50th FWGAD

July 29, 2019

Mike Finneran, 50th FWGAD Tournament Chair

50th FWGAD Tournament Summary

Hey Golfers and friends…

The 50th Annual Far West Golf Association of the Deaf (FWGAD) took place at Poppy Ridge in Livermore, California. Easily shattering the previous record of 81 (San Diego 2004), one hundred and twenty-three golfers (123) participated in this historic event led by Chair Mike Finneran and his horde of wonderful volunteers especially the live scorings where the world watched how golfers fare.

Poppy Ridge Golf Course

Poppy Ridge Golf Course is owned by Northern California Golf Association (NCGA) and their organization did a terrific job hosting our FWGAD Tournament. The participants, volunteers and their staff all had a great time. Poppy Ridge Golf Course is in smack dab of the beautiful wine country of Livermore. With ridges and vistas that can be seen for miles in all directions. Over 3,000 acres of toasted, savannah covered hills. Only one tree came in play, the large live oak tree near the 8th hole on the Chardonnay 9. 


Open: 6,293 Yards 72.4 Rating 132 Slope
Senior: 5,814 Yards 70.2 Rating 126 Slope
Super Seniors: 5,267 Yards 66.0 Rating 120 Slope
Women 5,267 Yards 70.9 Rating 126 Slope

Shotgun Format

We endured through the valley winds with the heat index hovering around 95 degrees all week. Thankfully, the marshals were able to distribute water bottles to keep the golfers hydrated!

General Gene Duve put on his Norman Schwarzkopf face and led his marshals to keep pace of play. We never had any trouble with pace of play except for a couple of difficult par 3s which is to be expected. General Gene has earned his 5 stars. Huge credit goes to Gene and his team!

Open (48 Entries)

First Round: 6-time Past Champion Doren Granberry showcased his usual golf wizardry started off with a 74 and led over his fellow 3-time past champion Louis Pedroza and newcomer Pono Tokokia by one. First time FWGAD participant Colton Armstrong started strong with a 78 which included an eagle from 150 yards.

Second Round: Louis led by one over Pono and two over Doren.

Final RoundPono shot 73 and took over the lead for good as he cruised by 4 strokes over Louis and Doren.  This is Pono’s first champion and we have a hunch that it will not be his last.

Seniors (40 Entries)

First Round: Tim Dapp shot 75 leading by one over John Rush but he had to withdraw due to back injury.

Second Round: John Rush led 4 strokes over Jim Gurney and Mike Finneran and Wally DeVe was 5 behind.

Final Round: Mike shot 35 front 9 dreaming to shoot his age but John Rush would not be rushed on as he played solid golf to capture his first FWGAD Champion. Both Mike and John shot 74.

Super Seniors (29 Entries)

Ed Waterstreet the past 2-year reigning champion ran out of his magic as Pat Cullen who joined from Rochester and won the Super Senior category by some 20+ strokes.   

Women (6 Entries)

Melissa Stockton shot a dazzling 76 during the first round and never looked back. Patty Lopez and Susan Zupnik were in the hunt for the whole 3 days. Melissa claimed the champion wire to wire.

Putting Contest

Deane Sigler, borrowing a buddy’s putter while showing up on the putting green. To his surprise, he dunked his 35-foot putt leaving all the remaining competitors standing in line out in the flat. It was early in the competition and nobody could emulate his feat. Congratulations.

SHOOTOUT Competition

On Wednesday after the second round, EIGHT former FWGAD champions met on the first hole at the Zinfandel course to try to eliminate each other for the title of Champion of the Champions!

Jerry Nichols was assigned to do the task of running the Shootout.

The champions were: Mike Finneran, Patty Lopez, Doren Granberry, Wally DeVe, Larry Farovitch, Robert Ritch, John Rush and Louis Pedroza.

Four players BIRDIED the first hole while three players parred it. Patty Lopez saw her par putt slide by the hole to become the first casualty.

The second hole, a 155 yard par 3 hole saw Mike and Larry hit their balls into the water while the others found the green/collar. Wally’s ball landed less than two feet from the cup! Larry made a 5 to be eliminated. Then Robert was eliminated on the 3rd hole where his ball was in a tough rough and could not recover.  

On the 4th hole, Wally found the trap on the right side while Doren lost his ball in the right rough. Doren made a good recovery to avoid elimination while Wally wasn’t able to make his par saving putt to bow out of the competition.

Louis, Doren and Mike birdied 5th hole par 5 and John Rush vainly tried to match with the others but the ball wouldn’t cooperate with him. Shucks, John.

All three (Mike, Doren and Louis) parred on the 6th par 4.

At the 7th hole, Louis parred while Mike and Doren bogeyed. Doren’s chip shot was closest to the pin so Mike was eliminated. 

At the 9th hole, Louis’s second shot was short while Doren hooked his second to the left pf the green/sand trap. Louis chipped to 8 feet of the pin. Doren hit his third shot into the trap. He then blasted out of the trap to see his ball land two feet from the pin. He made his putt for a 5. Louis missed his par putt. A playoff!!!!

Shootout coordinator Jerry Nichols then chose a spot above the green. Louis chipped to five feet from the pin. Doren chipped four feet from the pin to win the shootout! 

Banquet at The Club at Ruby Hill 

It was a nice closure for all golfers and friends including volunteers at a beautiful country club. Dinner was deliciously served with mahi-mahi or roasted chicken and the golf decorated cake was beautifully set up as a centerpiece. Ron Rhodes and Clark Brooke were emcees and they got their job done with Lyle Hinks’ FWGAD history. Trophies (Flags) were handed out to winners. Bob Ellis and Mike Finneran mentioned a bit of each Hall of Famer with the help of slides. This year the FWGAD board honored three Hall of Fame inductees: Byron Cantrell, Wayne Miller and Jose Sermeno. Congratulations. Gifts were given to three faithful golf attendees: Ed Leighton with 41 years, Jerry Nichols with 37 but 33 straight years of attendance and Lyle Hinks with 32. Everyone left home with wonderful memories….

Till next year in Mesquite, Nevada hosted by Wasatch Golf Association of the Deaf!