Sun Country holds tourney in Socorro

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The Sun Country Junior Golf Foundation’s Parent-Junior Team Championship was held in Socorro for the first time this Sunday, and there is a good chance it will become an annual charity affair for the New Mexico Tech venue. There were 22 parent/child team entrees, an improvement on last year’s number of 14.

Photo by Polo C’ de Baca/For El Defensor Chieftain: Ricky Silva tees off at the Sun Country Junior Golf Foundation Parent-Junior Team Championship on Sunday in Socorro. He and his dad shot 36 on the front nine and 35 on the back nine for a fourth-place finish among the 13- to 18-year-old age category.

Socorro participants took first-place awards in both categories of 13- to 18-year-olds and those 12 and under. The event concluded with an exciting two-team, two-hole playoff.

Tournament director Daniel Hayden of Rio Rancho said the tournament is usually held in the Albuquerque area, but centrally located Socorro would likely be the most convenient venue in the future — which makes sense for this year’s participants, who drove from El Paso, Texas, Las Cruces, Capitan, Peralta, Los Lunas, Albuquerque, Gallup, Santa Fe, Rio Rancho and Socorro.

“This is basically our fundraiser for our scholarships,” Hayden said. “This is for kids who are transitioning from high school to college.”

Hayden said this tournament funds scholarships that are typically offered to students playing at the collegiate level; however, that is not one of the requirements. Academics are also a consideration.

“Kids are having a good time and the weather is awesome,” Hayden said. “As long as everyone is having a good time, that’s all that matters.”

Rules of the game follow the format of the Las Vegas Scramble. Each time after each member of the team tees off, the team picks the best shot and then both players play their own ball from that point, which by design gives the youngsters a leg up. Those young golfers whose parents are golf pros were partnered with adults of nonprofessional status.

In the 13-18 age group Socorro High School junior Mia Salome and her dad Anton shot 34 on the front nine and 31 on the back nine for the lowest (overall in both categories) score of 65. Mia Salome said playing golf with her father is not just a once in a while thing.

“We play a lot together,” Salome said. “He brings me out a lot. We’re like partners in crime.”

The 7-12 division was won in a two-hole playoff between team Bjorklund of Socorro and team Delgadillo of El Paso, who were tied with a score of 66 at the end of regular play. Autumn Bjorklund, of Socorro, was partnered with Socorroan Robert Gonzales. They shot 33 on the front and back nine for their score of 66. Consequently, play ended when Gonzales parred the second hole for the win on the 11th green.

Javier Delgadillo Sr. and Jr., of El Paso, shot 34 and 32 on the front and back nine respectively. In the 13-18 division team Moore shot 34 and 33 and finished with a 67. Sean Moore’s father, who is the golf pro at NMT, played with Fred Robinson. On team Pearson, Chynna Pearson partnered with Margaret Stanley, both of Socorro, and shot a 69.

Ricky Silva Jr. and Sr., also of Socorro, shot a 71. Team Anaya, Isaiah and Leroy, of Socorro, shot a 74. Notably, eighth-grader Dylan Gonzales and his father Eli, of Los Lunas, ended with a score of 72.

For complete results of the tournament go to: www.ghintpp.com/scspga/TPPOnlineGolfer/Default.aspx.