Summer is here, and that means that some of my fellow PGA Professionals have found their game in full stride or are about to be tested at a National Championship.

First off, congrats to PGA Professional Ryan Benzel for winning the 2015 Oregon Open Invitational, featuring the National Car Rental Pro-Am, at Brasada Canyons.  Benzel of Sahalee CC birdied the final hole to win by two strokes and take the title of Oregon Open Invitational Champion. Two strokes back of Benzel was Darren Black, PGA, of Rainier G&CC and amateur Justin Kadin of Tetherow GC. Thanks to Zach Swoffer, PGA, and Daniel Wendt, PGA, for being great hosts to this championship.

As I write this article, I would be remiss if I didn’t congratulate our 8 PGA Professionals for competing in the 49th PGA Professional National Championship, contested late in June (26th through 29th) at Turning Stone Resort in New York. We hope to see all 8 of our PNWPGA’ers in the low 20 scores that earn a place in the 98th PGA Championship, to be held at Baltusrol Golf Club in July. Representing the Pacific Northwest Section PGA are PGA Professionals Clint Ables of Tri-City CC, Jason Aichele of Meadow Springs CC, Tim Feenstra of Broadmoor GC, Ryan Malby of Iron Horse GC, Brian Nosler of Golf in the Pearl, Jason Pitt of Chewelah G&CC, Tony Robydek of Pro Golf Discount – Tacoma, and Brian Thornton of Meridian Valley CC. Congrats to you all, we will be rooting you on. For full championship coverage, go to http://www.pga.com/professionalchampionship/.

And to not forget about the “veterans”. Entries are now being accepted for the Senior PGA Professional Championship to be contested at Illahe Hills CC in Salem, OR. The event will be held Wednesday, September 7 to Thursday, September 8. The entry deadline is Wednesday, August 24th at 11:59 PM.  (Please pay close attention to the entry deadline for this event.  There will no longer be a late entry option to this championship. The PGA of America recently changed to the entry process to a 5-year calculation which determined spots we are playing for and purse calculations.) Sign up now to be part of the fun and earn one of 7 PNWPGA spots in the National event, to be played at PGA Golf Club’s Wanamaker and Ryder courses on November 17-20, 2016.

Finally, we turn to the future stars of the Northwest, our Junior Golfers. The 2016 Pacific Northwest Junior PGA Championship was held at the Home Course in early June. Congrats to Ellie Slama of Salem, OR and Spencer Tibbits of Vancouver, WA for winning the overall boys’ and girls’ divisions. By winning, Tibbits and Slama qualified for the 41st Junior PGA Championship presented by Under Armour and Genesis Networks, Aug. 9-12 at Wannamoisett Country Club in Rumford, Rhode Island. Slama, 17, had a final-round 70 for a two-day total of 139 and a 13-stroke victory over Brittany Kwon of Bremerton, WA and Jalayne Martinez of Pasco, WA. Tibbits, also 17, posted a final-round 72 for a two-day total of 143 and won in a playoff against Joe Highsmith of Lakewood, WA and RJ Manke also from Lakewood, WA. Tibbits won on the third extra playoff hole. Tannica Porter of Eugene, OR won the Girls 13-15 age division after scores of 77-77-154 to win by one stroke over Lauryn Nguyen of Seattle, WA. Scotty Kennon of Bandon, OR won the Boys 13-15 age division with rounds of 74-69-143 by four strokes over Victor Wang of Sammamish, WA. Suzanne Tran of Poulsbo, WA won the Girls 12 & Under by one stroke with scores of 82-89-171. She won by one stroke over Grace Lee of Bellevue, WA. Daniel Kim of Mukilteo, WA won the Boys 12 & Under with rounds of 71-70-141 to win by three strokes over Graham Moody of Vancouver, WA.

The Junior PGA Championship has traditionally been a stepping-stone for many of today’s PGA and LPGA Tour professionals, as well as current collegiate stars. Past Junior PGA Championship competitors who have gone on to successful professional careers on tour include: Inbee Park, Luke Guthrie, Trevor Immelman, Cristie Kerr, Justin Leonard, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Grace Park, Dottie Pepper, Jordan Spieth, Lexi Thompson, David Toms, Michelle Wie and Tiger Woods. We hope to see our PNWPGA Champions get better and better!

Hope summer is treating you all well so far, and that you get out as often as you can to play a round of golf, teach the game to your patrons, and, most, importantly, find time to spend with your family.

Best
Bryan Tunstill