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Arizonan Wins Golcdenwest Sun River Open, Vasi Tops Amateurs

Richard Gaona, an assistant pro at Dobson Ranch in Arizona, shot 12-under par 64-66-130 to win the Goldenwest Southern Utah Open by four shots at Sun River Golf Course Sunday in St. George. It earned him a $3,000 paycheck and “will give me a big boost in confidence,” he said. His victory came against a strong field of top Utah golfers.
Mike Borich and Jimmy Blair, the general manager of Sun River, each shot two under par 142 and shared the Senior Pro title. They won $1250 each.
Roy Christensen won the Super Senior pro title with a score of 149 and took home a $1,000 paycheck, an unheard of amount for a Super Senior division winner. There were only four participants in the division.
On the amateur side of the tournament Afa Vasi, from Cedar City, shot an opening round of 64 and finished with a 70 for an eight under par 134. It was a great two days of golf for Vasi who beat all the pros except Gaona. In the overall field he tied for sxecond place with Derek Fox, a recently reinstated pro.
Rob Bachman and Mike Jorgensen shared the Senior Division title with even par rounds of 142, and Al Simkins won the Super Senior division with a one shot lower score of 141.
Gaona’s victory is clearly the high water mark of a previously oh-hum career which basically consisted of playing his home town’s nine-hole country club course “every day,” teaching his high school coach how to play the game, and never winning a multi-day tournament.
He was born and raised in Miami, Arizona. That’s right! There is a Miami, Arizona.
After a mediocre high school career he went to Mesa Community College where he was fifth and sixth man on the team, but he wanted to get better and kept trying. He got a job at Dobson Ranch and picked the brains of the pros who would come around and he gradually improved. He worked hard and is now an assistant professional at the course.
“Confidence is almost everything in golf,” he said, “and winning a tournament with a strong field like this should give me a big boost.”
His 64 the first day put him in the heat seat, but he handled his emotions well, stayed calm, and shot a 66 the second day for a four shot victory margin.
The tournament also provided a kick-start for Derek Fox, a ‘re-instated professional’ who shot 63 the second day and pocketed his biggest golf payoff of $2,000 for second place in the well-funded tournament. His 63 is good advertisement for his new club fitting business, Club Fix. He hit all 18 greens in that final bogey-free round.
Title sponsor of the tournament was Goldenwest Credit Union and two other major sponsors were What’s Up Southern Utah? and LifeStrength. It was a very successful tournament and gets the 2013 season off to a good start.
The field consisted of 38 professionals and 82 amateurs.
The results:
Professionals130- Richard Gaona, 64-66, $3000134- Derek Fox, 71-63, $2000136- Chris Moody, 66-70, $1500137- Brett Smith, 68-69, $1250138- Nick Killpack, 69-69; Clay Ogden, 68-70, $900, each140- Mark Owen, 70-70, $700141- Bryan Anderson, 72-69; Matt Baird, 72-69; Kyle Chappell, 68-73, $500, each142- Jake Goelemiewski, 71-71, $350143- Dustin Volk, 74-69; Derek Penman, 70-73, $150, each147- Jed Hilton, 75-72148- Joe Summerhays, 73-75153- Ryan Rhees, 81-72154- Tory Gatrell, 75-79156- Joe Deluca, 80-76; Ryan Kartchner, 80-76161- Sawyer Kenny, 77-84165- Jeremy Green, 76-89
Senior Professionals142- Mike Borich, 70-72; Jimmy Blair, 72-70, $1250 each144- Kim Thompson, 74-73, $750145- Scott Brandt, 73-72, $500150- Quentin Sasser, 79-71, $370151- Jeff Thomsen, 74-77152- Craig Sarlo, 75-77157- Tony McQuivey, 78-79158- Dave DeSantis, 80-78
Super Senior Professionals149- Roy Christensen, 77-72, $1000151- Tom Storey, 76-75, $600152- William Breland, 77-75, $460153- Peter Sylvester, 77-76
Championship Amateurs134- Afa Vasi, 64-70136- Hayden Christensen, 71-65137- Jacob Holt, 65-72143- Connor Van Gilder, 74-69144- Mike Sweet, 73-71145- John Busby, 70-75; Taylor Schone, 72-73147- Sammy Cole, 77-70; John Reid, 73-74149- Tommy Higham, 71-78150- Tim Leonard, 72-78; Bubba Hall, 73-77151- Christian Jensen, 73-78153- Dan Feldman, 77-76; Jordan Rogers, 72-81Brayden Weldurn, 79-74156- Jared Moser, 80-76159- Ryan Bolton, 78-81; Colby Robertson, 77-82; Caden Hamill, 77-82162- Aaron Gull, 81-81; Shawn Glover, 81-81; Brad Thorne, 86-76163- Kade Boyer, 81-82; J.W. Horsley, 81-82166- George Williams, 84-82; Jim Madsen, 83-83167- Spencer Goates, 80-87169- Jared Karber, 86-83; Aaron Cox, 80-89175- Ryan Kogan, 83-92178- Vincent Volpa, 83-95179- Aaron Webber, 90-89180- Jonathon Wardenburg, 91-89194- Ryan Coates, 101-93206- Scott Huff, 107-99WD- Scott Lee
Senior Amateurs142- Rob Bachman, 65-77; Mike Jorgensen, 72-70144- Mike Hacker, 71-73146- Brett Sampson, 70-76; Karl Avant, 71-75147- Mark Gressman, 76-71149- Russ Hook, 78-71150- Harold Wallace, 72-78151- Rod Gust, 74-77; Paul Cannon, 73-78152- Kerry Miller, 73-79153- Bill Probst, 75-78; Richard Dibblee, 81-72; Hal Basenberg, 78-75157- Rafe Johnston, 77-80158- Kevin Parrish, 82-76161- Richard Church, 79-82162- Rick Groendyke, 78-84163- Steve Sundloff, 80-83165- Todd Barker, 79-86; Kent Gressman, 80-85; Lester Perry, 80-85166- Ted Gressman, 85-81173- Randy Hammell, 88-85
Super Senior Amateurs141- Al Simkins, 72-69147- Jim Heugly, 72-75; Jerry Miranda, 72-75150- Brent Marriott, 78-72157- Mike McKesson, 72-85; Larry Ayers, 79-78158- Jay Troyka, 79-79160- Dick Chute, 80-80161- James Pierson, 80-81168- Rodney Post, 81-87; Dave Edmonds, 86-82173- Dick Chambers, 86-87178- Frank Katona, 86-92179- Norm George, 89-90180- Marty Grossman, 89-91183- Ken Tueller, 89-94197- Jimmie Thompson, 103-94224- William Hennessey, 113-111NC- Richard CropperWD- Art Cracraft