Frias-Medina Win SCAGA Four-Ball 0 6

(SANTA ANA PUEBLO, N.M.) May 16, 2011 — Mike Frias and Daniel Medina of El Paso won the 2011 SCAGA Four Ball Team Championship at Santa Ana Golf Club Sunday, posting rounds of 66, 65 and 63 to finish at 19-under par and win by three shots.

“We started off hot,” Frias said.  “We cooled off in the middle of the round and had some really good par saves, and then we finished hot. We birdied three of the last four, which was nice, considering we had struggled on those last few holes in the first two rounds.”

Defending Champions Steve and Tim Madigan of Rio Rancho posted an eight-under 63, good for second place. “We started three shots back and played them even on the final day, ready to force a playoff if they stumbled, but they didn’t” Steve Madigan said.

Patrick Hanlon of Las Cruces and Anton Salome of Socorro finished in a tie for third at 13-under par.

Tim Madigan, a graduating senior at New Mexico State University, and the Aggie men’s golf team, head to the Denver regional of the NCAA later this week. In an NMSU video previewing the trip to Denver, Aggie golf coach Scott Lieberwirth discusses Madigan’s importance to the team.

— Dan Vukelich

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Sierra Del Rio to Shutter for Two Months 0 35

Sierra del Rio Golf Course

Sierra Del Rio Golf Course, which restricted play in December to Thursday through Sunday only, will close for two months after the New Year.

The temporary closure of the 18-hole Elephant Butte golf course was announced in an email Sunday. The golf course’s food and beverage operation, also will close. Plans are to reopen on March 1, the course said.

“The course is in reasonably good condition but we want it to be in the best shape possible when we reopen,” a golf shop employee said Sunday. Maintenance crews will devote the downtime to earth and drainage work to repair damage to native areas off the playing surfaces caused by heavy rains in September, the employee said.

Sierra Del Rio, a Richard Phelps design, is the centerpiece of a retirement- and second-home community near the Rio Grande in Southern New Mexico. Its director of golf is Guy Wimberly, who retired to Elephant Butte after decades running Arroyo Del Oso Golf Course in Albuquerque. Wimberly had no comment on the closure on Sunday.

Sierra Del Rio reduced playing days earlier this month. Winter is typically playable in Southern New Mexico, where daily highs reach into the 50s and 60s.

Sierra Del Rio is part of the Turtleback Mountain Resort. It opened in 2007 on the footprint of the old Oasis Golf Resort and is the nearest golf course to Spaceport America, where Virgin Galactic plans to fly tourists to the edge of space.

The renovated course and new homes built near it provided a boost to the local economy, but homebuilding and rounds played suffered following the 2008 housing collapse.

Dan Vukelich is editor of NewMexicoGolfNews.com. Reach him at dan@newmexicogolfnews.com.