Brace yourselves for the 51st Navajo Trail Open

When the Navajo Trail Open first became a tournament, I was 10 years old and only concerned about fishing, riding my bicycle and occasionally making a green in my grandmother’s backyard with a Campbell’s soup can as the hole.

Fast-forward to the 80’s, and I began covering the NTO on the radio, not knowing a few years later I’d be pulling double-duty while writing about this event in the newspaper. Warp speed to 2012, and gone are fishing, bicycles, radio and the soup can, which I now realize was a bit too small.

However, the NTO remains, going into its 51st year, and that’s a testament to good organization, sponsors, volunteers and a continuous base of dedicated golfers who have looked forward to this event since its inception.

The 2012 Coca-Cola of Durango/Navajo Trail Open is true to form with a full field of professionals and amateurs as it kicks off with the Pro-Am on Thursday and the 54-hole Open on Friday through Sunday at Hillcrest Golf Club.

Because of the enormity of this tournament, Hillcrest will be closed to public golf from Thursday through Sunday to allow the grounds crew to prep the course each day. Public golf will resume Monday.

I touched on sponsors, who cover the costs of putting on this event so that junior golfers can continue to receive the highest quality of golf instruction and exposure to the game of golf. So, as a recognition for their support, the Sponsors Tournament is contested the Saturday before the event hits the links. There was a large group of sponsors and their friends divided into four flights.

First Flight:

1. Steve Pease, Mick McDermott, John Vickers and Ted Hopkins, low gross, 59.

1. Cody Civiletto, Joe Civiletto, George Judson and Kollin Bellville, low net, 55;

2. Michael Biery, Chuck Pierce, John Betka and Chris Engle, 57.

Second Flight:

1. Brett Englund, Gene Englund, Kurt Rohren and Mark Walters, low gross, 60.

1. Paul Cahill, Ron Holligan, Joe D’Agostino and Carl Curtis, low net, 57;

T2. Mark Miller, Max Miller, Cory Kitch and Ryan Montgomery, 58;

T2. Susan Voorhees, Guy Begay, Joan Lee and Gary Wilson, 58.

Third Flight:

T1. Pat Smith, Scott Smith, Rick Love and Bob Battani, low gross, 65;

T1. Larry Gaughan, Mark Gaughan, Jean Kirol and Ann Emigh, 65.

1. Doug McCormick, Burk McCormick, James Bedford and Ashley Tarkington, low net, 56.

Fourth Flight:

1. Dennis Corkran, Nathan Wickett, Jay LeBeau and Steve Folk, low gross, 68.

1. Art Gallegos, Karen Gallegos, Rich Podlesnik and Sharon Podlesnik, low net, 58;

2. Lewis Gittings, Trevor Secunda, Wayne Bulleigh and Ray Esquibel, 59.

A few calendar reminders: Columbine Classic Duet, at Dalton Ranch Golf Club, June 20-21; The Choker, at Dalton Ranch Golf Club, June 23.

Good luck to all the participants in the Coca-Cola/Navajo Trail Open. First tee is 7:14 a.m. Thursday for the Pro-Am and 7:14 a.m. Friday for the 54-hole Open tournament.

Dave Bray has been covering the local golf scene for 31 years. He can be reached at dbray3751@gmail.com.