The United States Professional Hickory Golf Championship will be played on Monday, February 20, 2012 and all entrants will be playing with authentic or replica pre 1930 golf equipment and balls. Clubs are provided by Dr. Jay Harris of Pinehurst, NC and the balls come from McIntyre Golf in San Diego, CA. The tournament is dedicated to preserving and honoring the history of early golf in America. The tournament venue, Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club also hosted the original Florida Open in 1925. In the field that day were Gene Sarazen, Walter Hagen and all the best professional golfers of the time. The 1922 Tom Bendelow course remains true to its original design and will be played at 6.400 yards as it was in 1925.
Leroux Ferreira from Kingwood, Texas is the defending champion. Playing with clubs dating back to 1920 or earlier, Ferreira carded a 79 and won $1,500, the same payout awarded to Leo Diegel for winning the Florida Open. David Frost of the Champions Tour finished second two shots back. The field of 26 players included one female professional, Jennifer Cully of Apollo Beach. It should be noted that the tournament is open to all golf professionals, male and female.
The tournament is also dedicated to the memory of America’s first golf professional, John Shippen. The winners name is affixed to the permanent John Shippen Cup that resides in the Temple Terrace clubhouse. John Shippen played in the 1896 U.S. Open finishing tied for 6th place receiving $10 for his effort. Shippen started in golf as a caddy at Shinnecock Hills and was taught to play by the club’s Scottish professional Willie Dunn. Also this year, proceeds from sponsors will be donated to the American Lakes Wounded Veterans Golf Course in Tacoma, Washington.
The United States Professional Hickory Golf Championship was originated by Mike Stevens, teaching pro at MacDill Air Force Base and the 2010 National Hickory Open Champion.
The tournament has a $5,000 prize fund with an entry fee of $100. Hickory golf clubs will be supplied to competitors who do not have their own set of clubs. Period balls will also be supplied.
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