Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club recently hosted the 60th Annual PING Southwest PGA Championship – a battle of the top PGA golf professionals in the Southwest Section. Grand Canyon University Golf Course Director of Golf Jesse Mueller, who was playing in his first Southwest PGA Championship, captured the title by two strokes (-15, 201) over Dennis Downs of Reid/West Golf Academy (-13, 203).
“I rate this as a 10 out of 10,” said Mueller (pictured on the right with his 2017 trophy). “My first Section Championship and I get a win, which you don’t get to win that often in golf. It’s something I don’t take for granted, especially since I don’t play that much anymore. I’ll cherish this forever because you don’t know when you’re going to get a chance to win a big tournament like this. It was an awesome experience all the way around.”
For winning the Southwest PGA Championship title Mueller earned $7,000 and an exemption into the 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open, scheduled to take place February 1-4 at TPC Scottsdale.
“The victory and the Phoenix Open exemption hasn’t really sunk in yet,” said Mueller. “I can’t wait to play in it as it’s such an awesome event and with me growing up here in the Valley I have been there a ton of times over the years. Being able to play in it is going to be an awesome experience.”
The Waste Management Phoenix Open won’t be the first large event Mueller has competed in. He qualified for the 2012 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif., where he finished tied for 51st place. As a new member of the Southwest PGA, Mueller looks forward to playing with some of the top players in the country in member events.
Downs’ final-round 64 (pictured on the left) was tied as the low round for the Championship with Preston Otte, 37, PGA Head Golf Professional at the Highlands at Dove Mountain, who also carded a 64 in the final round that included six birdies and an eagle on the par-4 14th hole. Otte finished tied for seventh place.
“Ak-Chin Southern Dunes is proud to host many championship level events,” said Brady Wilson, general manager, Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club. “From U.S. Open qualifying and collegiate events, to Web.com Tour qualifying and the PING Southwest PGA Section Championship, we’re honored to continue the tradition. Congratulations to Jesse and to the Southwest Section of the PGA for an exciting event and tremendous display of scoring.”
Ak-Chin Southern Dunes, a Troon Golf-managed facility, hosts and hosted numerous high-profile amateur and professional tournaments, including The Saguaro Amateur Championship in early January, the Southwest Section PGA Championship, Arizona Golf Association Amateur Championships, and U.S. Open qualifying events.