Club pros to squeeze out time for tourney at Sandia

The Sun Country’s first pro event since the coronavirus pandemic shut sports down in March has proven to be a challenge for several professionals even before they have walked onto the course at Sandia Golf Club.

It’s a matter of creative scheduling for the professionals from New Mexico and El Paso, as they will compete in the Pro-Pro Team Championship Monday and Tuesday at Sandia. The event is a 36-hole, two-man best-ball format with an 8 a.m. tee time start both days. Therein lies the challenge.

With an uptick of rounds at golf courses in New Mexico and El Paso, professionals find it difficult to leave their home courses to compete in the section team championship, said tournament director Ben Tolsma.

Play has picked up at various courses mainly because golf is one of the few activities available during the coronavirus pandemic. Golf courses in New Mexico closed for a little more than a month before reopening in early May. Golfers have come out in droves and kept the course professionals busy.

For example, at Twin Warriors and Santa Ana golf clubs on the Santa Ana Pueblo, the staff will have to compensate without some of the club pros.

Santa Ana head pro Dave Brown and assistant pro Steve Manning will be competing in the two-day event, as will Zach Hoefel, the Twin Warriors head pro, and Twin Warriors assistant pros Cory Haught and Alan McDermott.

They’re going to represent their courses in an attempt to bring back a championship.

This will be the third big event the Sun Country Golf House has conducted since golf courses reopened in early May. The New Mexico West Texas Amateur Championship took place June 12-14 at Horizon Golf Club in El Paso.

The two-day Junior Stableford Championship concluded Tuesday at Paradise Hills Golf Club.

Sun Country has been diligent about adhering to coronavirus prevention guidelines. The professionals have also been enforcing the guidelines at their respective golf courses. Now they’ll be following the rules during the two-day tournament at Sandia.

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