United States Professional Hickory Golf Championship
The United States Golf Teachers Federation believes there is significant value associated with the history of our game and maintaining links to past golf champions and teachers. Keeping history relevant helps us become better teaching professionals, business people and leaders. The USGTF encourages all members to participate in this annual event.
2016 Hickory Golf Championship – Results
WORLD HICKORY OPEN CHAMP SETS NEW US PRO HICKORY RECORD
England’s Andrew Marshall, the reigning World Hickory Open champion, had too much game for the professionals vying for the John Shippen Cup at the USGTF-sponsored United States Professional Hickory Golf Championship, played over the historic Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club in Tampa, Florida, this past February. His 3-under-par 70 was but one shot higher than the score posted by John McLeod in the 1925 Florida Open played at this same venue, and set a new scoring record score in winning the event for the first time.
The Tom Bendelow links at 6,400 yards was described by the Tampa Tribune as a long and difficult layout when it was opened in 1922. In the hickory golf era, that was certainly true, as most courses of the time were up to 400-500 yards shorter. Today’s irrigated fairways also stretch the length even further for modern hickory players. It did not seem to affect Marshall, however, who at one point was five under the magic number before finding a bad lie in the bunker at number 17. In addition to the $1,500 first prize, Marshall’s name will be affixed to the John Shippen Cup, for whom the tournament is dedicated. Shippen was America’s first golf professional and played in the U. S. Open at Shinnecock Hills on Long Island, New York, in 1896.
The USPHGC is sponsored by the United States Golf Teachers Federation and open to all golf professionals, male and female. Players compete for the same $5,000 prize fund associated with the original Florida Open. The golf course is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and one of only three in the state.
This year’s tournament included players from five countries and seven states. In only its sixth year, the event is becoming one of the major championships in hickory golf.
“The championship continues to grow each year as more and more professionals recognize the importance of remembering the game’s past and traditions,” said tournament director and founder Mike Stevens.
Ki Shui Liao from Orlando, Florida, set a new ladies scoring record, firing a 79 to take the honors in the that division while outscoring several of the men competitors.
To commemorate the fact that the first U.S Open and U.S. Amateur were originally played in the same week on the same venue, Stevens in 2015 added the United States Amateur Hickory Golf Championship to the day’s activities. Will Peterson of Orlando, playing from the pro tees, captured his second U.S. Amateur Hickory Championship and was awarded the Oscar Bunn Trophy to commemorate the Shinnecock Indian who played in the 1896 U.S. Open along with Shippen. There was also a Heritage Division for amateurs, using handicaps, and the winner was Bob Chew from Weeki Wachee, Florida.