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A smashing summer

Citizen Staff

Long-held records fall at several area courses



It’s been a hot summer both weatherwise and also in terms of golf course records being set. After almost a decade without any changes in local course records, the past few months have produced these rounds:

- Teenager David McDaniel tied the Oro Valley Country Club course mark with a 9-under-par 63, equaling the record set almost four decades ago by George Shafer, the club’s first head professional.

- Pima Community College golfer Ryan Witz tamed the Fred Enke Golf Course with a 10-under 62, matching the course mark set 11 years ago by Charlie Elkins, the Fred Enke Men’s Club’s perennial champion.

- Teenager Amie Cochran from Tomac, Calif., shot a 9-under-par 62 at Arizona National Golf Club, erasing the women’s course record of 65 held by Suzie Redmond.

- Tucsonan Ben Kern, entering his sophomore year at Kansas State University, established a men’s mark at Moon Valley Country Club in Phoenix in the final round of qualifying for the Arizona Amateur with a 9-under-par 63.

- LPGA Tour pro Meg Mallon fired a 10-under-par 60 at Dell Urich Golf Course in the second round of the Welch’s/Fry’s Championship this spring.

One can take either side of the argument that Mallon’s 60 is not a course record at Dell Urich because it wasn’t off the back tees. The LPGA Tour field played a course over 400 yards shorter than the championship men’s tees.

Yet it’s still the best score posted at Dell Urich. And it did come in tournament play, which is another consideration for a course record.

For example, Tucson professional Rich Barcelo, now competing on the Nationwide Tour, shot a 12-under-par 59 at Arizona National Golf Course a few years back. It wasn’t in a tournament, but there were some friendly wagers involved. Is that the course record? Or is it the 64 by Tucson amateur Michael Lawrence because it came in tournament play, the Arizona Match Play Championship? And while it doesn’t count either way, Rich Mueller, the teaching pro at Arizona National, fired a 62 just last week.

Kern’s 63 at Moon Valley in Phoenix is four strokes higher than the 59 posted by LPGA Tour star and former Wildcat Annika Sorenstam in 2001. But again, they played different sets of tees.

Most local courses don’t keep separate records for women. The only courses that were able to report women’s best were Dell Urich (Mallon’s 60), Randolph North (a 62 by Kristi Albers in 1998 in the LPGA Tournament) and a 69 by Stacey Doggett at the Starr Pass Golf Club.

Another factor in considering course records is that many courses have undergone major changes. For example, PGA Tour pro Mark Wiebe holds the Starr Pass course mark of 61, a score he posted in 1988 when the Tucson Open was held there. However, par for the course was 72 then. Now it’s 71 after the second hole was changed from a par 5 to a par 4. Still, it’s the best score ever at Starr Pass.

Assistant pro Chris Dompier holds the Skyline Country Club course record of 64. Par is now 71 at Skyline after the 10th hole was changed from a par 3 to a par 4. However, Dave Powell, head pro at Canoa Ranch Golf Club in Green Valley, shot a 63 when the course was a par-70 layout.

The Stone Canyon Golf Club has yielded 66s to pros Don Pooley and Jay Synkelma. But two weeks ago Don Yrene from TPC at Scottsdale shot a 67 in a Southwest Section PGA tournament, the best competitive round at the course.

A couple of course records have been retired because that particular course no longer exists. Randolph head golf pro Willie Kane tamed the old Randolph South Golf Course with a 12-under 58 back in 1989. Now it’s the Dell Urich Golf Course, an entirely different track.

Former University of Arizona golfer Matt Bergstrom shot a 61, 11 under par, at The Links at Continental Ranch early this year, only a couple of days after failing to get past Stage 2 in PGA Tour qualifying.

It erased the old mark of 62 set by touring pro Andy Miller, but that score came in a qualifying round for the Tucson Open. Again the question, does it have to be in a tournament to qualify as a course record? The Links closed last month and will reopen in October as The Pines Golf Club at Marana and with an entirely new look.


Course records in the Tucson area, as researched by the Tucson Citizen and reported by courses. Yardage is from the back tees.

Arizona National Golf Club – par 71, 6,856 yards: Michael Lawrence (amateur), 64.

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base – par 72, 6,611 yards: Jay McGrath (amateur), 62, 1977; John Hood (amateur), 62, 1981; Kerry Sutherland (amateur), 62, 2001.

Dell Urich – par 70, 6,500 yards: Meg Mallon (LPGA pro), 60, 2003 (6,167 yards).

Dorado Golf Club – par 62, 3,746 yards: Stanley Volk (amateur), 53; Paul Brown (pro), 53; Sam Harvey (pro), 53; Chuck Brown (amateur) 53; Mike Brown (amateur, twice), 53.

El Conquistador Country Club – Canada Course, par 72, 6,661 yards: Jay Synkelma (pro), 65, 1988. Conquistador Course, par 71, 6,723 yards: Synkelma, 63.

El Rio – par 70, 6,418 yards: Frank Stranahan (amateur), 61, 1952; Don January (pro), 61, 1961; Phil Rodgers (pro), 61, 1962; Buddy Sullivan (pro), 61, 1962; Bob Gaona (pro), 61, 1972.

Forty Niner Country Club – par 72, 6,650 yards: Willie Wood (amateur), 61, 1979.

Fred Enke – par 72, 6,809 yards: Charlie Elkins (amateur), 62, 1992; Ryan Witz (amateur), 62, 2003.

Golf Club at Vistoso – par 62, 6,955 yards: Don Pooley (Champions Tour pro), 64; Mike Lawrence (amateur), 64.

La Paloma Country Club – par 72, 7,008 yards: Robert Gamez (amateur), 63, 1985.

MountainView at SaddleBrooke – par 72, 6,628 yards: Tony Rohlik (pro), 63.

Omni Tucson National Golf Resort & Spa – par 73, 7,100 yards: Johnny Miller (PGA Tour pro), 61, 1975.

Oro Valley Country Club – par 72, 7,008 yards: George Shafer (pro), 63, 1964; David McDaniel (amateur), 63, 2003.

Pusch Ridge Golf Course – par 35, 2,788 yards: Jay Synkelma (pro), 28.

Randolph North – par 72, 6,969 yards: David Frost (PGA Tour pro), 60, 1990.

Rolling Hills Golf Club – par 63, 4,146 yards: Art Brown (pro), 53, 1968.

Santa Rita Country Club – par 71, 6,319 yards: Paul Erbling (amateur), 63, 1990.

Silverbell – par 72, 6,786 yards: Armen Dirtadian (amateur), 63, 1979; Tom Tatum (pro), 63, 1979; Fred Marti (pro), 1987.

Skyline Country Club – par 71, 6,102 yards: Chris Dompier (pro), 64, 2002.

Starr Pass Golf Club – par 71, 7,010 yards: Mark Weibe (PGA Tour pro), 61, 1988.

Stone Canyon Golf Club – par 72, 7,300 yards: Don Pooley (Champions Tour pro), 66; Jay Synkelma (pro), 66.

Sun City Vistoso – par 72, 6,759 yards: Larry Farmer (pro), 67, 1992.

Tucson Country Club – par 72, 6,840 yards: Dr. Ed Updegraff (amateur), 61, 1954.

Ventana Canyon Golf Resort & Spa – Mountain Course, par 72, 6,907 yards: David Frost (PGA Tour pro), 64, 1988. Canyon Course, par 72, 6,819 yards: Jerry Foltz (pro), 64, 1989.


Tucson touring pro Don Pooley, the 2002 U.S. Senior Open champion, holds record at two courses here: Stone Canyon Golf Club (66) and Golf Club at Vistoso (64).

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