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Top Runyan Scholarship awarded to ASU PGM student


August 24, 2006
MESA, Ariz. - For the first time since the program started in 1999, a student enrolled in Arizona State University's Professional Golf Management program is the recipient of the Paul Runyan Collegiate Golf Management Scholarship, awarded to outstanding PGM students nationally by the PGA of America. Peter McSparran, a senior in the PGM program at ASU's Polytechnic campus, was presented with the top honor, a $5,000 scholarship, in July along with 10 other scholarship recipients who each received $2,500.

The scholarship was inspired by the legacy of the late Paul Runyan, one of the game's premier instructors who passed away in 2002. A member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and a two-time winner of the PGA Championship and Senior PGA Championship, Runyan was chosen one of GOLF Magazine's Top 50 Teachers. Since its beginning, the Paul Runyan Collegiate Golf Management Scholarships has awarded $72,500 to 19 students.

McSparran, a native of Madison, Conn., spent eight years in military service and worked as an engineer at a nuclear power plant before pursuing a golf career. He is a returning adult student who has a cumulative 4.0 grade point average as a Professional Golf Management major.

He admits that he was not always interested in golf. "I started to play when I turned 30 while living in upstate New York and working for Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation at its nuclear power plants," says McSparran. "I have been playing for about 13 years. I was looking for a change and had read about the PGM program and thought it would be a perfect fit."

This is not the first scholarship McSparran has received since returning to school for his second undergraduate degree. He is the recipient of the Morrison School of Agribusiness PGM Scholarship and the Southwest PGA Scholarship.

Applicants for the Paul Runyan Collegiate Golf Management Scholarship must be enrolled in a sanctioned PGM program. Applicants must complete Level II Golf Professional Training Program checkpoint; carry a grade point average of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 grading scale; have successfully completed the Playing Ability Test (PAT); demonstrate community involvement as it relates to growing the participation in the game of golf; and present a paper (500-word minimum) discussing "Why Do You Want to Become a PGA Professional?"

In addition to his academic success, McSparran has successfully started outreach programs with the Boys & Girls Club, Project Challenge and Leisure World, a retirement community in the East Valley.

This fall the club will look at working with other schools and groups in the valley, according to McSparran. "One of the things I would like to see is the expansion of our outreach program with inner-city school districts and schools like T.J. Pappas School for children of homeless families throughout the academic year."