Jan 12, 2010 at 03:50 PM
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Allianz Life Gives Agent Opp of A Lifetime

Allianz Life Insurance is using its sponsorship of the Allianz Championship to give one insurance agent the opportunity of a lifetime. Mike Podolak, a life insurance agent from Oxbow, North Dakota, has qualified to play in the Allianz Championship, a Champions Tour event that takes place from February 19-21 in Boca Raton, Fla. at The Old Course at Broken Sound. Podolak earned his spot in the tournament by qualifying for an exemption that Allianz offered to the more than 100,000 insurance agents that offer Allianz products.

“Our title sponsorship allows us certain privileges. So for our 10th year of hosting the Allianz Championship, we wanted to use one of our sponsor’s exemptions for the benefit of one of our agents,” said Allianz Life President and CEO Gary C. Bhojwani. “We’re thrilled that someone with such a rich golf history like Mike will be able to experience this unique opportunity.”

In order to meet the agent qualification standards, Podolak had to satisfy three criteria: the agent must be at least 50 years old, must have a scratch handicap or better and must shoot a one-round score of par or better at The Old Course at Broken Sound. Podolak shot a round of 1-under when he played The Old Course at Broken Sound in December 2009.

“Having attempted to qualify for the PGA Tour in the past, I know how difficult it is to become eligible for a Tour event and will cherish this opportunity to play with the legends of the game,” said Podolak. “I want to thank Allianz Life for this amazing opportunity, which truly is a golfer’s dream come true.”

Podolak, 55, has been married to his wife, Brenda, for 19 years and has two daughters – Kate, 17 and Laura, 15 – both golfers. He started his own agency, Podolak and Associates, in 1982 specializing in agricultural insurance and retirement planning. Podolak is works with the farmers in his area, and is affiliated with the Sunderland Group, which provides life insurance and annuities.

He's no slouch on the course either.

Podolak has won 21 individual state amateur golf titles in North Dakota and won the 1984 US Mid-Amateur Championship for the 25+ age bracket. He also played on the 1985 Walker Cup team and in the 1986 Masters. Some other fun facts about Podolak supplied by Allianz:

  • Home course: Oxbow Gold Course
  • Favorite course to play: Pine Valley Golf Club in Clementon, N.J.
  • Golf course he’d most like to play: Cyprus Point in California on the Monterey Peninsula
  • Favorite hole in golf: 13th at Augusta or 18th at Pebble Beach
  • Best round score: 64 in the 2004 North Dakota Open Championship, which he won
  • Favorite Champions Tour golfer: Tom Watson
  • Age started playing: 8 years old at Oakes, N.D. 9-hole course