12 Feb 18
Billy Hemstock with his winner's cheque
The 18th annual staging of the popular Scottsdale Classic Pro-Am once again served up an actioned packed week in the Arizona desert with most competitors arriving early to watch The PGA Tour's WM Phoenix Open.
Record crowds swarmed to TPC Scottsdale, especially on the Saturday when a staggering 217,000 people attended the famous "party day" at the "Greatest Show on Grass".
The Scottsdale Classic Pro-Am started with a Welcome Challenge Day at Grayhawk Golf Club which was just under 3 miles from where Gary Woodland closed out his victory in a play-off at TPC Scottsdale. Meanwhile at Grayhawk Jason Kelly would secure victory by two points from Pro-Am Tour regular Darren Prosser.
In the 72-hole Professional Individual Tournament, Teignmouth Golf Club's Billy Hemstock started strongly with a superb 66 at the exclusive FireRock Country Club, one of Scottsdale's top private clubs. In the second and third rounds back to back 72s - at the difficult SunRidge Canyon Golf Course followed by We-Ko-Pa Golf Club's stunningly scenic Saguaro Course, would give him a comfortable lead heading into the final round.
But having finished second in the event twice in the past Hemstock would take no chances in the final round at the superbly manicured Kierland Golf Club by shooting a sensational 65 for a 9-shot victory over Cooden Beach professional Paul Nessling, with James Davies and Darren Prosser four shots back in third.
On the middle Wednesday competitors were offered a choice of two separate golf options including a Challenge Day at TPC Scottsdale - which was considerably quieter 3 days after the raucous atmosphere of the WM Phoenix Open, especially for those entering the famous coliseum around the famous 16th hole - the loudest hole in golf. Jason Kelly had the best score of the day with 37 points, with James Davies two points back in second.
Also on the Wednesday some competitors played in “The Scottsdale Cup” a Ryder Cup style match played 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. For the first time in six years the Scottsdale Classic European Team were able to secure a 3½ - 2½ victory, amidst much fun, banter and camaraderie.
From left to right: Simon Bullions, James Rock, Bruce Whipham & Ian Bullions
The Pro-Am Team event resulted in a very popular victory for Bruce Whipham's team of Ian Bullions, Simon Bullions & James Rock. The Kirby Muxloe Professional who is without doubt one of the great characters of professional golf has played in all 18 Scottsdale events, and the win was greeted with much celebration.
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 at their web-site www.pro-amtour.com.