s it for 2011. I have enjoyed hearing your ideas, suggestions and, yes, even criticisms. Keep swinging and remember, you can’t birdie them all unless you birdie the first hole. See you next spring.