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Publication: East Valley Tribune; Date: 01/27/2005

On The - Fringe

Compiled by Bill Huffman

NOTEWORTHY - Name change: The Nevada Bob?s store on Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard in Scottsdale has been sold to Van?s Golf Shops for an undisclosed price. Bob Depew, the longtime operator of that Nevada Bob?s outlet, closed the deal with Van?s on Tuesday. That brings to 10 the number of Van?s Golf Shops in Arizona ? eight in the Valley and two in Tucson.

Meeting of the minds: The Golf Summit of Arizona, hosted by the Cactus and Pine Golf Course Superintendents Association and the U.S. Golf Association, will take place March 16 at the Arizona Biltmore. Numerous speakers are on the marquee, including Ruffin Beckwith of Golf 20/20, Jeff Lessig from the Southwest Section of the PGA, and Shawn Connors of the Golf Industry Association. For information or to register, call (480) 609-6778 or visit www.cactusandpine.com.

Final thought: With the addition of 1,000 seats and numerous skyboxes, and with an abundance of green tarps and various levels of seating, the 16th hole at the TPC of Scottsdale is beginning to resemble Fenway Park in Boston. "Actually, it?s bigger than Fenway," said Rob Myers, media director for the FBR Open.

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE Ryan Hogue: The Mesa native celebrated his 27th birthday on Tuesday, playing a round of golf with his father and brother at the course he represents as a professional ? Longbow Golf Club in East Mesa.

"It?s my home away from home," said Hogue, who has formed a tight relationship with the club?s owner, Bob McNichols of Daedalus Real Estate Advisors LLC. "It?s a great course, and the people and the atmosphere are the best." Hogue actually grew up playing Longbow long before he made his first impression. That was back in the days when he was a standout on the Red Mountain High School golf team, back when his team won the 1996 state 5A golf championship. Since then, Hogue has been on a golf journey that has taken him through many peaks and valleys, which included a stop at Midland College, a little school in Texas that produced Chad Campbell. Right now, Hogue is halfway up the mountain, set to participate in Monday?s qualifier for the FBR Open, while knowing if he misses out, he?ll play Tuesday in the opening event of the Grey Goose Gateway?s winter season in Scottsdale. "It?s pricey," Hogue said of the FBR?s $400 qualifying fee. "But I?ve already managed to do it once, when I qualified for the 2003 Phoenix Open, so I?ve got to give it another shot, because playing in the (FBR Open) is like a dream of mine.

Some kids grow up dreaming about the Masters or the U.S. Open. For me, it?s Phoenix." Actually, Hogue came within one shot of qualifying for the PGA Tour this year, when he got bounced out at the second stage despite shooting a 9-under-par total at demanding Oak Valley in Beaumont, Calif. "It was almost a whole different year," said Hogue of his close call that would have guaranteed him at least conditional status on the Nationwide Tour. "On the other hand, I don?t really feel like I?ve given it my best shot. That?s why I?m looking forward to the future." But first things first. Hogue will put on a long-drive exhibition as well as a clinic during Longbow?s Golf Fest on Saturday. The festivities, which run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., include free golf instruction, a free junior clinic (1 p.m.), a hole-in-one challenge, and demos on the latest equipment from manufacturers like PING, Nike and Cleveland. And just to spice it up, the first 100 attendees receive a complimentary ticket to the FBR Open.

On his game: "It?s OK. I?ve always been able to shoot low scores, like a (12-under) 59 at Arizona Golf Resort, a 61 (11-under) in the final round of the Parker Open, and a 10-under 62 during the final round of the Rocky Mountain Open. I held the course record at Longbow twice ? a 62 on the old course when I was younger, and a 66 on the new version. But some 15-year-old kid came along during an AJGA event this past year, and erased it with a 64."

On his Saturday exhibition: "As far as giving a long-drive exhibition, well, everybody I play with these days is a long driver. But, no, I don?t have a 50-inch driver like those long-drive guys do. What I plan to do is just help people add a little length to their drive, and do a little clinic on what parts of the game the pros would work on."

Do you know a local golfer whose achievements warrant a profile in Local Knowledge? Contact golfwriter@aztrib.com or call (480) 898-6525

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