Shining Mountain links conquered by top local players

Move over Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.   And whoever said Woodland Park is not a golfing hub with some premiere linksters.


Nope, the top PGA tour players don’t have to worry about budding golf stars in the Teller high country ready to join their ranks. But in a drastic change from previous years, the area’s top golfers are sending a strong message in declaring victory against the challenging Shining Mountain links, known for devouring egos and stray shots.


In the annual Shining Mountain Men’s Club Championship held earlier this month, Brian Clifford brought the beast to her knees, carding impressive 73-76 scores to snag the gold. Clifford is a past champion of the 36-hole stroke play championship and well known for his consistent play.


Despite Clifford’s stellar performance, he didn’t win by too many shots. Giving Clifford a run for his money was Tim Hamlett, who secured the runner-up spot with rounds of 76-76. Meanwhile, Robert Yardumian got the silver with 75-78, 153 total. And Tracy Barber finished fourth.


This year’s club championship may have set a record for the most 18-hole rounds in the 70s. This is a level of play that is considered an elite status among golf buffs. Brain Gustafson and Frank Gundy also joined the sub-80 crowd during the recent championship.


In the net division (amounting to gross scores deducted by a player’s handicap) Joe Neal snagged the gold with a 135 total, with rounds of 70-65. Yardumian, meanwhile, finished second in the net division. Tony O’Connor grabbed the silver with rounds of 65-71, while Gustafson finished fourth.


Local links experts are babbled by the impressive scores on the par-70 layout, dubbed as one of the toughest shorter courses in the state. The club champion competitors, though, may have benefitted from great weather and ideal conditions.


In the closest to the pin competitions, the winners were Gustafson, who nearly had a hole-in-one on number 9, Yardumian, Jerry Penland and Gene Sperry.