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Field Set for the 76th Arizona Open Championship

The legendary Johnny Bulla won back-to-back Arizona Open titles in 1958 and 1959 and was the last person to accomplish the historic feat. Jake Younan has the opportunity to add his name to the record books when the 76th Arizona Open Championship presented by PING gets underway on Monday, Aug. 5 at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club in Gold Canyon, Ariz.

“It means an awful lot to be able to return to the Arizona Open as the defending champion,” said Younan. “I remember last year’s event like it was yesterday and would love to replicate the week and bring back the same feelings again.”

Younan, 32, from Payson, Ariz., captured the title last year after posting rounds of 61-66-71--198 (-12). His margin of victory was five strokes over Charlie Beljan, from Mesa, Ariz., and Jesse Mueller, from Phoenix. Younan’s quest for a repeat begins on Monday, Aug. 5 at 12:35 p.m. off the 1st tee.

Among the four past champions in the field is Brian Cooper, from Phoenix, who last week competed in the Senior Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in England. He also qualified for the U.S. Senior Open Championship last month in South Bend, Ind. Cooper finished as the runner-up in the 2019 Arizona Senior Open, losing to Jeff Gallagher, from Henderson, Nev., on the first hole in a sudden death playoff.

PGA Professional Michael Hopper comes into the Championship as the Southwest PGA Player of the Year points leader after winning his fourth Southwest PGA Match Play title last month. Hopper, 35, PGA Assistant Golf Professional at Lookout Mountain Golf Club, has won all the Southwest PGA majors except the Arizona Open, finishing third in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

“I love the challenge of the Arizona Open which always has a very strong field including some of the best professionals and amateurs in Arizona,” said Hopper. “I’ve performed well the last couple years in the Championship and Superstition Mountain is one of my favorite courses in Arizona. I’m really looking forward to a great week.”

Father and son duo Kirk and Sam Triplett return for their second consecutive Arizona Open together. Kirk, a PGA Tour Champions member, is currently sixth on the Charles Schwab Cup Money List. This past March he won the Hoag Classic at Newport Beach (Calif.) Country Club and finished as the runner-up four times this season. Kirk finished tied for fourth in last year’s Arizona Open.

Sam turned professional last year after a standout amateur career playing for Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. The low amateur in the 2015 Arizona Open, he carded rounds of 68-69-69–206 (-4) in the 2018 Arizona Open and finished tied for seventh in his first event as a professional.

The 2019 starting field contains 55 amateurs and four past champions that include: Younan, Cooper (2016), R.J. Wood (2015), and Craig Hocknull (2013).

Notable competitors include former PGA Tour/Champions Tour members: Charlie Beljan, Gallagher, and Tom Purtzer; PGA Professionals Dennis Downs, Chris Dompier, Marty Jertson, Jesse Mueller and Matt VanCleave; amateurs, Michael Feagles, Jake Chanen, Bryan Hoops and Trevor Olkowski; and non-PGA professionals Spencer Fletcher, Michael Kartrude, Matt McClung and Zach Smith.

Also in the field is 15-year-old amateur Brayden Bozak from Gilbert, Ariz.  He qualified for the Arizona Open at Lone Tree Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., where he carded a 4-under-par 67 and finished tied for fifth. He will be among the youngest competitors to ever compete in the Championship.

The first and second rounds will be held Monday and Tuesday, August 5 and 6, respectively, at 7:00 a.m. off Nos. 1 and 10. Following 36 holes of play, the field will be cut to the low 50 scorers plus ties for the final round on Wednesday, August 7.

Long-time Southwest PGA Partner PING is the presenting sponsor of the 76th Arizona Open Championship. Their support helped raise this year’s purse to the highest level since 2008.

About The Arizona Open Championship:
The Arizona Open Championship is a 54-hole, state open golf tournament open to both professional and amateur golfers nationwide. Administered by the Southwest PGA, the Arizona Open and has roots dating back to the inaugural event held in 1937. This historical championship has been held annually since 1953 and boasts an impressive list of past champions including Johnny Bulla, Dale Douglas and Curt Byrum. Place-winners from qualifying events conducted throughout the month of July, along with those players exempt from qualifying, finalized the Championship field of 156 competitors.
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