Friday, June 17, 2011

Young golfers are the aims of Gates shot makers

C. Gates tourney collects junior golf bucks

Kevin Cincotta follows his iron shot during Sunday’s Chuck Gates Memorial at Sun Valley. Photo by Willy Cook

     Golf can be a pricey sport, but it’s the kind of worthwhile, play-by-the-rules activity that should be open to any young person with a desire to whack the ball straight as an arrow and stick it in the cup.

     That’s one of the main premises of the Chuck Gates Youth Endowment, which has raised over $100,000 in funds over the last 14 years—indeed, over nearly a generation.

     The money has helped WoodRiverValley youngsters purchase golf clubs, pay greens fees and benefit from teaching.

     Junior golf in the WoodRiverValley was the winner Sunday at the 14th annual Chuck Gates Memorial golf tournament on Sun Valley Golf Course. The best ball scramble attracted 18 foursomes on a sunny afternoon.

     In all, this year’s tournament raised $5,000, according to Chuck Gates Youth Endowment president Roger Roland.

     The low gross winners with a 58 at Sun Valley Sunday were Tom Ferries, Shawn Aicher, Mike Neary and Mark Osmer.

     Winning the Chuck Flight net were Joel Evans, Hunter Storey, Dillon Witmer and Ryan Stavros with a 57. Gates Flight winners with 58 net were John Kearney, John Kearney Jr., Charlie Evans and Brock Mary.

     The Chuck Gates Youth Endowment, a non-profit organization that accepts tax deductible funds, donated $500 to The First Tee of Idaho and $1,500 to the AtkinsonPark junior golf program.

     Accepting the $500 check was Pete Stickney, executive director of The First Tee of Idaho based in Eagle, Id.

     It is a nonprofit organization with a mission to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values, and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.

     This year’s tourney was dedicated to passionate Wood River Valley athlete and sports fan Timothy Oliver Appleton, who died April 26, 2010 at age 49 after a 20-year fight with cancer. Appleton spent 27 years in the valley and co-founded Apple’s Bar & Grill in 1988.

     In past years the tourney was dedicated to Doyle Corbett, Bill Butterfield, Bob Doyle and Mary Lou Simpson.

     This year, tournament organizers placed Appleton’s bag of golf clubs on the par-3, 105-yard sixth hole and invited golfers to pick out one of Tim’s clubs and play closest-to-the-pin, for fun and a prize.

     The winner was Chuck Gates Youth Endowment vice president Mike Pirzynski, who stuck his ball three feet from the hole and earned a $50 Christiania gift certificate for his effort.

     Pirzynski spent eight years as a Sun Valley assistant golf professional. He said he knows the value of junior golf and has seen in the 14 years of the Gates tournament how young golfers have developed here, some now challenging for state high school golf championships and going on to college.

     Men’s and women’s long drive winners were Matt Meador and Jennifer Harper. Closest-to-the-pin winners were Dillon Witmer and Jennifer Harper.

     Alvaro Jiraldo, 11, won the second annual 18-hole junior putting contest with a score of 57, ahead of second-place Payton Bacca, 9, who carded 67, and third-place Tate Stearns, 8, who shot 77. The eighth annual Chuck Gates Junior Golf Tournament is Friday, July 8 at Bigwood Golf Course.

     The tournament is named for Chuck “C.” Gates, who died Dec. 6, 1997 in Nevada at age 51. A passionate golfer, Gates started Ketchum’s first radio station, KRMR, and was a co-founder of the Idaho Mountain Express newspaper. Here are the 2011 results:

Chuck Flight (9 teams)

     Low gross—Tom Ferries, Shawn Aicher, Mike Neary and Mark Osmer with 58.

     1st net—Joel Evans, Hunter Storey, Dillon Witmer and Ryan Stavros with 57.

     2nd net—Rick Hickman, Dick Andersen, Wally Huffman and Jack Sibbach with 59.

     3rd net—Peter Stickney, Terry Fowler, Jim McElveen and Keith Perry with 59.

     4th net—Dave Penn, Matt Meador, Clif Neely and Matt Kaufman with 59.

     Other Chuck teams:

     59—Mark Brown, Kevin Cincotta, Richard Kraatz and Keith Larson.

     60—Doyle Corbett, Tyler Spence, Callum Stearns and Aimee Evans.

     61—Bill Gehrke, John Rheinholt, Paul Spitzer and Marsha Rankin.

     67—Jeff Petersen, Ben Brunelle, Amanda Stelling and Rickie Jeneson.

Gates Flight (9 teams)

     1st net—John Kearney, John Kearney Jr., Charlie Evans and Brock Mary with 58.

     2nd net—Happy Hawn, Jolie Dunn, Jennifer Harper and Jill Rubin with 61.

     3rd net—Tom Hale, Janet Hale, Jackie Damerel and Doug D’Andrea with 62.

     4th net—Mike Wirth, Buggs McNamara, Mike Shanks and Wray Farmin with 62.

     Other Gates teams:

     63—Bob Dunn, Gerry Ryan, Mike Fisher and Neal Morrow.

     63—Peter Caldara, Jim Hopkins, Tom Ziegler and Mike Lloyd.

     64—Roger Roland, Mike Pirzynski, Zach Venzon and Cuyler Swindley.

     65—Tony McLaughlin, David Johnson, Linda Johnson and Doug McElmurry.

     66—Janet Appleton, Glenn Thomas, Mike Murphy and Judy Locke.

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