When we last saw the Payson Men’s Golf Association in action, members were wrapping up the 2008 links season with a three-week long Turkey Shoot and an appearance in the Prescott Country Club Jamboree.
Following those two shootouts, the golfers took a winter respite in Payson, but some traveled to Valley courses to continue honing their games.
With spring just around the corner, PMGA members will return to play beginning at 7:30 a.m. March 18 with a kickoff breakfast at the Payson Masonic Lodge. Following breakfast, members will move to Payson Golf Course for a season-opening four-man scramble tournament.
“It’s nearing that time again,” said longtime PMGA member Dick Ceyler.
Which means PMGA members like Jesse Smith will again be heating up the fairways and greens.
Last year, Smith took first in a point par tournament, won the low gross title at the Show Low Silver Creek Golf Club tournament, reached the semifinals of the PMGA club championship and was third at the Verde Santa Fe interclub tournament.
Also possibly returning to the PMGA fold will be former Longhorn golf standout Brandan Kelley.
After graduating from Point Loma University two years ago, Kelley returned to his hometown to play in local tournaments as well as the Valley-based Gateway Tour.
At the 84th Arizona Amateur Championships last August, Kelley swung his way to low medalist honors.
Kelley brings a long list of collegiate credentials to the PMGA, having been a four-year varsity letter winner at Point Loma and a two-time all-region selection. At the 2007 NAIA region championships, he finished third and, as a junior, was 78th at the national championships.
Another stalwart on the PMGA circuit expected to return for the 2009 season is former Tempe High School basketball coach Troy Neal, now a Gila County rancher.
In 2008, Neal enjoyed the thrill of every golfer’s lifetime, sinking a hole-in-one on No. 8 at Payson Golf Course. A few days later in an individual low gross/low net PMGA tournament, he took top honors in his flight with a 75.
Midway through the summer, Neal showed his diversity, tying Mike McKee for first place in a tournament in which the players were restricted to using only three clubs.
With the new season about to tee off, PMGA members — including Smith, Kelley, Ceyler and Neal — are issuing open invitations to join the association.
Those interested should call Larry Baker, (928) 472-2482, for membership information.
The PMGA hosts golfing tournaments every Wednesday morning at PGC.