Swiss Pro Defends Title at U.S. Professional Hickory

    Paolo Quirici of Switzerland successfully defended his title at the fourth annual United States Professional Hickory Golf Championship on Feb. 24 at the historic Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club.

Paolo Quirici, left, accepts the John Shippen Cup
as the 2014 U.S. Professional Hickory Champion.

At right is host pro and tournament organizer, Mike Stevens.

   The tournament, a commemorative to the 1925 Florida Open, is played with pre-1930-era equipment and balls. Quirici, the reigning World Hickory Champion toured the Tom Bendelow layout in one over par 74 to grab the $1,500 first prize and the John Shippen Cup for whom the tournament is dedicated. The Swiss pro was a model of consistency on the 6,400-yard venue, which was considered a brute of a golf course when opened for play in 1922. He becomes the first two-time winner of the championship.

   Four players shared second place with scores of 79 – Temple Terrace host pro Jim Garrison, Richard Bullock, Dylan Malafronte, and Adam Varney.

   Teresa Zamboni of Port Orange, Fla. edged defending champion Jennifer Cully for the Ladies title, and Bruce Del Guidice of Weeki Watchi, Fla. was the low amateur.

   Tournament organizer Mike Stevens, a teaching pro at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, said the field was opened to amateurs for the first time, but only to single-digit handicaps.

   The USPHGC is open to all golf professionals, male and female and players, who compete for the same $5,000 prize associated with the original Florida Open won by Leo Diegel in 1925. The winner’s name is engraved on the the John Shippen Cup, dedicated to America’s first golf professional. The Cup is on permanent display in the Temple Terrace clubhouse. The golf course is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of only two with such a designation in the state.

   “The championship is dedicated to preserving and honoring the history of early golf in America,” Stevens says.

   The 1925 Florida Open at the Temple Terrace Club was one of a series of competitions in what was called the “Professional Golfers League of Florida,” by Bob Harlow, Walter Hagen’s savvy PR agent. The league lasted only one year, 1925. Competitors included Hagen and Joe Kirkwood of the Pasadena Golf Club; Jim Barnes and Fred McLeod of Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club; and Gene Sarazen and Leo Diegel from a club in Hollywood, Fla. Other pros included Tommy Armour, Cyril Walker, Johnny Farrell. Barnes was the professional at Temple Terrace.

 RESULTS

Paolo Quirici

74

$1,500 

Greg Colosi

87

 

Richard Bullock

79

$650 

Bob Chew (A)

87

 

Jim Garrison

79

$650 

Grant Gulych

90

 

Dylan Malafronte

79

$650 

Rick Woeckner
                      (A)

90

 

Adam Varney

79

$650 

Kody Kirchoff

90

 

Mark Harman

80

$300 

Jon Benson

90

 

Steve Herron

82

$162.50 

Steve Powell (A)

91

 

Jim Giordano

82

$162.50 

Jason Bruno

91

 

Bruce Del Guidice (A)

82

 

Jennifer Cully

92

 

Mike Stevens

83

$87.50 

Teresa Bamboni

92

$200 

Gregor Jamieson

83

$87.50 

Jim Wilhelm (A)

97

 

Tom McCrary

84

$50 

Dan Capaz (A)

97

 

Bill Geisler (A)

85

 

Alice Brown

98

 

Clay Thomas

85

$50 

Megan Younkman

103