SNGA Tournament of Champions is celebration of amateur golf community

It might not have been quite as compelling as Jack Nicklaus battling and ultimately defeating Arnold Palmer and Tony Lema at the 1963 PGA Tour Tournament of Champions played at the old Desert Inn Country Club, but it was still an extremely special Monday at Bear’s Best Las Vegas for the Southern Nevada Golf Association Tournament of Champions.

Bear’s Best was a fitting choice as host course because the layout features 18 replica holes from courses Nicklaus has designed in the Western United States and Mexico.

More than 50 champions from area clubs and the SNGA, Nevada State Golf Association, Women’s Southern Nevada Golf Association and Nevada State Women’s Golf Association gathered to determine winners in seven divisions. The day concluded with the annual SNGA awards dinner where the 2017 SNGA players and volunteers of the year were recognized.

“We have a lot of great players here in Southern Nevada and it’s incredible to see them together on one golf course and in the same room celebrating together after the round,” SNGA president Tim Quinn said. “People who played professional golf, amateurs of all levels, men and women, enjoyed it. This shows how big the golf community in southern Nevada is. It also gives people who didn’t qualify something to shoot for and try and win a tournament or a club championship and be a part of this next year.”

SNGA Tournament of Champions winners were: Daren Johnson, championship; Frank Acker, senior; Todd Roberts, senior net; Eduardo Ramirez, net; Ronda Henderson, ladies; Cyrus Whitney, silver; and John Kelley, silver net.

“I think a day like this is the epitome of what amateur golf is all about,” Henderson said.

2017 players, volunteers of year

Edward Fryatt, a former Chaparral High and UNLV star, earned his third straight SNGA championship player of the year award. Fryatt, who won four tournaments in 2017, edged second-place finisher Josh Goldstein by less than one point in the annual standings. Fryatt won the final tournament of year at Las Vegas National Golf Club to clinch the honor.

“It just means that I played well at the end of the year,” Fryatt said. “I never go into it with intention of winning player of the year. I tried to concentrate on the tournaments that mean the most to me, the four majors, and the other stuff kind of takes care of itself. With everything on the line at the last event, and going to a course that I haven’t done well on, and to play well, was a real confidence boost.”

Other players of the year were: Frank Abbott, silver; John Kelley, silver net; Nate Ross, net; Gary Carpendale, senior; Don Blanton, senior net.

Other annual awards were: Jackie Pierson and David Hon, volunteers. Boulder Creek and SouthShore, facilities. Coyote Springs, member club.

Drive, chip and putt

Qualifier registration opens Thursday at drivechipandputt.com for juniors for the competition that culminates at The Masters.

Weekly deal

Become an SNGA member for $39 and get a USGA handicap, GreenSaver discount golf rates, membership in Affinity Travel to save on vacations, Golf Summerlin loyalty rates, and 10 percent discount at Las Vegas Golf and Tennis. Sign up at SNGA.org.

Stars on, off course

Ken Young was named person of the year by the PGA of America, Southwest Section, Southern Nevada Chapter.

The golf notebook appears Wednesdays. Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt is a two-time author who has covered golf in Las Vegas for more than two decades. He can be reached at bhurlburt5@gmail.com or @LVGolfInsider.

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