Playing in the last group Mark Parson, Harbor Pines Golf Club, Wins the 22nd Haverford Philadelphia PGA Classic
Flourtown, Pa. – The 22nd annual Haverford Philadelphia PGA Classic was held on May 29th at Sunnybrook Golf Club in Plymouth Meeting, PA, on its traditional Tuesday after Memorial Day date. On a warm, humid day, PGA Professional Mark Parson of Harbor Pines Golf Club in Egg Harbor Township, NJ bested a field of 150 players (138 professionals and 12 amateurs) to capture the largest first place check of any PGA Sectional event in the country… $100,000.
The tournament got off to an exciting start as Brett Melton (Radley Run Country Club), who was playing in the first group of the morning wave, posted a 3-under (69). Melton posted four birdies which included a clutch 25 foot birdie on the difficult par-4 18th hole to help him reach that number.
However when the morning wave came to an end Melton would share the top spot with Corey McAlarney (Squires Golf Club). McAlarney played a near perfect round of golf, posting four birdies along the way, but a bogey, on the long par-3 8th hole, meant he would finish with an identical score as Melton, 3-under (69).
Three additional players in the morning wave, including a pair of past champions, Andrew Turner (Sunnybrook Golf Club) and Billy Stewart (The ACE Club), along with Michael Little (Lookaway Golf Club) threatened to join the pair at 3-under but ultimately fell one shot short.
Defending champion Turner made the turn at 3-under but a pair of bogeys on holes 12 & 13 proved too difficult to overcome. Like Turner, Little made the turn at 3-under but as Little made his way back to the clubhouse he found trouble on a few holes and his lengthy birdie putt on the 18th hole fell just short leaving him one shot shy. Stewart, who started his Haverford Classic on the 10th hole, got off to a slow start with a bogey on his opening hole. Stewart would quickly recover and made the turn at even par. After birdies on holes 1 & 3 Stewart found himself at 2-under but unfortunately he was unable to card any more red numbers after that and finished his round at 2-under-par.
As the tournament turned to the afternoon wave a couple of players made a run at the top of the leaderboard. The first to do so was Jason Calhoun (Univ. of Pennsylvania). Calhoun found himself at 2-under as he played the closing hole. After his tee shot found the left rough, Calhoun managed to hit his approach shot to 20 feet. Unfortunately Calhoun was unable to convert the birdie putt and he finished at 2-under (70). Next to make a run at the leaders was Zac Oakley (Wayneborough Country Club). Starting on back nine, Oakley was 1-over after his opening nine holes but as he made the turn he carded four birdies and found himself at 3-under par as he played the par-4 9th hole. Unfortunately, a wayward tee shot led to a bogey and Oakley finished with a score of 2-under (70).
One player in afternoon did manage to break free of the logjam at 2-under. Brian Bergstol (Shawnee Inn & Resort) carded three birdies through eight holes and looked primed to surpass Melton and McAlarney for the lead. However, Bergstol’s fourth birdie was cancelled by his lone bogey and he would join the pair at 3-under. With only a few groups remaining on the course in looked as though the tournament was headed for a playoff.
But playing in the tournament’s final paring, Mark Parson (Harbor Pines Golf Club) knew exactly what was in front of him as he made his way around Sunnybrook Golf Club. Parson got off to a hot start with four birdies on his opening eight holes but a bogey on the par-4 9th dropped Parson to 3-under as he made his way to the back nine. Parson would trade bogeys and birdies on holes 10 & 11 and 13 & 14 respectively to find himself back at 3-under as he played the par-5 16th hole. After reaching the green in two, Parson left himself a tap in birdie to get back to 4-under as he made his way to the par-3 17th hole. Parson was able to convert a long 30 foot birdie putt to get himself to 5-under with only one hole to play. On the 18th hole, Parson’s tee shot found the left rough but he managed to hit his approach shot on the fringe and two putts later Parson was in the clubhouse with a 5-under (67) giving him a two-shot victory.
The victory was Parson’s first Philadelphia PGA points win and it could not have come at a better tournament. With the largest first place prize of any individual event Parson walked away from Sunnybrook and the Haverford Philadelphia PGA Classic $100,000 richer.
As always the members of the Philadelphia PGA would like to thank Mr. George Connell and the Haverford Trust Company as well as the membership of Sunnybrook Golf Club for their tremendous support of this event.
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