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Players from all over the world putted for pleasure and for bragging rights in the seventh annual First Piggy ILX Open Mini-Golf Tournament held at Los Abrigados Resort & Spa on Sunday, June 15.

First time champion Matt McCaslin from North Carolina, also the 2008 U.S. Open Mini-Golf champion, shot a 235 on Sunday and was on his way to claim his first mini-golf championship in Sedona.

McCaslin was behind by 13 strokes after four rounds, but stormed back in the last four rounds shooting a 28, 28, 27 and 29 to take home the $2,000 prize money and a seven-day vacation from ILX.

By Brian Bergner Jr.

Larson Newspapers

Players from all over the world putted for pleasure and for bragging rights in the seventh annual First Piggy ILX Open Mini-Golf Tournament held at Los Abrigados Resort & Spa on Sunday, June 15.

First time champion Matt McCaslin from North Carolina, also the 2008 U.S. Open Mini-Golf champion, shot a 235 on Sunday and was on his way to claim his first mini-golf championship in Sedona.

McCaslin was behind by 13 strokes after four rounds, but stormed back in the last four rounds shooting a 28, 28, 27 and 29 to take home the $2,000 prize money and a seven-day vacation from ILX.

Texas native Rainey Statum, last year’s First Piggy champion in Sedona, finished second overall in this year’s competition, scoring a 238, only three strokes behind the leader, McCaslin.

Nate Nichols from Indiana finished third with a 241. Finishing fourth was Kevin Lacey from Ohio, with a 243; and wrapping up the top five was Randy Reeves from Oklahoma, who shot a 245.

“This was a great tournament; we’re thankful everyone made it here safely and played well,” Tournament Director Ivan Madar said.

One of the premier mini-golfers in the world was also in attendance on Sunday at the First Piggy Open: Olivia Prokopova, a 13-year-old from the Czech Republic.

Prokopova shot a 247 and was tied for sixth for her efforts, as many in the field had trouble realizing she was only 13 and competing with the best in the world.

Prokopova might have won the entire event if it weren’t for a terrible round four, in which she shot a 37, or one over par for the mini-golf course of 18 holes.

However, she actually set the course record with 11 holes in one, something that she has accomplished before, but just not in Sedona.

“It was great to watch her play the game; she is really turning into an amazing player,” Madar said.

Other standouts included Charlie Greenwalt from Indiana, who tied with Prokopova with a 247; Mike Baldoza from Texas, who shot a 249, which was good enough for eighth place; and Dan McCaslin, Matt’s brother, shot a 250, good enough for ninth overall.

Also, Beaver Creek Golf Course Pro Jamey Lewis played in the tournament as well, finishing 10th overall with an astonishing 253.

“What a great tournament; I had a lot of fun,” Lewis said.

Lewis was the highest-scoring Arizonan in the field, with Sean Taylor’s 260 coming in 12th, John Davis’ 269 coming in 16th, Eric Wolczack’s 281 coming in 17th and Lance Eskew’s 284 coming in 18th.

Jeffrey West shot a 287, good enough for 20th overall, and Jerry Johnson shot a 332, for 24th as well.

“We would like to thank all of the sponsors for helping us put on this wonderful event,” Madar said.


Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, Ext. 131, or e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 


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