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Waste Management Phoenix Open Media Day

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Each year before the Waste Management Phoenix Open, The Thunderbirds, hosts of the event, treat local media to a preview of the challenges that the TOUR players will be facing during tournament week. This year they teed it up on Tuesday, January 12 at TPC Scottsdale.

As always, the golf course was in great shape, with the greens rolling fast and true. And, as usual, the buzz after the event centered around the thick rough.

“The higher handicappers in my group definitely struggled to get out of the rough. They basically could only advance the ball 15 to 20 yards,” said Chris Kaplan, assistant media director, Waste Management Phoenix Open. “The rough will obviously grow a bit longer in the few weeks remaining before the tournament, but it’s really the thickness that presents the challenge. It’s the only defense that the golf course has and it’s a good one.”

This year marked the first playing of a special closest-to-the-pin competition called Charity Swing held on the famed 16th hole. Twelve participants were given one swing from 151 yards, and the closest to the pin, Allan Solheim, was awarded $2,500 for the charity of his choice. Rick Levy earned $1,500 with a second-place finish and Marty Monaghan earned $1,000 for third. The balance of the funds – $10,000 total purse put up by The Thunderbirds – was divvied up among other Thunderbirds Charities.

Although it was a clear day, lighting struck, again, when Terry McAndrew made an ace on the par-4 17th from 300 yards. That one swing resulted in a team score of -6 on the 17th hole alone vaulting his team into contention, eventually tying for 1st place before losing in a scorecard-playoff tiebreaker. Of course, this harkens back to Andrew Magee’s hole in one on the same hole back in 2001. As the story goes, his tee shot bounded onto the green, ricocheted off of Tom Byrum’s putter and rolled into the hole. This is still the only par-4 ace ever recorded on the PGA TOUR, if not one of the more unusual.

First Place (-9)
Todd Kelly
Terry McAndrew
Dave Wood
Dave Gilbertson
Second Place (-9)
Jason Groshak
David Difilipo
Dan Pohl
Dan Schott
Third Place (-8)
Greg Ellis
Marty Monaghan
Wes Bolyard
Chris Baker