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Midwest Deaf Golfers AssociationReport from USDGA President Michael R. Finneran at 70th Midwest Deaf Golfers Association (MDGA) Tournament in St. Charles, Missouri:

Midwest Deaf Golf Association concluded with 121 golfers including 22 ladies with a smashing success. Thanks to its local organization called Greater St. Louis Association of the Deaf (GSLAD) led by Greg Peterson and his wonderful committee. Finally after some 25+ years of absence, Missouri hosted its 2nd MDGA and MDLGA tournaments after Joey Keiling who urged to have it in St. Louis. Joey was named as a honorary chair and crowned as MDLGA King and Winnie Beasant of NJ as MDGA Queen.

Open & First Flight
Second & Third Flight
Super Senior & First Flight

Now back to its core purpose of MDGA, the tournament started with Open Ej Brumm of MO living only two miles from the course who shot even par on the first round along with nine others who shot 70’s. Missouri Bluffs Golf Club in St. Charles, Tom Fazio design course, is hilly and rather short for long hitters. Greens are mushy and slow…. speed is around 9 with lots of ball marks on them. The fairways are nice and no need to bump balls. Bill Roberts of MO who shot 68 the next day after 77 but EJ shot 69 so 5 strokes lead. And then on the last round, EJ was on FIRE hitting 30 on front 9 after lipping out for 29. He kept the pace going with two dropped 15-20 foot putts on 10 & 11. He nearly aced 14th hole, 2 putted from 10-12 feet on 15th hole for his 9th birdie of the day! On par 5 18th hole, needing a birdie for a 61 or an eagle for a 60. He hit his 2nd shot to the very front part of green with the pin all the way back, some 140 feet or so for eagle. Unfortunately, he 3 putted for par but he still turned in his scorecard for a brilliant round of 9 under par 62. It broke the previous MDGA record of 65 was held by Brandon Babineaux.

Kyle Finkbeiner of MI came in distant 3rd with scores of 78-74-80. Curtis Blankenburg of IL and Jeremy Warshaw of CA tied for 4th with Jeremy the youngest golfer at MDGA at 22 recording his personal best score of a 74 in the final day! The oldest golfer is Pat Cleveland who will turn 92 soon and 70 year span.

Shawn Lockhart of IL scored 83 on his last day captured 1st place for the first flight open.

Second flight open winner was a cyclist nut, Stephen Coppock from Iowa.
Third flight open winner went to Chris Bruhart of OH with A+ 100 on his last round score.

Seniors started with John Rush of CO and Mike Finneran of CA who shot 76 following by Bob Bouchillon and Jose Sermeno of CA who shot 77. Mike played 55 years ago in some northernmost west of Iowa named West Okoboji and he was 14 years old that time. Older folks did not appreciate young dude who scored better than them decided to create an age minimum rule of 17+ starting the following year. Then that rule still stands since then Bob Bouchillon of MS went to 4 MDGA opens and won 3 of them and last one was in 1969 when he was only 20 and did not come back till this year. Rush shot 72 the next day while Bob gunned 75 and Mike with 77 and placed 1, 2 and 3 respectively. Then the last round Rush wore Tiger’s favorite color RED and made 4 birdies along the way with 71. Bob came 2nd with 78 and Mike 3rd with 80. Jose shot 80 and came 4th.

Dick Chadwick of AZ/MO placed 1st for the Seniors’ first flight with 83 on last round over David Catt of DC who had an identical score but with the last 9 holes Dick had a better score and Joe Dearing of IL improved 8 strokes on the last round and won Seniors’ second flight.

Super Seniors was given an option to play 9 or 18 holes. All fourteen brave golfers opted for 18. Patrick Cullen of NY held the reign as a champ from last year with 78, 80 and 77. Congrats. Toby Petrie who improved 34 strokes from last year won 1st flight.

For Ladies, they played on the same course as the men, the pace was not too bad for all 120+ golfers. Lauri Ponikiewski of MI won with the scores of 78, 82 and 77. Congratulations.

Another Californian Farley Warshaw won the putting contest after reluctantly joined the crowd. He was pretty stunned when he finally got his last putt over John Rush and won money and a nice golf bag.

Ten golfers were picked for the shootout starting on 14th hole with two player elimination - a real time saver. EJ and Bill tied for the 1st place but EJ won with a sand trap playoff.

John Rush joined the elite MDGA Hall of Fame along with 63 others. Welcome him!!!

MDGA Officers are: President Darrell Hovinen of MI, Vice President James Todd of IL, Secretary Willie Miller of IA, and Treasurer Bob Dramin of IL. Board members: Bill Stricklen of IL, Mark Venz of WI, and David Buntin of IN.

The motion was made and passed that the age for Seniors will be 55+ instead of 60+ starting 2018.

USDGA President Mike Finneran has made the announcement at the banquet about its future by recruiting more young golfers as well as ladies. So the youngest golfers at MDGA are: 22 and 31. Will create some business plans to be executed within 6 months to a year. Also, guidelines for future Deaflympics participants which will be held in the year of 2021.

Next two years of MDGA and MDLGA will be:
2018: Otsego, MN
2019: Lafayette, IN

Till next time!

Reprinted from USA Deaf Golf Association -