15 Feb 17
Former European Tour player and US Open competitor Ollie Farr brought all his experience to bear in repelling the challenge of Billy Hemstock in the 17th annual staging of the popular Scottsdale Classic Pro-Am.
Both men played inspired golf having attended The PGA Tour’s WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale a few days beforehand.
After three rounds of superb desert golf at FireRock Country Club, Grayhawk Talon Course, We-Ko-Pa Cholla Course, Farr, who is attached to Burghill Valley Golf Club, had built up a three shot lead over the Challenge Tour's Hemstock.
In the final round at Kierland Golf Club Hemstock, who represents Teignmouth Golf Club, posted a superb round of 67. However he was thwarted by Farr who signed off with a round of 68 to win by two shots and claim the $2,300 first prize.
Meanwhile, Kingswinford Golf Centre's Darren Prosser, now a veteran of more than 60 Pro-Am Tour events, shot the round of the week with a sensational 63 at the challenging Grayhawk Talon Course on his way to a popular and well-earned third place.
Once again the action packed Pro-Am offered competitors the chance to attend the Saturday ‘party day’ at The WM Open.
This year a record one day attendance of almost 205,000 was set for a golf event, with a staggering 655,000 fans passing through the gates during the week.
With such massive crowds the event is famous for its raucous atmosphere and is known as the ‘Greatest Show on Grass’. Several competitors got to watch from SkyBox hospitality units at the 16th hole - the loudest in golf.
TPC Scottsdale was to be somewhat quieter three days later when many of the competitors played a Challenge Day over the immaculate course which was presented in tournament condition with the grandstands still in place.
Pro-Am Tour regular Simon Lilly from Wellingborough Golf Club shot the best round with 40 points. Farr was second with 36 points.
All the players raved about the experience, particularly entering ‘The Coliseum’ via the tunnel at the famous par-three 16th .
The Pro-Am also included a Welcome Challenge Day at Grayhawk Golf Club’s Raptor Course which was won by Ollie Farr with 42 points. Simon Lilly, Brocton Hall’s Nevil Bland and Hemstock tied for second with 39 points.
Some competitors also played in ‘The Scottsdale Cup’ a Ryder Cup style match against the members of Desert Highlands Golf Club - one of Arizona’s most prestigious private clubs, and where Jack Nicklaus invented target style desert golf.
This year's match was played for a new trophy dedicated to the memory of Desert Highlands member Mike Gerbich who sadly passed away last summer.
Mike, who was also a former captain of Emirates Golf Club in Dubai, was a huge fan of international golf and a friend to many golfers all around the world. So, amidst much fun and camaraderie, it was fitting the match ended tied.
The Pro-Am team event was dominated by Hemstock and his Teignmouth trio comprising Richard Armitage, Charlie Armitage and Andy Burnham. Craig Goodfellow's team were second, and Farr's team were third.
A number of teams extended their stays to include visits to nearby Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon, Tucson & Sedona.
The Scottsdale Classic Pro-Am is just one of The American Golf Holiday’s Pro-Am Tour events. Others include The California Classic, The Arizona Classic, The Mexican Classic, The Pinehurst Classic, The Sawgrass Classic (following The PGA Tour's PLAYERS Championship) and The Pro-Am Tour at Pebble Beach. Further information can be obtained from The American Golf Holiday, telephone 023 8046 5885 or visit www.pro-amtour.com.