Bob Pfister from The Glen Mills School Blog

By Jim AxelrodJuly 13, 2010, 11:23 pm

Golf is a game of hope, redemption and managing your mistakes. We find that out every time we slice a drive into the woods and try to figure out a way to still salvage par.

In this week’s episode of Golf in America, we take you to a course that could have “hope” and “redemption” knit into the club logo. The Golf Course at Glen Mills, in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania is part of The Glen Mills School, the nation’s oldest reform school. The workers at the course are all students at the school, all trying to manage their mistakes and figure out how keep one bad decision from turning into a string of bogies in life. It’s a story about the potential to be found in young people others have written off. We hope you found the story as inspirational watching it as we did reporting it.

While I was at Glen Mills, I had a chance to chat with the pro, an affable man named Bob Pfister, who just celebrated his 70th birthday. Fresh out of the Navy in 1963, Bob had found a job as an assistant pro at Saucon Valley Golf Club in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, working under a Scotsman named Ralph Hutchison. In the winters, Mr. Hutchison was the pro at the Cotton Bay Club in the Bahamas, an exclusive playground for the wealthy developed by Juan Trippe, the founder of Pan Am.

Bob Pfister certainly wasn’t about to say no when Ralph Hutchison offered him the chance to work at the Cotton Bay Club in the winter. What 22-year-old would say no, especially one who had grown up in Buffalo, New York and could use a warm winter? 

The truth was that Cotton Bay was not exactly overrun. Bob wasn’t going to be overworked, unless of course you counted the amount of time he’d get to spend on his own game. Often there’d be no more than one or two foursomes on the course at any given time. Sometimes, members and their guests come in the pro shop looking for a game with the young assistant pro who wasn’t particularly busy.

One day in the winter of 1963, two guys named Jess and Gene were looking for a game and grabbed Bob out of the shop. Gene was Jess’s guest, spending a couple of weeks at Cotton Bay. Bob enjoyed the round, and the men enjoyed playing with the young pro. Bob would play another six times over the next two weeks with Gene and dozens more in the following months with Jess. 

Bob learned a lot about the game from both men, who could play just a little. Jess’s last name was Sweetser. He’d been a pretty fair amateur, if you count winning the U.S. and British Amateurs and once dusting Bobby Jones 8 and 7 as “decent.” Gene used to bring his shag bag to the chipping area with his sand wedge and say to Bob, “practice the hardest shot you can find with this club, and everything else will be a piece of cake,“ Bob recalled. “He loved that sand wedge.” 

He should have. He invented it. Gene was—you guessed it—Gene Sarazen, the first man to have won the modern Grand Slam.   

They stayed in touch, always telling Bob if there was anything they could do for him to let them know. A few years later, Bob applied for his first head pro job. Asked for references, he supplied two names: Jess Sweetser and Gene Sarazen. The head of the club asked Bob, “do you really know them?” Bob replied, “Sure, you want me to call them right now?” Needless to say, Bob got the job.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30.

After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total into the final round on PGA West's Stadium Course. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player is making his first start in the event. He won at Sea Island in November for his first PGA Tour title.

Fellow former Razorbacks star Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were a stroke back. Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 on the Stadium Course. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. They are both winless on the PGA Tour.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Jon Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium Course to reach 17 under. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3, Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

Scott Piercy also was two strokes back after a 66 at the Stadium.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Harkins shot 68 on the Stadium Course.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium Course to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time.

The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. The Southern California recruit had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over for the week.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine – and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Mickelson misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

“I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.