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Publication: East Valley Tribune; Date: Mar 1, 2007

On The Fringe

By Bill Huffman


Jay Larscheid
The director of golf at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa was recently honored as the Golf Professional of the Year by the American Junior Golf Association. Larscheid, whose club hosts the annual AJGA ReBath Heather Farr Classic, received the honor during the organization’s annual meeting in Braselton Ga.

Thomas Tangtiphaiboontana the tournament director for the nation’s top junior circuit said, “Jay’s passion and dedication to the AJGA and junior golf surpasses what is expected from the normal golf professional. Through his hard work, he makes the tournament enjoyable for all of the players, parents and staff.’’

The 44-year-old Larscheid grew up in Sioux Falls, S.D., and played golf for the University of South Dakota. After briefly competing on the Dakota Tour, Larscheid got into the golf business — or back into it.

“My dad started me playing when I was 6 years old,’’ said Larscheid, a Gilbert resident. “I started mowing greens at Central Valley Golf Club (in Sioux Falls) when I was 14, and every job I’ve had since has been in golf.’’

In 1986, Larscheid moved to the Valley, where he began working in outside service at McCormick Ranch Golf Club in Scottsdale. Eventually, he became the head professional at McCormick Ranch. In 2001, Larscheid was named the director of golf at Longbow, a job opening he learned about through a former high school friend from South Dakota, Doc Belitz.

Larscheid helped oversee the redesign of Longbow in 2003, and launched the Heather Farr Classic a year later. Additionally, he established a SWPGA Section event for juniors, extended an invitation to the LPGA Girls Club to play and practice at Longbow during the summer, and brought in an Antigua Junior Tour event.

Larscheid admitted he was “very surprised’’ by the honor. “It’s humbling when you think about all the great golf properties there are that host AJGA events,’’ he said of the 75 to 80 courses across the country that host the junior circuit that has produced such alumni as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel. “But our staff is dedicated to junior golf because it builds character and teaches life values more than any other sport.’’


AGA honors: Ken Kellaney of Phoenix earned a record 10th player of the year honor for 2006, and University of Arizona senior Josh Wilks won the Mayfair Award for the lowest stroke average (70.05), the Arizona Golf Association announced this week. Those two players along with Mesa’s Steve Dallas, who was named senior player of the year, will be honored at the organization’s annual awards banquet Tuesday night at Moon Valley Country Club in Phoenix.

Amateur Open winner: Sydnee Michaels, a freshman on the UCLA golf team, holed a 75-yard wedge shot for an eagle on the final hole to win the 2007 Safeway International Amateur Open last week. Michaels’ 3-under-par 69 at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club earned her a spot in the LPGA event, which will be played there March 22-25. Gaining entry into the tournament’s Monday qualifier were Taylore Karle of Scottsdale (71) and Arizona State freshman Anna Nordqvist (73).

State’s best: The 12th annual Thunderbird Invitational will feature 60 of the state’s best juniors on Saturday and Sunday at Aguila Golf Course in Phoenix. For a complete list of the field, visit www.jgaa.org.

And finally: Former Arizona State All-American Phil Mickelson will receive the ASU Alumni Association Achievement Award during ceremonies Tuesday to celebrate the school’s founding. The event will be held at the Tempe Mission Palms beginning at 6 p.m. For tickets, visit www.asu.edu/foundersday.

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