94th Arizona Amateur slated for Tonto Verde


ardon Ken Tanigawa if he doesn’t defend his title in the 94th Arizona Amateur

Championship this summer. You see, Tanigawa, who has won two of the last three AZ Ams, is playing golf on the Champions Tour these days. Yes, that Champions Tour,

where they pay you in real cash. Translated: Tanigawa is no longer an amateur. And he’s looking pretty good in the pro ranks, with a 70.58 scoring average and nearly $60,000 in cash (through his first four tournaments), including a top-10 finish in his maiden event. Tanigawa, who beat Chad

Wilcox in last year’s finale that came down to the last hole at Moon Valley Country Club, said he never could have reached the 50-and-over circuit in the play-for-pay ranks had it not been for his four years keeping his game sharp in AGA events. “I owe a lot to the AGA to

be able to play in those events and have some success, which certainly gave me the

30 | AZ GOLF Insider | SPRING-SUMMER 2018

confidence to take the next step,” said Tanigawa, who also prevailed in the AGA’s biggest tournament in 2015. Tanigawa’s departure

means that there will be a new champion from among the 144 hopefuls who will tee it up July 30 through Aug. 4 at Tonto Verde Golf Club near Rio Verde. This will be the first time the club has hosted the event, which includes 36 holes of qualifying (medal play) followed by five days of match play. “The members are

really excited about our

The Peaks Course at Rio Verde, shown here (top and bottom), will host the qualifying portion of the 94th Arizona Amateur Championship.

opportunity to host this great championship,” said Tonto Verde’s head pro, Jeff Ostlund.” “And we feel it’s really a perfect fit for us right now. “All the bunker work

and renovations we’ve done in the past two years are complete, and both courses are showing well out there.” Tonto Verde might be

known as “members’ courses” for the most part, but the Ranch Course is a strong,

7,005-yard layout, while the Peaks meanders over the side of a small mountain for 6,729 yards. As you might expect, the Peaks will host qualifying while the Ranch will be the test for the 64 players who reach match play. “The Ranch is a much

better match-play golf course, with a lot more risk-reward- type holes, especially on the back nine,” Ostlund pointed out. “It’s a straightforward, tough test of golf where



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