SNELLING IS SNAKE RIVER CHAPTER PGA CHAMPION – EMPEY EARNS SENIOR TITLE
The Rocky Mountain Section PGA Snake River Chapter Match Play Championship is the final piece of the 2022 professional event puzzle, and it certainly did not disappoint. Perhaps the best weather in the history of the state provided conditions for phenomenal golf and intensely close championship matches. In the end, Justin Snelling became the Chapter Champion and Jim Empey earned the Senior Chapter Champion’s crown.
Snelling, a PGA Assistant Professional at Boise (Idaho) Ranch Golf Course, was in an absolute dogfight of a final match with Nick Blasius, PGA Executive Director of First Tee Idaho. Snelling had the match at 2 up with 2 to play but stumbled on the 17th hole to give Blasius a ray of hope after his outstanding pitch lay stone dead for par. After Snelling 2-putted for par on the final hole, Blasius had a serious go at a 15-footer to extend the match that just missed on the high side giving Snelling the title.
On the senior side, PGA Director of Instruction Jim Empey from Quail Hollow Golf Course in Boise, Idaho, ground out an incredible come from behind affair against PGA Head Professional, John Graham, from Sand Creek Golf Course in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Graham made a brilliant sand save on the 16th hole to take a two-up lead with two holes to play. An uncharacteristic tee shot on 17 by Graham opened the door for Empey going to the 18th. Both players hit solid drives into the final fairway but both then missed the green long and left leaving complex little downhill chips. Graham’s effort left him 5 feet back up the hill and after Empey half chunked his try, he calmly canned an 8-footer down the hill to apply the pressure. Graham barely missed forcing a 19th hole where Empey’s rock-solid two-putt par proved enough.
The Snake River Chapter Match Play Championship presented by Mizuno and supported by Evolve Golf, ROLEX and The PGA TOUR was contested at the always challenging 7,071 yard, par-72 layout at Crane Creek Country Club in Boise, Idaho, on October 17th and 18th.
The Rocky Mountain Section and the Snake River Chapter of the PGA would like to thank the members of Crane Creek Country Club and host PGA Professional Ron Rawls and his willing and helpful staff who put forth the effort to keep this as the premier event in the Snake River Chapter. Appreciation is also extended to Mizuno sales representative Cody Faught for his support of this Championship in addition to support from Evolve Golf. Thanks also to ROLEX and The PGA TOUR for their gracious and continued support of our professional championships.
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