FRIDAY, 26 MAY 2017









48th FWGAD Golf Tournament Summary

by Michael Finneran

(edited by Mark Hansen)

The 48th annual of Far West Golf Association of the Deaf (FWGAD, yes it is FWGAD not FWDGA unlike other Deaf golf associations - why?? More on this later) was held at a beautiful Wildfire golf courses (Arnold Palmer and Nick Faldo) in Phoenix at the JW Marriott Resort.   68 golfers came and enjoyed the three-day outing yet they complained how difficult the courses but not the weather as we started at 7 am.  The LPGA Tournament was held there a couple months before where the winner scored 22 under par.  Top Deaf golfers couldn't match that as the winner of the Open scored 15 over par.  Whew!

Doreen Granberry who moved from Redding, CA to Phoenix, AZ last Fall adjusted quickly to playing the dry Arizona courses and captured the championship by two strokes.  He shot 74 on the last day after 76 and 82.  Dano Aldaz, a young veteran who was absent from participating in Deaf golf tournaments for a couple years due to a new baby shot 78, 79 & 77.  He sure knows how to shoot in 70’s and had the most birdies, 8 total for the tournament.  Third place goes to Siammone Manivong who moved to Southern California from Laos when he was 7 years old shot 76, 78 & 81.  Fourth places go to James Kim with 85, 76 & 84 who deals his way from Las Vegas and Patty Lopez who challenged guys in the Open with 84, 79 & 82. She teed off from white tees just same as the men golfers.   She stated to me her wish was to play with the Seniors, not the Open as she turned 62 recently.   She was the “king of the hill” once in 1982 at the age of 27, beating runner-up Doren Granberry by 1 stroke and Mike Finneran into 3rd place by 11, the only woman ever to hold the Open title.  James Kim has the tournament’s lowest individual putts total at 25 in the second round.  Had James putted stellar likewise in the first and third rounds, Doren would definitely feel the heat of James’ pursuit for the title.

Mike Finneran who has been traveling a lot and playing different courses on this planet; just played his 485th golf course at Tatum Ranch in Phoenix that he has never played before winning the Seniors with 80, 77 & 81. Wonder whoever that person shadowed as a poor chronicler for Mike can publish that incredibly long list?  John Rush who hails from Denver and won 2003 FWGAD golf tournament came in 2nd place with the scores of 79, 84 & 80.  He putted 3 times within a few feet during his 2nd round which might hurt his chance of winning the FWGAD Seniors title.  Third place goes to Jose Sermeno who is really 62 yet his youthful face makes us look OLD around him.  He shot 83, 87 & 88.   Both Open and Seniors golfers played from the same “white” tees so if you see aged golfers’ low scores, they should be commended.  

Ed Waterstreet’s preparedness had worked in his favor to win the Super Seniors playing from the forward (so-called “red”) tees as he has been practicing from that tees.   Call that “home-field advantage”, would you?  He shot 90, 97 & 88   Second place at total of four strokes behind (94-90-95) goes to Ed Leighton whose 39th FWGAD appearance was recognized by the Board for his everlasting dedication.  Ken Loui who came along with John Rush and Deane Sigler from Colorado finished in 3rd place with 97, 95 & 90.

Outside of FWGAD’s regional boundaries, I would like to recognize some golfers who came in from Georgia, Alabama, Maryland, Florida and Wisconsin.  They are: Carl Stephenson, Paul Kulick, Dan Hall & Jeremy Warshaw, David Ramirez & Jim Hynes and Mark Venz respectively.   Also three Texans came:  Linda Bradford, Walt Camenisch and Paul Rutowski and they did not bring cowboy hats nor boots.   

Ron Rhodes, a Hall of Famer, continues the term as President for another year.   His quick wits made us laugh during the meeting and as an emcee at the “banquet”.  Jose Sermeno was elected as Vice President.  Wally DeVe who won the FWGAD Open last year had to withdrew from the tournament due to injury on his leg and will continue as Secretary/Treasurer for another year.   President announced that Jeremy Warshaw will be our Media Director for FWGAD in the next event.  Thanks to Mark Hansen who did an outstanding job as Media Director for 8 years up to and including this 2017 event.  

Out of the 12 golfers who won Closest to the Pin, three golfers won twice; David Ramirez, Mike Finneran and Dick Leon, perhaps Dick’s height is a secret to his success.   Wayne Miller needs to learn how to do better with this as he is the tallest person of all FWGAD participants. 

A casual banquet was held at Stone Creek golf course nearby.  Past winners and Hall of Famers toasted champagne to the 2017 Open champ, Doreen Granberry.   Fans and golfers merrily mingled into the evening.   

Where will the 49th FWGAD be held in 2018?   Washington State. Then the 50th will be held in Livermore, CA with his fabulous committee members.   Details are forthcoming. 

FWGAD want to recognize Tory Watson and his hard-working committee members:  Jed Barish, Phil Major, Mike Decker and David Makowichuk for making the tournament possible.  What a learning curve for him and others.  Thanks.   

Oh, yes before closing this, FWGAD - why?   Emil Ladner and other Founders want to see FWGAD’s uniqueness with its acronym unlike others so that is how the name has created.  Long live FWGAD!!!