Wood Set to Defend Title in the 72nd Arizona Open Championship
Not since the legendary Johnny Bulla in 1959 has a competitor won the Arizona Open in back-to-back years. R.J. Wood gets his opportunity to change that statistic at the 72nd Arizona Open Championship, August 18-20, at Troon Country Club in Scottsdale.
Wood, 26, of Scottsdale, captured the title in 2015 after defeating 2014 champion Chris Satterlee and Matt Bryant on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff. All three competitors finished the 54-hole championship with a total of 206 (-4) at Troon C.C. Wood earned $7,500 for the victory, his first Arizona Open title. His quest for a repeat begins on Thursday, August 18 at 8:00 a.m. off the 10th tee.
Satterlee, 30, of Phoenix, and Bryant, 32, of Columbia, SC, also return in 2016 for another chance at the title. Satterlee is paired in the same group as Wood for the first two rounds and Bryant will be the first group off No. 10 at 7:00 a.m. in the opening round.
This year marks the third consecutive year, and ninth time overall, that Troon C.C. will have hosted the Arizona Open (2000-2005). The private facility has proven to be an excellent test of golf for the top professionals and amateurs competing in the Championship.
Also in the field, and coming off recent major tournament victories, are PGA Professionals Dennis Downs and Michael Hopper.
Downs, 33, PGA director of instruction at Reid/West Golf Academies (Pebble Creek), last week captured the Southwest PGA Professional Championship held at Talking Stick G.C. Downs finished the 36-hole championship at 8-under-par 132, good for a two-stroke victory over a trio of competitors, including Hopper.
At the end of July, Hopper, 32, PGA assistant golf professional at Lookout Mountain G.C., won the 2016 Southwest PGA Match Play Championship title defeating Blayne Hobbs, PGA teaching professional at Reid/West Golf Academies (Deer Valley), 3 & 2 in the final match held at Desert Forest G.C. in Scottsdale. It was his second Match Play title and third major championship victory in the Southwest PGA.
The 2016 starting field will be comprised of 156 participants including 37 amateurs and three past champions (Craig Hocknull, 2013). Competitors are representing 13 states and British Columbia.
The first and second rounds will be held Thursday and Friday, August 18 and 19, respectively, at 7:00 a.m. off Nos. 1 and 10. Following 36 holes of play, the field will be cut to the low 60 scorers plus ties for the final round on Saturday, August 20.
Las Palomas Beach and Golf Resort and Troon Country Club are presenting sponsors of the 72nd Arizona Open Championship. Supporting sponsors include Lorente Golf and Fore Fun.Special thanks to the membership and staff at Troon C.C. for their continued generosity and hospitality of the Southwest PGA and the Arizona Open.
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