Near Death Experience Does Not Slow Golfer


A man whose heart stopped beating during a golf game at Payson Golf Course is showing no signs the near-death experience has slowed him.

Frank Szakal, 66, was among the winners at the Payson Men's Golf Association Club Championship played Aug. 15 at PGC.


Frank Szakal

In the fray, Szakal defeated Terry Lindsey, to take first place among the B flight entrants.

Following the completion of the tournament, Szakal continued his strong play by defeating Herb Sherman for the PMGA putting title.

It was CPR treatment from four friends and fellow golfers that meant the difference between life and death for Szakal during an Oct. 5, 2005 tournament.

The four teamed up to apply life-saving resuscitation until Payson Fire Department paramedics arrived with a defibrillator to begin life support.

Szakal was airlifted to a coronary care unit at Good Samaritan Hospital where he was fitted with a high-tech combination pacemaker and defibrillator called an ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator).

Since then, Szakal has played well, finishing among the top golfers in many PMGA tournaments.

Also in the recent PMGA club championship, Herb Sherman defeated Dick Harding for flight C honors and John Calderwood upset Gary Roverto for flight D laurels.

The flight E championship was not decided.

"It will be determined at a later date," PMGA member Dick Ceyler said.

The club championships were not scheduled to be played until Aug. 22 but when an interclub competition was canceled Aug. 15, the players decided to bump up the gold medal rounds.

In addition to the championships being played, a low net event was held for members who had not qualified for the finals.

"Russ Zakariasen won with a low net score of 63," Ceyler said.

In the closest-to-the-pin battles, Jack Greenshield was the top gun, winning on holes No. 5 and No. 8. On No. 5, Greenshield was 7 feet, 5 inches away and on No. 8, he teed to within 3 feet, 11 inches of the pin. Ward Johnson was closest on No. 14 (15 feet, 1 inch) and Roveto nearest on No. 17 (7 feet, 3inches).

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