Low scorers Pimm, Schneiter return to play in RMO
Dustin Pimm and Steve Schneiter tore up Bookcliff Country Club and Tiara Rado Golf Course last summer, both finishing 20 under par in the Enstrom Rocky Mountain Open.
Both shot a 62 during the 54-hole tourney, and both shot 9-under in the final round, forcing a playoff, which Pimm won with a birdie on No. 18 at Bookcliff Country Club.
They’re back for more this weekend in the 74th edition of the oldest, continuously run open golf tournament in Colorado.
Pimm and Schneiter, both from Sandy, Utah, are entered in the field of 200 golfers, with flights for professionals, senior professionals and amateurs.
Play begins at 8 a.m. Friday at Bookcliff and Tiara Rado and runs through Sunday. The professionals who make the cut (the field is cut to the low one-third of the pro field) and low amateurs (championship flight, 3.0 handicap or lower) play the final round at Tiara Rado, with the other flights wrapping up at Bookcliff.
“There’s a bunch of new kids who are just turning professional in this year’s event,” said Mike Mendelson, the head golf pro for the city of Grand Junction.
Some of those young players are former Rifle High School standout Luke Antonelli, who turned pro a few years ago after college, Jim Knous of Basalt, who recently graduated from Colorado School of Mines after a stellar college career, and Pat Grady, a former University of Colorado player.
Some of the top high school and college players from the area are in the field, including Colorado Mesa University’s Brandon Bingaman, Ryan LaFramboise, Calan Hoppe and Ryan Church, and Fruita Monument High’s Will Berg and Grand Junction High’s Donny Kinnaman.
Also in the field is former Central standout Melissa Martin, now on the women’s golf team at the University of Denver.
“We make her go back and play off the black tees,” Mendelson said. “She can handle it.” Martin tied for third in last week’s Colorado Women’s Golf Association stroke play championship.
There’s no pro-am on Thursday this year. In its place is a free junior clinic from 3:30-4:30 p.m. on the driving range at Tiara Rado. Young golfers not only will get instruction on their full swing and short game, but they will learn about fitness, nutrition and proper skin care and skin cancer prevention. Mendelson said all junior golfers are welcome to attend the clinic.
“We’re really gunning for that age group of 7 to 14, just before high school,” he said. “We’re incorporating some of the things from the PGA Sports Academy into it. It’s kind of like the Play 60 thing the NFL does.”
A reception for Ken Mc- Gechie, this year’s RMO honoree, is Thursday.
McGechie got involved in the RMO in 1967 as a member of the committee to sell gallery tickets.
He’s played in several of the tournaments and for the past several years he has been the rules official.
When the tournament falls late in August, McGechie celebrates his birthday, Aug. 26, on the course, along with his oldest daughter, Kenda, who was also born on Aug. 26.
He’s researched and compiled a list of past champions and had two plaques made to commemorate those champions since the tournament’s inception in 1939. McGechie also has been a CGA rules official since 1990 and officiates several tournaments every year in addition to the RMO, and he helped develop junior golf programs in Grand Junction.
Mendelson figures the pros and low amateurs will once again post some phenomenal scores on the courses, both of which are in good shape for the tournament.
“Scoring is going to be huge again,” he said. “Twenty-under was the two-way tie for first last year. They just ripped the places apart, they’re so good. There are so many good players, this is just a testament to how many good players are out there.
“We’re in pretty good shape (at Tiara Rado). July helped us out with some rain, and the rough is really thick out there.”