Wednesday, August 16, 2017

PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Introduces New Venues, Grows Participation and Drives Business

(LAS VEGAS) — The 2017 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience, Aug. 14-16, welcomed thousands of PGA Professionals, golf buyers and business leaders from 45 U.S. states and 30 countries to Las Vegas for three busy days of merchandise sourcing, product testing, education, professional networking and special events.

Two new event venues were extremely well received by attending professionals – the annual Pro-Pro Tournament moved to the award-winning TPC Las Vegas and the PGA Demo Experience relocated to the climate-controlled environment of Topgolf Las Vegas – a flagship property of the popular golf entertainment destination. Merchandise exhibits, special events and education programs returned to the upscale setting of the Palazzo Ballroom at the Venetian Hotel.

The PGA Fashion & Demo Experience featured the participation of nearly 200 golf companies and brands including up-and-coming designers, entrepreneurs entering the market, veteran golf manufacturers, established apparel brands and market leaders such as Callaway, Cobra Golf, PING, Srixon/Cleveland Golf, TaylorMade Golf, Titleist, Tour Edge and Wilson. Top apparel brands took advantage of the upscale PGA Fashion & Demo Experience setting and simultaneous timing of Las Vegas Fashion Week including brands such as Ahead, Antigua, Bobby Jones, Callaway Apparel, Cutter & Buck, Donald Ross, Dunning, ECCO, EP NY (formerly EP Pro), FJ, Fairway & Greene, Greg Norman Collection, Jamie Sadock, J. Lindeberg, Linksoul, Peter Millar, PING Apparel, SKECHERS, Straight Down, Travis Mathew, Under Armour, Vineyard Vines and Zero Restriction.

"The PGA Fashion & Demo Experience in Las Vegas comes at an ideal time of year and serves a vital purpose for those PGA Professionals who are preparing budgets and making business decisions for 2018," noted PGA President Paul Levy. "For those PGA Professionals in Sun Belt regions and in the western United States, it is especially convenient to come to Las Vegas in August to catch up on what is happening in the golf industry, discover the latest merchandise and update themselves with education, instruction and business seminars. It has been a very worthwhile and productive three days."

Attendance at the PGA Demo Experience nearly doubled and education conference participation was up 18 percent. Influential PGA Professionals and buyers, traveling from 45 states and 30 countries, joined industry leaders and a crossover of apparel buyers from Las Vegas Fashion Week trade shows to build strong buyer engagement with vendors on the Show Floor. PGA Professional attendance was up 8 percent and key buyer attendance up 1 percent, while overall attendance decreased slightly. The top five countries (outside of U.S.) represented in attendance were Canada, Korea, Mexico, Japan and the United Kingdom. The top five U.S. states represented in attendance were California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida and Texas.


2017 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Highlights
Pro-Pro Tournament
In the 4th Annual PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Pro-Pro Tournament on Monday, Aug. 14, at breezy TPC Las Vegas, four teams tied for the title at 5-under-par 66 in the four-ball competition. That meant a playoff for the second consecutive year, a familiar position for the team of PGA Professionals Travis Long and Troy Helseth of Anthem Country Club in suburban Las Vegas, who fell in a dramatic seven-hole playoff in 2016.

"That’s the second straight year we have bogeyed the final hole to drop into a playoff," lamented Helseth, lauding the move by tournament officials to play an alternate-shot format to expedite the playoff and accommodate eight players. "It was a lot of fun out there – we love this event and the golf course was in great condition. The wind came up the last six or seven holes and it was difficult, but it was tough for everybody."

In the alternate-shot playoff, the team of Karrin Dickinson and Matthew Brooks of Superstition Mountain in Gold Canyon, Arizona, parred the first hole (the par-4 10th) to earn the $2,400 first-place check. Eric Lohman and Chi Choi of Monarch Beach Golf Links in Florida; the team of Richard Prange-D.K. Kim of Desert Mountain Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the Las Vegas "locals" of Long and Helseth shared second, third and fourth-place money.

PGA Demo Experience
Following the tournament, industry professionals turned out in large numbers to fill the hitting bays and test the newest equipment and technology at the all-new PGA Demo Experience, Aug. 14, in the climate-controlled, exciting setting of Topgolf Las Vegas. Market leaders such as Callaway, Cobra Golf, PING, Srixon/Cleveland Golf, TaylorMade Golf, Titleist, Tour Edge, Wilson and many others offered products for testing in the sold-out Topgolf Level 1 hitting bays. Putting demonstrations were available on a specially-designed putting green in the East Room and PGA Professionals and buyers browsed the newest golf merchandise in an indoor marketplace in the Central and West Rooms. Additionally, skills contests and industry networking in the popular golf entertainment destination made it an enjoyable evening for all.

"Topgolf is the perfect venue for a testing opportunity like this. It’s a high energy, fun environment where everyone can enjoy themselves, have a bite to eat and hit some golf balls," said Aaron Bonar, PGA Professional at Woods N’ Irons in Burleson, Texas.

Titleist returned to the PGA Show in Las Vegas and PGA Professionals filled their hitting bays at Topgolf to test the newest irons. "The PGA Demo Experience at Topgolf has been a tremendous opportunity for us to show everyone our new 718 AP3 irons for the first time while connecting and networking with so many PGA Professionals. We’re happy to say that the early feedback on our AP3 irons has been tremendous," said John Hahn, Titleist sales representative.

Marty Lass, PGA Head Professional at Edina Country Club in Minneapolis, attended his first PGA Fashion & Demo Experience this year. "We don’t usually get to see the new equipment from so many major manufacturers at this time of year in Minnesota, so the PGA Demo Experience has been exceptional. To have Titleist, TaylorMade, PING, Callaway, Cobra, Srixon along with Miura, Wilson and Tour Edge and so many others is a big, big plus. It was great to see so many companies."

"The PGA Demo Experience at Topgolf was a home run for PING and for the golf industry," said PING regional sales manager Gene Graham. "There was a lot of energy and interest, and I would say it was one of the best-attended Demo Experiences I have seen in many years in Las Vegas. We were able to let PGA Professionals and industry leaders test our new G400 series of drivers, fairways and irons, so that was a great opportunity for us to connect with new and existing accounts. The PGA Demo Experience was a win-win for everyone involved."

Show Floor of the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 15-16, PGA Professionals and golf buyers filled the aisles of the Palazzo Ballroom in search of the newest merchandise for their members and customers among some of the best brands in golf with a special focus on golf fashion. Top apparel brands included Ahead, Antigua, Bobby Jones, Callaway Apparel, Cutter & Buck, Donald Ross, Dunning, ECCO, EP NY (formerly EP Pro), FJ, Fairway & Greene, Greg Norman Collection, Jamie Sadock, J. Lindeberg, Linksoul, Peter Millar, PING Apparel, SKECHERS, Straight Down, Travis Mathew, Under Armour, Vineyard Vines, Zero Restriction and many others.

Veteran golf manufacturers, established apparel brands, up-and-coming designers and entrepreneurs entering the market showed off their newest merchandise to interested buyers looking for the perfect mix of popular, trending and new products.

"This has been a very productive PGA Show for us," said Steve Coan, Trade Marketing Manager for FootJoy. "We bring in four FootJoy representatives from surrounding states and they were pre-booked with appointments almost from start to finish. They are writing orders and our stop-by traffic also has been very steady. The PGA Las Vegas Show is a good investment, because we are able to see and serve several accounts from Arizona, Nevada, Utah, California and other states, but we also had good meetings with some of our key national accounts."

Attendees were able to easily navigate the PGA Show Floor and source from a comprehensive product mix.

"This was my first PGA Show in Las Vegas, and I liked how easy it is to see everything on the Show floor," said Diana D’Alessio, PGA Professional at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, Ariz. "I saw a lot of new, unique items I haven't seen from vendors who visit us, so it was a successful trip. There were some training aids and apparel companies I haven't seen before, so it was a good opportunity to become acquainted with their lines of products."

One newcomer to the event included ZeroTie shoes, golf shoes featuring a hands-free tying mechanism. "The traffic and the interest in our no-tie lines of footwear have been phenomenal at our first Las Vegas PGA Show. We weren’t sure what to expect, since this is a new product on the golf scene, but the response has been fabulous," said Jim Hand, regional manager of ZeroTie.

"The PGA Fashion & Demo Experience was very productive for us from several perspectives," said Dave Leveille, president of Oxford, which introduced a full collection of apparel, shoes and outerwear at the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience. "We felt we needed to create a full lifestyle brand, something you can wear every day with a more sophisticated color palate. Our performance apparel has been very well received. The key to good performance apparel is care, and our lines are some of the easiest to care for in the business."

Live Fashion Show
Tuesday evening, Aug. 15, concluded with the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Live Fashion Show and Networking Reception. Many of the latest golf lifestyle collections by the industry’s top designers were showcased as the runway production was emceed by Golf Channel Host, Reporter and Writer Bailey Mosier.

Live Fashion Show participating brands included Birdies and Bows, Callaway Golf Apparel, Daily Sports, Denise Cronwall Activewear, Garb Inc, Idil Tarzi Fashion Design, Jofit, Just4Golf, Kevan Hall Sport, LIJA, Movêtes, SKECHERS, Straight Down Clothing Co., Travis Mathew Apparel, Under Armour and Wellness Interactive Branding.

Immediately following the Live Fashion Show, exhibitor booths remained open for business during a Networking Reception for buyers to enjoy the extended hours to explore, browse, and discuss all the latest finds on the Show Floor.

Education Conference
In addition to a vibrant Show Floor, PGA Professionals took advantage of a full schedule of certification programs, daily keynote presentations and classroom sessions focusing on instruction, leadership, golf fitness, retail and marketing during the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Education Conference, Aug. 14-16.

"The timing of the PGA Show in Las Vegas is perfect for me, and I've never seen such a variety of teaching seminars," said Mark Peterson, PGA Professional at Carthage (Missouri) Golf Course.

The keynote presentation on Tuesday, Aug. 15, featured PGA of America Chief Membership Officer John Easterbrook, PGA, moderating a special panel discussion titled "Characteristics of PGA Members Sought After by Top Employers." Panelists included Troon Golf Chairman and CEO Dana Garmany, PGA; GolfTEC CEO and Co-Founder Joe Assell, PGA; and UNLV PGA Golf Management Program Director Dr. Chris Cain, PGA.

On Aug. 16, the keynote focused on teaching with "Best Business Practices of Award-Winning Instructors." PGA Master Professional Dawes Marlatt, Senior Director of Education & Organizational Development for the PGA of America, moderated a panel that included 2016 PGA Teacher of the Year Mike Adams, 2011 PGA Teacher of the Year Mike Malaska, and 2015 LPGA Teacher of the Year and PGA Master Professional Alison Curdt.

"I always find something new at the Las Vegas PGA Show product-wise, and the education seminars were exceptional. Learning from our peers and industry experts has always been one of my favorite parts of attending any PGA Show," said Michael Stilson, PGA Professional at Morrow Bay Golf Course in Cambria, Calif.

Tuesday afternoon, PGA Professionals heard an update on PGA of America membership initiatives and were able to ask questions during a PGA Town Hall featuring PGA President Paul Levy and Easterbrook.

PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Award Winners
PGA Professionals and top golf industry buyers voted for the best new product among the merchandise displayed in the PGA Show New Product Showcase. The 2017 New Product Showcase winner is SelfieGOLF USA, a versatile training system allowing the user to capture hands-free video with complete stability from any position or any surface. www.selfiegolfusa.com

Influential PGA Professionals and golf buyers also voted one exhibitor new to the PGA Show as the Top Buyers Choice. The 2017 Top Buyers Choice is Tzu Tzu Sport, colorful golfwear infused with eye-catching embellishments, sassy details and a flattering fit. www.tzutzusport.com

2018 PGA Shows – Save the Dates
The 2018 U.S. PGA Merchandise Show is scheduled for Jan. 23-26, in Orlando. Visit PGAShow.com for detailed information. The 2018 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience is scheduled for Aug. 13-15, in Las Vegas. Visit PGALasVegas.com for detailed information.

Team Secret Golf Pros Brittany Lang, Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller to Compete on the US Solheim Team

(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) – Team Secret Golf LPGA professionals Brittany Lang, Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller look to lead the United States team in the upcoming Solheim Cup matches. The biggest team event in women’s international golf features a trio of American players who have combined to represent the USA in 12 Solheim Cup competitions.

“We are delighted three members of Team Secret Golf are on the American Solheim Cup team,” said Steve Elkington, the co-founder of Secret Golf and a 10-time winner on the PGA Tour, including the 1995 PGA Championship and both the 1991 and 1997 Players Championship. “It’s really no surprise that Stacy Lewis, Gerina Piller and Brittany Lang are on the team. Stacy is one of the most ferocious match play competitors there is.  Gerina holed the pressure putts in Germany for the U.S. team and Brittany is a U.S. Women’s Open champion.”

In 2015, the U.S. side rallied in Germany for a dramatic come-from-behind final day to win the closest Solheim Cup in history and boast a 9-5 record in the series that dates back to 1990. This year’s addition of the biennial event, which features teams from Europe and the U.S., will be contested August 18-20 at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in West Des Moines, Iowa.

It will be Piller’s third appearance on the U.S. team, as she enjoys a 3-2-2 record in the event. In 2015, she went unbeaten with three wins and one-half.  A dramatic putt on the final hole secured a 1up victory over Caroline Masson and capped America’s historical comeback. Teaming with Lewis, the duo was dominate as they won both their four-ball and foursomes matches, the most impressive being a 5&4 victory over Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall.

Piller also teamed with Lang to earn half a point in the day one four-ball matches.

“I am so honored to represent my country again on the Solheim Cup team,” said Piller, who has played on the LPGA Tour since 2010. “I cannot wait to compete with my teammates. This will be fun.”

 Lang, in her fifth competition, looks to replicate a stellar 2013 performance when she picked up three points for her side. The 2016 U.S. Open Champion has earned 6.5 career points in the event. A veteran of many matches, the experience never gets old.

“I am thrilled to be competing again on the Solheim Cup team,” said Lang.” I want to make fun memories with my teammates and play some great golf. This is such an honor.”

Lewis picked up two wins in four matches in 2015 to post 4.5 points in her career. With two major victories to her credit – the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship and the 2013 Women’s British Open – she looks to join her Secret Golf colleagues in helping the U.S. retain the Solheim Cup this year
The first LPGA Tour sanctioned event in Iowa since 1966, and the first in the state capital since 1956, combined with the unlikely U.S. victory in 2015 sets the stage for an electric competition. LPGA Commissioner Micheal Wan described the upcoming event as an atmosphere that might be found at a football game mixed with a soccer match and a mixed martial arts bout. Sports Illustrated called it “the biggest thing to hit Iowa since the Pope.”

“The Solheim Cup is very intense,” explained Elkington. “It’s so important for each team. The women’s game is just as good as the men’s game. It’s so exciting to watch. There will be huge crowds in Iowa. Our three Team Secret Golf players are absolute gunslingers.”

Team Secret Golf features 17 professionals, including former major champions Jackie Burke, Jr., Elkington, Jason Dufner, Lang and Lewis, and now has claimed 111 events collectively on the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour and Web.com Tour.

For more information about Secret Golf, visit www.secretgolf.com.

Leona Maguire Wins Mark H. McCormack Medal for Third Consecutive Year

(FAR HILLS, N.J. and ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND) – Leona Maguire, of Ireland, has won the Mark H. McCormack Medal for the third consecutive year as the leading women’s player in the 2017 World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR).

Maguire has enjoyed another excellent season having won the Ladies British Open Amateur Championship and finished joint runner-up in the 2017 NCAA Championship individual standings, notching three wins in 10 starts in the 2016-17 season and finishing in the top six in every event. The 22-year-old, who will shortly begin her senior year at Duke University, also earned the Annika Award as the national player of the year for the second time in her career.

“It’s a huge honour for me,” said Maguire, of Co Cavan. “To win it once was one thing, but to win it three times is quite a humbling feeling. I know there have been some great names before me, but to have my name on there three times is something very special and something that I am very proud of.”

Maguire was voted the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) Player of the Year for 2016-17, the second time she has received the accolade.

She has seven victories from her collegiate career, and finished tied for 21st while representing Ireland in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Maguire narrowly missed out on winning the Smyth Salver as the leading amateur in the recent Ricoh Women’s British Open, and she also competed in the U.S. Women’s Open and the Marathon Classic on the LPGA Tour. She will round off the season with another major championship appearance in the Evian Championship next month.

The R&A and United States Golf Association (USGA) award recognizes Maguire’s outstanding performances this year and is named after Mark H. McCormack, who founded sports marketing company IMG and was a great supporter of amateur golf.

“Leona deserves huge credit for maintaining such a high level of performance over the last three seasons and is indeed a worthy winner of the McCormack Medal,” said Duncan Weir, The R&A’s Executive Director - Golf Development. “To remain top of the World Amateur Golf Ranking for as long as she has, shows that Leona has a tremendous competitive spirit as well as an excellent all-round game. I would like to congratulate her on the award and wish her well in her final year at college.”

“On behalf of the USGA, our most sincere congratulations to the talented Leona Maguire for earning the esteemed McCormack Medal for the third consecutive year, joining only Lydia Ko, who won in 2011, 2012 and 2013, as a three-time winner,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA Senior Managing Director of Championships & Governance. “It certainly illustrates her impressive play in high-profile events over an extended time, and, clearly, she is quite deserving of this distinction. Well done, Leona.”

The World Amateur Golf Ranking, which is supported by Rolex, was established in 2007 when the men’s ranking was launched. The men’s ranking encompasses more than 2,600 counting events, ranking 6,000 players from 103 countries worldwide. The women’s ranking was launched in 2011 and has a calendar of more than 1,400 counting events with over 2,700 ranked players from 73 countries worldwide.

KemperSports Selected to Manage St. James Bay Golf Resort

(NORTHBROOK, Ill.) – KemperSports has been selected to manage St. James Bay Golf Resort in Carrabelle, Fla. Located amid the popular travel destination of the Florida panhandle and less than 50 miles southwest of Tallahassee, Fla., St. James Bay Golf Resort enjoys a strong reputation as one of the top resort communities in the region along with serving as one of the most popular lodging destinations for traveling outdoor enthusiasts.

“St. James Bay Golf Resort has remained a popular destination for nearly 15 years,” said John Green, President of Lynnwood Development. “We look forward to working with KemperSports and implementing their best practices to enhance the experience for our guests at the resort.”

Under new ownership, the cornerstone of the resort community is the 18-hole championship golf course. Certified as an Audubon International Certified Signature Sanctuary on behalf of the courses commitment to environmentally-efficient agronomy practices, the Robert Walker-designed golf course provides strategic options throughout the fun and inspired bay front layout.

The par-72, 6,600-yard public golf course is well-known as one of the most finely-conditioned golf courses in the state and includes water hazards on most holes. The course was built to provide a strong test of golf for low-handicap players who choose to challenge the hazards and bunkers while delivering a resort golf experience for casual golfers.

Built in 2003, the golf course remains one of the top golf courses in the state and was ranked in 2016 by Golf Advisor as no. 19 on its list of the best courses in Florida.

The resort experience is rounded out by four golf villas surrounding the clubhouse and Crooked River Grill as well as residential condominiums overlooking the golf course. The condos offer recently-remodeled two and three-bedroom units with kitchen and private pool access.

“We are proud to manage St. James Bay Golf Resort,” said KemperSports CEO Steve Skinner. “It has a strong reputation and is well regarded in the market. We look forward to working with the ownership and staff to elevate all areas of the guest experience and create a truly memorable place.”

KemperSports will begin operations on August 14, 2017, and will immediately implement its best in class marketing and service programs, including TrueService – the company’s proprietary customer service training program the goal of which to deliver genuine, helpful and friendly service to every St. James Bay guest.

Course Spotlight: Valley of the Eagles

American Golfer recently had the opportunity to play a preview round at Valley of the Eagles Golf Club - the only Nicklaus Design daily-fee course in Northern Ohio. Set on the site of the former Spring Valley Country Club and meandering along the Black River, Valley of the Eagles has been completely redesigned by the team from Nicklaus Design and is managed by industry-leading Troon. Enjoy a handful of images from the day.

The opening hole (above) is a dogleg-right par 4 playing 360 yards from the tips. Don't let the short yardage fool you, however, as water comes into play from tee to green and a pair of fairway bunkers threaten even safe tee shots.
Jack Nicklaus is known to design long par 3s. His team followed the leader with the back tee on No. 5 at Valley of the Eagles (above). This monster measures 276 yards and is all of 250 yards to carry the direct path! The four front tees are no picnic, either, with bunkers short, tall grasses right and the Black River guarding the left.
No. 10 (above) shares a tee box with No. 1 and plays in the shadow of the clubhouse, starter's station, and the future home of a Beer Garden. All this, combined with a pond, two deep bunkers and a shallow green, make this short par 3 a little intimidating.
Every course has a signature hole ... the hole everyone remembers the most. At Valley of the Eagles, that may turn out to be No. 14 (above). This par 4 requires a well-placed tee shot - too far left and you're in the Black River, while too far right and your approach becomes extremely difficult. As for that approach, it's to a tiny green on a slightly less-tiny island. My 120-yard wedge shot traveled 115 yards (wet). The shot following a drop wasn't much easier.
Considering how much the Black River comes into play throughout the round, it's only fitting that golfers must carry it one more time on the par 5 finishing hole (above). A big drive will allow you an opportunity to go at the green in two, but it's probably wise to play this 569-yarder as a three-shot par 5.

Slope and handicap are still being calculated at the moment, but by the official opening in October, all will be finalized.

When complete, the Valley of the Eagles expansive clubhouse (24,000-square-feet) will include an exciting new food and beverage offering known as the Black River Tavern, a fabulous venue for sports events and social gatherings, complemented by state-of-the-art golf simulators for year-round and multi-course enjoyment.

Valley of the Eagles is conveniently located at the intersections of highways 90, 80 and 57 — just 25 miles west of downtown Cleveland — in the beautiful Black River Valley, on the border of Cuyahoga and Lorain counties. Daily-fee rates at Valley of the Eagles will range from $35 to $60 and will include a golf cart. In addition, Valley of the Eagles is offering an annual pass program, which will provide golfers with course access for the remainder of 2017 and all of 2018.

For more information, visit www.ValleyEagles.com.

Hayden Wood Earns U.S. Amateur Medalist Honors with Record Score

(PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif.) – Oklahoma State University junior Hayden Wood, of Edmond, Okla., broke the 36-hole stroke-play qualifying record with a total of 131 to earn medalist honors Tuesday in the 117th U.S. Amateur Championship.

Playing in his second U.S. Amateur, Wood posted a 3-under-par 67 that included four birdies and a bogey at Bel-Air Country Club, which followed his 6-under 64 at The Riviera Country Club in the first round on Monday.

The championship’s 36-hole stroke-play record had been 132, shared by Hank Kim in 1994, Gregor Main in 2011 and Bobby Wyatt in 2012.

“It feels good, with 312 guys it is awesome,” Wood said. “To play that way these last two days has been good. I like where my game is. I feel comfortable on this course (Riviera) and it fits my game. I am looking forward to it because the tournament starts tomorrow (Wednesday).”

Wood, 21, is the son of 1977 U.S. Junior Amateur champion and PGA Tour Champions player Willie Wood.

“I've changed my course management,” said Wood, who was runner-up in the 2015 Southwestern Amateur. “It’s a lot more conservative. I felt like I've been playing well all summer, but sometimes I would get in my own way, and so I've changed my course management.

“I just switched to a new putter and my speed has been a lot better. I haven’t three-putted so far, and to do that at these two courses is a testament to some good speed.”

One of the players who shared the first-round lead with Wood, University of Oregon sophomore Norman Xiong, of San Diego, Calif., shot an even-par 70 at Bel-Air for a 36-hole total of 134, good for the No. 2 match-play seed behind Wood.

“It was fun,” said Xiong, 18, who won the Western Amateur two weeks ago. “I played some really solid golf. I did what I needed to do and got through to match play, which is the biggest goal.”

A trio of players finished 36 holes at 4-under 136, five strokes behind Wood: George Washington University junior Logan Lowe of Grass Valley, Calif.; Vanderbilt University senior Theo Humphrey of Greenwich, Conn.; and University of Alabama senior Lee Hodges of Ardmore, Tenn.

The other first-round co-leader, Mark Lawrence Jr., of Richmond Va., shot 73 at Riviera and finished at 137 along with Joaquin Niemann, of Chile, who is No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™.

Both courses played at par 70 for the championship. Riviera, the host site of the 1948 U.S. Open, won by Ben Hogan, and the 1998 U.S. Senior Open, won by Hale Irwin, played at 7,272 yards. Bel-Air, which hosted the U.S. Amateur the last time it was played in Southern California in 1976, as well as the 2004 U.S. Senior Amateur, played at 6,757 yards.

Brad Dalke, of Norman, Okla., last year’s finalist to champion Curtis Luck, shot rounds of 75-77 to miss the match-play draw, along with 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Stewart Hagestad, of Newport Beach, Calif., who missed the playoff by two strokes after rounds of 72-74.

There will be six rounds of match play, beginning on Wednesday at 8:50 a.m. The Round of 32 and the Round of 16 are scheduled on Thursday, while the quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, respectively. The championship concludes with a 36-hole final on Sunday, Aug. 20, starting at 7:45 a.m. PDT.

A 13-for-8 playoff for the final match-play berths is set for 7:30 a.m. at Riviera. The playoff starts on the drivable par-4 10th hole, followed by holes 14 through 18 with No. 18 repeated as needed until the final spots are filled.

The U.S. Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

Golf Pride Trusted to Win Wanamaker Trophy and Grip Count at 2017 PGA Championship

(SOUTHERN PINES, N.C.) - Eaton announced that its Golf Pride Grips Division was the most used swing and putter grip brand played at the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The 2017 PGA Champion trusted Golf Pride’s Tour Velvet Cord in his hands to conquer the hot and humid conditions as he earned his first major championship victory.  The #1 Grip in Golf was played by 10 of the 12 top 10 finishers and overall, 81 percent of players competing in the season’s final major trusted their games to Golf Pride. Of the 20 PGA Professionals at the PGA Championship, an astounding 19 trusted Golf Pride as they competed at the game’s highest level.  

“For amateurs, PGA Professionals and TOUR players alike improving performance is at the top of everyone’s minds at Golf Pride,” said Brandon Sowell, global sales and marketing director for Golf Pride. “Seeing the world’s best players choose Golf Pride validates our drive to continuously innovate with performance technology that improves player performance.”

Each week, Golf Pride is the leading grip played from tee-to-green on the PGA TOUR with an average of 80% of pros choosing Golf Pride swing grips in each event, without any paid endorsements.

For more information on Golf Pride’s entire 2017 product offering, visit www.golfpride.com.