THE 44TH SOUTHWEST PGA MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The 44th Southwest PGA Match Play Championship is scheduled to take place June 24-26 at Ancala Country Club in Scottsdale. The Section’s first major of the season begins with 46 Southwest PGA Professionals competing in a 64-player field bracket. The top four seeds for the 44th edition of the Championship are: Matt VanCleave (1), Michael Hopper (2), Chris Dompier (3) and Dennis Downs (4).
Hopper, 34, PGA Assistant Golf Professional at Lookout Mountain Golf Club in Phoenix, attempts to win his fourth Southwest PGA Match Play title (2011, 2016, 2017). Last year he was vying for his third consecutive title before losing in the final match to Craig Hocknull, 43, PGA Director of Instruction at Saber Sports, 1-up.
“I am really looking forward to playing in the match play this year, not only because of my recent successes in the match play, but as redemption from last year’s loss in the finals,” said Hopper. “No one ever is happy about losing a match but to lose in the final match stings even worse. There are so many great players in the Southwest PGA and it’s match play so you never know. Anything can happen but it’s going to be fun and an outstanding Championship.”
VanCleave, 37, PGA Assistant Golf Professional at Superstition Mountain Golf & Country Club in Gold Canyon, Ariz., earned the top seed after winning the Southwest PGA Player of the Year award in 2018. He made it to the semi-finals in last year’s Match Play Championship – losing in extra holes to Hopper. After runner-up finishes in previous Southwest PGA majors, including last year’s Southwest PGA Championship, VanCleave begins his quest for his first major in the second round at 12:00 p.m. after earning an opening round bye.
Downs, 36, PGA Assistant Golf Professional at Eagle's Nest at Pebble Creek in Goodyear, Ariz., comes in as the No. 4 seed in the Championship. Last year as the No. 2 seed he made it to the semi-finals where he lost 2 and 1 to eventual champion Hocknull. Downs has two Southwest PGA major titles – winning the 2015 Southwest PGA Championship at Reflection Bay Golf Club in Henderson, Nev., and the 2016 Southwest PGA Professional Championship (PPC) held at Talking Stick Golf Club in Scottsdale.
The 46-player field includes three past champions – Dompier, 42, PGA Head Golf Professional at Skyline Country Club in Tucson (2010), Hopper and D.K. Kim, 33, PGA Assistant Golf Professional at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale (2015).
The 44th Southwest PGA Match Play Championship gets underway with the opening round matches on Monday, June 24 at 7:00 a.m. followed by second round matches at 12:00 p.m. The round of 16 and quarterfinal matches are scheduled for Tuesday, June 25 at 7:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., respectively. The semi-final matches and final match are slated for Wednesday, June 26 at 7:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., respectively.John Jackson, PGA General Manager at Corte Bella Golf Club in Sun City West, Ariz., holds many of the records in the Match Play Championship, including the most victories in the history of the Championship with five (1976, 1978, 1980, 1988, 1993). Hopper, Jackson and PGA Life Member Tom Tatum (1982, 1985, 1992) are the only Southwest PGA Professionals to win three or more Match Play titles.
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