Mrs. Ott won the inaugural Wyoming State Golf Association Women's State Amateur in 1923. She followed by winning the 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927 and 1928 championships. Winning six consecutive championships is a remarkable feet in any generation. Had the WSGA been established earlier, Mrs. Ott may have had more championships to put on her resume.
Mrs. Utzinger followed in Mrs. Ott's footsteps as the fellow Casper resident won the Wyoming State Women's Amateur five times. Mrs. Utzinger came out on top of her fellow golfers in 1930, 1932,1934, 1935 and 1937 to continue the early dominance of the WSGA Women's Amateur by Casper ladies.
With seven WSGA Men's Amateur titles in 1930, 1931, 1935, 1936, 1942, 1946, and 1947, Jay Gaer was the premier golfer of in the state of Wyoming for two decades. Mr. Gaer continued to compete well into his 70's and was a golf icon in his home town of Laramie.
After a successful amateur golfing career that included the WSGA Men's Amateur titles in 1953 and 1962to go along with Wyoming Open amateur title in 1961. Lew turned pro in 1965 and became the golf pro at Cheyenne Airport Golf Club. He continues to serve as the head pro at Cheyenne Airport to this day. His teachings and passion for golf have been passed on to several generations in the state. Lew was a driving force behind the establishment of high school golf and was a teacher and golf coach in Cheyenne for 29 years. Lew is also a gracious host when Cheyenne Airport Golf Club hosts the annual Wyoming Open, which celebrated it's 50th anniversary in 2006. In 2005 Lew was also honored by the Wyoming Sports Hall of Fame as he was inducted into the hall as one of the recipients of the Hall's Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Kandy dominated Wyoming women's golf from 1974 to 1983. With W.S.G.A. Women's Amateur titles in 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1981 and 1983. Kandy was always in the hunt for the title. Wyoming Women's golf suffered a loss when she moved south to Fort Collins, Colorado. However, she remains a proud fan of Wyoming and the University of Wyoming and Kandy and her husband, Clayton, frequent UW sporting events.
The winner of the W.S.G.A. Men's State Amateur in 1954 and 1961, Wally Goodwin was a great player in his own right. However, he may be better known as a great golf coach. Currently the Men's golf coach at Northern Colorado University, Wally is a former coach of Stanford and Nortwestern University. One of his team members at Northwestern, Jim Benepe, is also a member of the inaugural class of of the W.S.G.A. Hall of Fame. His most famous and prized recruit is the number one ranked golfer in the world and perhaps the best player in the history of the game, Tiger Woods. Wally is a member of the Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame and was at the helm when Stanford won the 1994 NCAA Championship, a year in which he also received the National Coach of the Year award. Wally's wife, Nancy, is also a fine golfer as demonstrated by her 1955 and 1987 W.S.G.A. Women's Amateur Championships. The Goodwins split time between Colorado and their family ranch in Wyoming.
Already a member of the Texas Golf Hall of Fame for her stellar play in that state, the W.S.G.A. is proud to honor Marry Ann Morrison as an inaugural member of the W.S.G.A. Hall of Fame. The winner of the W.S.G.A. Women's State Amatuer title in 1989, 1990, 1992, 1994, and 1996, Marry Ann also has several W.S.G.A. Women's Mid-Amateur and Women's Senior titles to her credit. Mary Ann continues to compete on a high level, and to this day is a threat to win any W.S.G.A. event in which she participates.
Perhaps the best male golfer ever from the State of Wyoming, Jim Benepe used a dominating junior golf career in Wyoming to springboard himself to successful collegiate and professional careers. Jim was a first team all-american at Northwestern in 1986 and had NCAA tournament finishes of 12th and 8th during his college career. Jim became the first and only Wyoming native to win a PGA tour event with his victory at the 1988 Western Open by one shot over Peter Jacobsen. The tournament was his first event on the PGA tour which vaulted him to the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award. Jim retired from professional competition after the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, but he continues his love of the game by teaching and working with junior golfers. In 2006, Jim was inducted into the Wyoming Sports Hall of Fame.
Jim Core has been involved with the Wyoming State Golf Association, as a Board Member, President and Executive Director, since 1982 and has played a big role in the success and popularity of golf in the state. In 2002, when the WSGA needed his services as executive director, Jim resigned from the board of directors and position of president of the WSGA. For the next six years he served as the executive director in charge of the day-to-day operations and tournament management for the WSGA. While president of the WSGA, Jim was instrumental in increasing the number of WSGA tournaments from three to eight. Any one who has participated in a WSGA event, no doubt know Jim well from his countless hours organizing, officiating and running a majority of the WSGA events. Jim remains involved as a tournament administrator for these events and continues to be a resource of knowledge for the WSGA board and executive director.
Jim Core helped lead the drive to computerize the handicap system for the WSGA throughout the state with the introduction of the Golf Handicap Information Network (GHIN). He helped install software and hardware at WSGA Member Clubs throughout the state. He has built a close relationship with the golf pros and club managers over the years helping troubleshoot errors and questions with the software and hardware.
Jim is a certified United States Golf Association Course Rater and has conducted countless workshops in the state to train volunteers. He was a United States Golf Association Regional Affairs Committee Member, International Association of Golf Administrators (IAGA) Member, and Pacific Coast Amateur Trustee. He still attends meetings to represents Wyoming on the national level. With his vast knowledge and training on the rules of golf, he has served as a tournament rules official for not only for the WSGA events but for USGA events and other top notch amateur competitions. For most of his career, Core performed all of these duties for the love of the game without compensation.
Anyone who played golf in Wyoming from the 1970’sthrough the 1990’s knows the Longpre Family. John and Kathy along with their sons Kevin and Mike were excellent players and great promoters of the game of golf in Wyoming. Mike lost a long battle with brain cancer after five and a half courageous years. He was quick witted and very positive throughout the many surgeries and treatments. After playing high school golf in Laramie and a junior college stint, Mike played college golf at Rice University. He had a stellar amateur career with several WSGA top ten finishes including a win at the 1989 State Match Play tournament. He became a club pro in the Houston area and continued to give golf lessons throughout his illness. Mike was the honorary chairman of the initial “Golfers Against Cancer” fundraiser that was started by the members of his golf course—Deerwood Club in Houston—which has raised more than $18 million for cancer research since inception. A golf tournament in Laramie every Father’s Day weekend also bears his name. The Mike Longpre Silver Bullet tournament is a top flight stroke play amateur tournament that also raises money for cancer research.
Kathy’s father Chuck Allen was a golf professional and coached the University of Wyoming golf team for 17 years. Kathy was indoctrinated into the game of golf at an early age and became one of the best players in the State of Wyoming for three decades. She won the 1972 Women’s amateur and the 1994 Women’s Midamateur. She was always in the mix for any amateur tournament in which she participated and won manyamateur tournaments including 15 Jacoby Club Championships and 11 Laramie City Championships.
True to the family tradition, Kevin is an excellent player as well. After capturing many amateur tournaments including the Wyoming State High School championship, Kevin followed his brother’s and grandfather’s footsteps and is a golf pro in the Houston area. He is currently the head golf and manager of Raveneaux Country Club. In between raising his three boys and busy work schedule, Kevin still competes at a high level and has won several Pro-Am’s and PGA sectional events.
John served as a WSGA board member for over 20 years and was a great promoter of the game in the State of Wyoming. An excellent player in his own right, John won the 1985 WSGA Match Play tournament, the 1992 WSGA Mid-Amateur, the 1999 Two Person (Four-Ball) tournament, and a host of other amateur tournaments. While in Laramie, John and his Company established the Silver Bullet Amateur Championship. He sold his business with the stipulation that the tournament that now bears his son’s name continue. John and Kathy moved to Houston in 2002 to be near their grandchildren and help Mike and his wife Sarah in Mike’s battle with cancer.
The Longpre family makes its annual trip back to Laramie every summer to participate and promote the Mike Longpre Silver Bullet Championship. The Longpre family golf tradition still lives on but unfortunately for Wyoming, they play most of their golf in Texas these days and not in the Cowboy State.
As a nine-year old, Maureen started playing golf withher mother, an avid and accomplished golfer in her own right. Golf was a tradition in her family, it was n her blood. Her father had been the golf pro at the Sheridan Country Club.
From the very beginning she loved the game and it became her life-long passion. In her early years Maureen was the only girl in Sheridan that played golf. She would spend as much time at the golf course playing with the boys as her school schedule would allow. When she could not make it to the course, she could be found hitting balls around her backyard. She remembers summer days filled with 45 or 54 holes of golf.
Her hard work paid off. Maureen has been a fixture in women’s golf in Wyoming since the 1960s when she started winning local club and city championships.
The peak of her golf game, her proudest achievements, came in 1998. That year, Maureen won the Sheridan Country Club Championship, the Sheridan City Championship, the WSGA Women’s State Amateur Championship, the WSGA Mid-Amateur Championship, and the Wyoming Senior Women’s Golf Association State Championship.
Other state wins include four other Wyoming Senior Women’s Golf Association State Championships, a WSGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship in2000, and two WSGA Fourball Championships in the women’s division in 2003 and 2004.
Her golf game hit the national scene in 1999 when she played in the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at Desert Mountain Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. She then represented Wyoming in two appearances at the USGA State Team Championship in 2001 and 2003.
Maureen has served twice as a volunteer on the WSGA Board of Directors. She first served in the 1970s and early 1980s and most recently from 1999 until 2004.
Her advice to young girls interested in the game or given the opportunity to play: “Go for it. Enjoy it. Golf is a lifetime activity that can be played at any age. You’ll meet the nicest people and experience the most beautiful natural surroundings on the golf course.” For Maureen, who travelled extensively in her career, golf allowed her to make new friends wherever she went. Today, you might find Maureen playing at one of her favorite Wyoming golf courses: The Sheridan Country Club, The Powder Horn, The Golf Club at Devil’s Tower, the Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club, or Paradise Valley Country Club.Back to Top
Keegan Bradley won the WSGA Men's Amateur Championship in 2005 and represented the Wyoming State Golf Association in the 2006 Pacific Coast Amateur Championship at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. He placed 47th out of 88 of the top players in the western United States.
Also in 2006, Keegan made it to the round of 32 in the U.S. Amateur Public Links Match Play played in Bremerton, Washington.He won the WSGA Match Play Championship in 2006, and represented the WSGA in the Pacific Coast Amateur in 2007 at the San Diego Country Club. He led the tournament after the first two rounds and finished in a tie for 14th.
Keegan made the cut in his first PGA Tour event, the 2011 Sony Open in Hawaii. He finished T-7 the following week at the Bob Hope Classic. He added a second top 10 finish at the Valero Texas Open in April. He won his first PGA Tour event at the 2011 HP Byron Nelson Championship. He defeated Ryan Palmer on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff. The victory gained him entry into the 2011 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he shared the 36-hole lead and led midway through the final round before finishing T-15. The week after the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, he played in his first major, the 2011 PGA Championship. Keegan became only the third player after Francis Ouimet (1913) and Ben Curtis (2003) to win a major in his first attempt.
Keegan played in the Ryder Cup Matches in 2012. His record was 3 – 1 – 0. His record in the 2013 President's Cup was 2 -2 -1.
Dave Balling of Cody grew up in Cheyenne and was a member of the 1974 East High School state championship team. He went on to play for the University of Wyoming golf team from 1980-1981.
He won the WSGA Amateur Championship in 1986, 1988, 1992 and 1996. In 1995 he won the WSGA Mid-Amateur Championship and in 2009 he was the WSGA Senior Amateur Champion.
Dave represented the Wyoming Satate Golf Association in the Pacific Coast Amateur Championship in 1987 and 1989. He was the low amateur in the 1992 Wyoming Open. In 2007 he competed in the USGA Mid-Amateur held at Bandon Dunes, Ore.
Balling has served as an assistant coach for the CHS golf team, and while he no longer coaches, he still can be seen helping the younger golfers. He served on the WSGA Board for a decade, has been an Olive Glenn board member for the last 10 years, and served as the president and greens chairman.
Dave has won the Olive Glenn Golf & Country Club Championship 15 times as of 2013. He practices every day and plays 2-3 times a week.Back to Top