Milwaukie, Ore. (Sunday, October 17, 2010) - After firing the only score that was even par or better in the first round and taking a narrow 1-stroke lead into the final round, Lara Tennant of Portland, Ore. was able to escape with a wire-to-wire victory to capture the 2nd OGA Players Championship at Waverley Country Club in Milwaukie, Ore.
With a birdie on the closing hole, she finished the tournament shooting a 1-over par 72-73—145 on her home course to edge Gregg Guernsey of Vancouver, Wash. by 1-stroke. Guernsey opened the final round scoring a 3-under par 33 and had a 1-stroke lead over Tennant but was unable to keep the pressure on her throughout the round. A barrage of bogeys on holes 11 thru 14 including a double bogey on the difficult par-3 11th was too much to recover from, especially when facing a tenacious experienced competitor like Tennant. Guensey’s sole consolation was earning the top spot among the Senior Division Men who competed in the championship.
“What a great event,” said Tennant. “I was down at the turn and I knew I really had to focus. She added, “It’s great to play against the boys.” With this title, she becomes the first woman to win the Players Championship crown. Last year’s inaugural Players Champion, Chris Maletis, 62, of Portland, Ore. came from the ranks of the Senior Men’s division, but he was unable to defend his title due to injury.
The OGA Players Championship is the first championship of its kind in the nation. “In many of our events there is a senior and open division or a women’s and men’s division where the players compete on the same course on the same days for separate titles,” noted Whittaker. “I’m proud that we’ve created a competition that both honors our best players as well as allowing them to compete both with and against each other regardless of their respective divisions.” To provide an equitable opportunity for all representative to win the overall title, each division plays from a different set of tees ranging from 5,561-yards for the Senior Women to 6,542-yards for the Men.
“Our Tournament of Champions really honors all the best players from each OGA Member Club,” reflected OGA Director of Tournament Operations Brent Whittaker as he addressed the contestants at the Players banquet Saturday night. “To add more exemptions into that event for those players that have exhibited the best performance at state, regional and national events would take away from that honor.”
“David Jacobsen, a member at Waverley who sits on the OGA Championship Committee, suggested we come up with an event specifically to honor the best of the best and then went the extra mile to have the founding member club of the OGA be the host for this unique championship its first two years,” he added.
Players are invited to play in this event based on the performance points that they’ve earned during the year. Points are earned based on a schedule of numerous state, regional and national events. They are paired according to their respective divisions in the first round, then repaired based on score for the final round regardless of division.
The youngest person in this year’s field was Monica Vaughn, 15, of Reedsport, Ore. who this year became the youngest person ever in its 101-year history to win the Oregon Amateur and the third women in the combined 80-year history to hold both the Women’s Amateur and Girls Junior Amateur titles while Joan Edwards-Powell, 50 years her senior, was the oldest to compete.
Awards were also handed out to the top player representing each division. The best round of the tournament was posted by Portland State Golf coach Bill Winter who posted a 1-under par 71 to finish in a tie for third along with one of his PSU protoge’s Jake Wagner. Both finished 2-stroke off the pace and would have to settle with sharing honors atop the Men’s Division representatives.
The next best Women’s Division player was Brie Stone of Veneta, Ore. who claimed the top spot among the remaining women. Joan Edwards-Powell improved upon her first round score by 10-strokes. In addition to capturing the top spot among the Senior Women who competed in this event, the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Famer will be inducted into the PIL (Portland Interscholastic League) Hall of Fame this evening.
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