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(Malvern, Pa.) (August 20, 2019) – John Pillar of (Hawley, Pa.), winner of the Philadelphia Section Senior PGA Professional Championship August 19-20, 2019 at Applebrook Golf Club will lead seven Section PGA Professionals to compete Oct. 3-6, in the 31st Senior PGA Professional Championship.
The national Championship, presented by Cadillac and supported by Golf Channel and John Deere, will be held at Omni Barton Creek Resort and Spa in Austin, Texas.
Pillar turned in a winning total of 8-under-par 134 to capture the Philadelphia Section Senior PGA Professional Championship presented by Cadillac. Bob Lennon of (Wilmington, Del.) finished three strokes back at 5-under-par 137. They are joined by Brian Kelly of (Lewisburg, Pa.), Terry Hertzog of (Lititz, Pa.), George Forster of (Blue Bell, Pa.), Dave Quinn of (Marlton, NJ), Eddie Perrino of (Mountain Top, Pa.).
“I feel grateful to join the list of Philadelphia PGA Senior Champions,” commented Pillar of his win. “We have such a strong contingent of senior players in our Section and to be considered in the same sentence as those legends is truly an honor. “I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize everyone at Woodloch Springs, especially my staff, who do such an outstanding job at home allowing me to compete in these events. I also need to thank the membership and staff of Applebrook Golf Club for providing such an outstanding venue for us to play these past two days. I am looking forward to the National Championship and playing with the best players from across the country.”
Pillar now joins a short list of players who have won both the Philadelphia PGA Professional Championship (2009) and Philadelphia PGA Senior Championship.
The Senior PGA Professional Championship brings together a field of 264 contestants representing the PGA of America’s 41 nationwide Sections and features a total purse of $300,000. The first two rounds will be conducted on the Foothills and Coore Crenshaw Courses. The first cut will be made after 36 holes of play to the low 90 scorers and ties. The second cut will be made after 54 holes of play to the low 70 scorers and ties. The final two rounds will be played on the Foothills Course.
Designed by Tom Fazio, the Foothills Course was recently ranked as one of the top courses in Texas by Golf Magazine. The course is protected by cliffs, waterfalls and creeks, making for a beautiful, scenic round, but also emphasizes the importance of accuracy. Drives from the elevated tee boxes must be precise to hit the fairways, and even more so when approaching the small greens. Previously, the Foothills Course was home to the PGA Tour Champions Legends of Golf tournament from 1990-1994.
A collaboration between course architect Bill Coore and two-time Masters Champion, Ben Crenshaw, the Coore Crenshaw Course is designed with the ideology that nature is the best architect. Although the holes feature lush, wide fairways, the dense trees to their sides will swallow any ball that misses its mark. However, the real challenge is found on the large, undulated greens that are sure to stump and frustrate players. The course’s beauty is really seen on the signature 18th hole. Running slightly uphill, approach shots must carry a creek to the low-lying green which is designed to appear as though it was carved into the hillside.
Begun in 1989, the Senior PGA Professional Championship is modeled after the PGA Professional Championship, with a field of 50-and-older senior PGA Professionals who advanced through 41 Section Championships conducted from June through August this year.
The top 35 finishers in the national Championship earn a berth in the 81st KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, which will be conducted in May 21-24, 2020, at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
The top five finishers earn an exemption into the final stage of the 2020 PGA Tour Champions National Finals in November 2019. Since its debut, many participants in the Senior PGA Professional Championship have used their success in the event as a springboard to a PGA Tour Champions career.
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About the PGA of America
Cape May Court House, N.J, – Nearly two months after its originally scheduled date, the 2019 Atlantic City Team Stableford was played at Union League National, a new venue for the Philadelphia PGA, on a warm and humid summer afternoon. For this rescheduled event, 25 teams traveled down the AC Expressway to the New Jersey shore for the championships that pairs one PGA Professional with three amateur partners playing a stableford points.
In the Net division, Eric McNamee (Golf Galaxy – Montgomeryville) and his amateur partners Joseph Boyle, Walt Hoffner, and Jesse Brookreson combined for a team score of 94 points, four more than their closest opponent. Each member of the team contributed to the overall score including every member of the team carding a natural birdies.
In the Gross division, the team of Eric Figueroa (McCall Golf and Country Club) and his amateur partners Jon Stein, Pat Reynolds, and Russ Loue took home the tournament’s top spot. While each member of the team contributed to the overall score, it was the fantastic play of Figueroa, who posted a 4-under (68) on his ball that led to the team’s first place finish.
The Philadelphia PGA would like to thank our tournament sponsors the Morell Studios, Maui Jim, Red Arrow Markers, and Morgan Stanley for their support of the AC Stableford Team Championship. The Philadelphia PGA also thanks the membership and staff of Union League National for their support.
The next event on the Philadelphia PGA calendar is the Philadelphia Senior PGA Professional Championship set to be played on August 19-20 at Applebrook Golf Club in Malvern, Pa.
For more information, visit www.philadelphia.pga.com or follow us on social media: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
(MALVERN, Pennsylvania) (August 6, 2019) – Trevor Bensel of (Villanova, Pa.), winner of the National Car Rental Philadelphia Assistant PGA Professional Championship hosted by Dick Smith, Sr. August 5-6, 2019 at Chester Valley Golf Club will lead five Philadelphia Section PGA Professionals to compete Nov. 14-17 in the 43rd National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship.
The national Championship, supported by Srixon, Cleveland Golf, XXIO and Golf Advisor and John Deere will be held at PGA Golf Club, Port St. Luce, Fla.
Bensel turned in a winning total of 6-under-par 134 to capture the National Car Rental Philadelphia Assistant PGA Professional Championship hosted by Dick Smith, Sr. Michael Little of (North Wales, Pa.) finished four strokes back at 2-under-par 138. They are joined by Rusty Harbold of (Abington, Pa.), Mike Furey of (Summit Hill, Pa.), and Chris Filling of (Egg Harbor City, NJ).
The National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship brings together a field of 132 contestants representing the PGA of America’s 41 nationwide Sections and features a total purse of $150,000. All rounds will be played on the Wanamaker Course. A cut after 36 holes of play to the low 70 scorers and ties will be made.
Begun in 1977, the National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship is modeled after the PGA Professional Championship, with a field of PGA Professionals and PGA Associates who advanced through 41 Section Championships conducted from May through October this year.
If eligibility is met and maintained, the champion earns a berth in the 53rd PGA Professional Championship being played April 26-29, 2020, at Omni Barton Creek Resort and Spa in Austin, Texas.
About the PGA of America
The PGA of America represents the very best in golf. For more information about the PGA of America, visit PGA.org and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
DOYLESTOWN, Pa. – As the calendar turned to August, the Philadelphia PGA once again returned to Doylestown Country Club for the annual Doylestown Open. The one-day stroke-play tournament featured more than 90 Philadelphia PGA Professionals and served as the seventh event in the race for the Omega Player of the Year presented by the Haverford Trust Company.
Early in the day, current Philadelphia PGA Omega Player of the Year points leader Michael Little (Lookaway Golf Club) got things going after posting an impressive 4-under (68). Little posted back to back birdies on his front nine to make the turn at 2-under. As he made his way back to the clubhouse, Little added an eagle on the par-5 14th hole as well as another birdie on the short par-4 16th to reach 5-under. However, an untimely bogey on the par-5 18th hole dropped Little back to 4-under and in the end that proved to be a costly stroke.
As play continued, word started to spread that there was a player on the course who was having an impressive round. Brian Bergstol (Shawnee Inn & Resort) got off to a flat start but was able to turn things around on the par-4 6th hole carding his first birdie of the day. Bergstol added two additional birdies over his next three holes to make the turn at 3-under. After a couple of bogeys on holes 10 and 12, Bergstol was able to right the ship and posted three consecutive birdies on holes 13-15 before adding a final birdie on the par-5 18th hole to finish with a 5-under (67) and take over the clubhouse lead.
“I haven’t been playing on that well recently,” commented Bergstol on his round. “I have been very inconsistent with my driver and the only time I have been able to practice is during events. Today I was able to recover nicely from some of those poor drives and made some putts which helped a lot.”
Playing a couple hours after Bergstol, a second player was able to get to the 5-under (67) mark. Ben Schlesman (Manufacturers Golf & Country Club) is in his second year as an Assistant Professional in the Philadelphia Section. Like Bergstol, Schlesman played his outward nine in 3-under par after posting four birdies and one bogey. As he played the inward nine, Schlesman added four additional birdies but paired with two more bogeys Schlesman also finished at 5-under (67). Schlesman’s eight birdies were the most of any player in the field.
With no other players able to match or pass Bergstol and Schlesman, the pair headed back to the 18th hole for a sudden death playoff, the second consecutive Philadelphia PGA points event to be settled this way. Both players missed the fairway with their tee shots, although both managed to put themselves in a good position after their second shots came up just short of the par-5 green. In the end, Bergstol was able to get up and down for birdie giving him the edge over Schlesman as well as his first points win of the 2019 season.
“It always feels great to get a win,” said Bergstol. “I hope I can continue to build off of this round, especially with some big events coming up Assistants Championship and the Haverford Philadelphia PGA Classic. I want to thank everyone at Doylestown Country Club for hosting us today.”
A familiar name took home the top spot in the tournament’s senior division. Dave Quinn (Laurel Creek Country Club) managed to overcome a bogey on the first hole, his only blemish of the day, to finish the tournament at 2-under (70), one shot ahead of a trio of competitors giving him his fourth senior win of the 2019 season. Finishing just behind Quinn were Dave McNabb (Applebrook Golf Club), John Pillar (Country Club of Woodloch Springs), and Don Allan (Burlington Country Club).
The Section would like to thank the membership and staff of Doylestown Country Club for their support of this event as well as tournament sponsor Jani-King and the PGA Tour.
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (July 24, 2019) – Eric Eshleman, PGA, the Director of Golf at the Country Club of Birmingham (Alabama), is the recipient of the 2019 PGA Golf Professional of the Year Award. This award is the highest annual honor given to a PGA of America Professional, awarded for qualities of leadership, strong moral character and a substantial record of service to the PGA and the game of golf.
A 24-year PGA Member, Eshleman has demonstrated a passion and commitment to training and mentoring fellow PGA Professionals throughout his career and has served in advisory roles on several golf committees. Eshleman currently serves as the Honorary President of the Alabama-NW Florida PGA Section, after a two-year term as President. During his time as a Section Officer, he helped raise the image and status of the Section and established a fundraising program for its foundation, while his stint as president included the approval of the Section name change (formerly the Dixie Section).
He has trained many PGA Professionals to become outstanding golf instructors, stemming from his devotion to bettering the golf community and fostering strong relationships with the individuals he mentors. Under his leadership, the Country Club of Birmingham has averaged more than 2,400 lessons annually since 2014. Eshleman is also a member of the PGA Adjunct Faculty, teaching golf to beginners and assisting students and staff in developing their skills and shaping their career paths. Additionally, Eshleman oversees one of the largest junior golf programs in the country, with 200 kids playing in CCB’s Junior Club Championship in 2018.
Well known as a teaching professional for students such as Graeme McDowell, Patton Kizzire, Paul Dunne and the 66th U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Eshleman has been honored by the Alabama-NW Florida PGA Section on several occasions. He received the Section’s: PGA Golf Professional of the Year Award in 2010 and 2017; the Teacher of the Year Award (2000 and 2004); the 2011 PGA Bill Strausbaugh Award; and 2014 Youth Player Development Award.
Kevin Kirk, PGA, a 26-year PGA Member in the Southern Texas Section and Director of Golf Instruction at The Woodlands Country Club in The Woodlands, Texas, is the recipient of the 2019 PGA Teacher of the Year Award for his “outstanding services as a golf teacher, innovator and coach.”
Kirk, a PGA Master Professional and a GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher in America, has taught an impressive list of students, highlighted by three-time United States Ryder Cup Team Member and 2018 Masters Champion Patrick Reed; LPGA TOUR star and Major Champion Lexi Thompson; and three-time PGA TOUR winner Jhonattan Vegas, among others. Kirk also works with professional golfers Maria Verchenova and Rodolfo Cazubon, making him the coach of five Olympians.
Committed to player development, Kirk’s holistic approach to teaching caters to individuals of all ages and skill levels, from newcomers to Tour stars. A sought-after presenter and instructor, Kirk is a member of the PGA of America’s Coaching & Player Development Committee and has delivered numerous insightful presentations at PGA meetings, workshops and education programs at the Chapter, Section and National levels, as well as coaching summits in England, Australia and New Zealand. He is an advocate for the Aspen Institute Project Play and strongly supports the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and the PGA of America in the advancement of the American Development Model.
Fluent in Spanish, Kirk is a valued consultant for several golf federations, Olympic Committees and private clubs throughout Latin America. Highly regarded as a mentor, educator and role model for fellow PGA Members, Kirk’s passion is reinforced by his commitment to inclusiveness and sharing both his experience and knowledge with peers.
His recognition as 2019 National PGA Teacher of the Year follows a long list of awards at the Section level including: Southern Texas PGA Section Harvey Penick Teacher of the Year five times (1998, 1999, 2008, 2011 and 2017); the Horton Smith Award in 2006; and the Bill Strausbaugh Award in 2012.
“The 2019 Class of PGA of America National Awards winners has distinguished themselves as leaders and innovators, and it’s a privilege to recognize each one of them for their extraordinary commitment to the Association, as well as their passion for advancing the game and business of golf,” said PGA President Suzy Whaley. “With a commitment to excellence and the utmost of professionalism, these honorees inspire our 29,000 PGA Professionals to continually pursue the highest standards of success and achievement.”
Eric Eshleman and Kevin Kirk lead a group of 11 PGA Professionals and one PGA Section in winning the PGA of America’s 2019 National Awards. The majority of the awards will be presented on Thursday, Nov. 7, as part of the 2019 PGA Annual Meeting in West Palm Beach, Florida. The three PGA Merchandiser of the Year Awards will be presented next January, in coordination with events surrounding the 2020 PGA Merchandise Show.
2019 PGA of America National Awards Recipients
PGA Golf Professional of the Year: Eric Eshleman, PGA, Country Club of Birmingham (Ala.)
PGA Teacher of the Year: Kevin Kirk, PGA, The Woodlands (Texas) Golf Performance Center
Bill Strausbaugh Award: David Reasoner, PGA, Ridgewood Country Club – Paramus, N.J.
Horton Smith Award: Todd Sones, PGA, Todd Sones Impact Golf – Vernon Hills, Ill.
Deacon Palmer Award: Randy Jones, PGA, Club Car – Richmond, Texas
Patriot Award: Judy Alvarez, PGA/LPGA, Monarch Country Club – Palm City, Fla.
PGA Player Development Award: Liz Cooper, PGA/LPGA, Springfield (Va.) Golf & Country Club
PGA Youth Player Development Award: Scott Wilson, PGA, Bay Meadows Family Golf Course. –
Traverse City, Mich.
Herb Graffis Award: South Florida PGA Section
PGA Merchandiser of the Year–Resort Category: Sara Muldoon, PGA, Hershey (Pa.) Country Club
PGA Merchandiser of the Year-Public Category: Duncan Simms, PGA, Oak Creek G.C. –
PGA Merchandiser of the Year-Private Category: Scott Kirkwood, PGA, Ocean Reef Club –
Key Largo, Fla.
For bios and information on the individual award winners, click here.
About the PGA of America
The PGA of America is one of the world’s largest sports organizations, composed of PGA Professionals who daily work to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. For more information about the PGA of America, visit PGA.org, follow @PGA on Twitter and find us on Facebook.
EASTON, Pa. – In what is becoming an unfortunate trend for the GALV Lehigh Valley Open, inclement weather once again played a prominent role in the overall narrative of the tournament. Play was suspended multiple times during the first round before ultimately being suspended for the day at 7:00 p.m. With additional overnight rains, players were not able to get back on the course until 12:00 p.m. the following day. Because of this long delay, the decision was made to shorten the 36-hole event to an 18-hole tournament.
Playing in the tournament’s first group on Monday, Eric Kennedy (Overbrook Golf Club) posted a score that in the end would prove to be the number to beat. Kennedy made his way around the par 72 golf course posting five birdies, including one the closing hole, against only one bogey, to finish with a score of 4-under (68). Initially, Kennedy thought he would have to wait until the end of the day to see where he stood in the tournament, but because of the inclement weather, Kennedy didn’t know if his number was good enough until more than 24 hours after he finished his round.
Late in the day on Monday, Kennedy was joined at the top of the leaderboard by Trevor Bensel (Overbrook Golf Club). As a note, Bensel was one the last groups to finish before play was ultimate suspended for the day because of the weather. Bensel joined Kennedy at 4-under after carding one eagle, four birdies against two bogeys to share the clubhouse lead.
Although several players would make a run at Kennedy, Bensel, and the top spot, no other player was able to join them at 4-under. There was a large contingent of players who finished one shot shy at 3-under (69) including defending champion Mark Sheftic (Merion Golf Club), Brett Melton (Radley Run Country Club), Michael Little (Lookaway Golf Club), Alex Knoll (Blue Shamrock Golf Course), and amateur Steve Kluemper.
With no other players joining them at 4-under, Kennedy and Bensel headed to the 18th tee to begin the sudden death playoff. On the first playoff hole, both players found the green in regulation, however, neither was able to sink their birdie putts and both settled for a par meaning they needed to head back to the tee box to start the process over again.
On the second playoff hole, both players came up just short of the green, leaving each with nearly identical chip shots. Kennedy and Bensel executed their chip shots without much difficulty and once again both players parred the hole. With no player giving way, the duo would head back to the tee box for the third time.
On the third playing of the hole, things heated up beginning with Bensel’s approach shot. After finding the same spot in the fairway for the third time, Bensel knew what yardage he needed. His approach shot hit into the bank of the two-tiered green and as it spun back to the hole it rolled over the edge of the cup for a near eagle but in the end, it settled eight feet below the hole. Kennedy’s approach, although not as dramatic, finished inside Bensel’s ball leaving each player with a good look at birdie. Putting first, Bensel was finally able to convert a birdie and the pressure moved to Kennedy to convert his birdie putt. Despite a solid effort, Kennedy’s putt fell short meaning Bensel was crowned champion of the GALV Lehigh Valley Open, his first points win since the 2017 Match Play Championship.
“I have been playing well this season, I just haven’t been able to score,” commented Bensel of his play. “The delay wasn’t ideal, but I just tried to keep things in perspective and wait it all out. Eric and I both played good golf and it was fun to play in a ‘match play like setting’. I want to thank our host GALV and Karl Gilbert, as well as everyone at Northampton for proving such a terrific venue.”
Four players shared the top spot in the tournament’s senior division after each posted a score of 1-under (71). This group included Dave McNabb (Applebrook Golf Club), Dave Quinn (Laurel Creek Country Club), John Appleget (The Shore Club), and Mark Anderson (Philadelphia Cricket Club).
Leading the way in the amateur contest was Steve Kluemper was posted a tournament score of 3-under (69). Kluemper got off to a fast start with birdies on his first three holes. After a bogey on the difficult par-3 4th hole, Kluemper added two additional birdies to make the turn at 4-under. As he made his way back to the clubhouse Kluemper added two quick birdies to reach 6-under before three bogeys derailed his attempt to win the GALV Lehigh Valley Open.
The Section would like to thank our title sponsor, the Golf Association of Lehigh Valley and Mr. Karl Gilbert as well as the entire staff and membership of Northampton Country Club for their hospitality.
The Philadelphia PGA tournament calendar continues this Friday, August 2 at Doylestown Country Club for the annual Doylestown Open. For complete coverage of the Philadelphia PGA be sure to follow us online Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
Springfield, Pa, – The first of two Philadelphia PGA Team Stableford events was played at Rolling Green Golf Club in Springfield, Pa. The day brought sunny conditions with temperatures in the upper 90’s, but that did not stop the 36 teams from playing the scenic course. The championships pairs one PGA Professional with three amateur partners playing a stableford points system competing in both a Net and Gross division.
In the Net division, the team of Brian Fruehan, PGA (Elmhurst Country Club) and partners Mike Bonavoglia, Chris Hoban, and JT Coyne set the pace in the morning wave. The team combined for a total of 89 stableford points, with 45 of them coming on Rolling Green’s front nine. Fruehan and Bonavoglia each carded an eagle on the day, leading the way for their team. In second place, was the team of Chris Gardner, PGA (Bluestone Country Club) and partners Roger Ayala, Ben Pergament, and Brett Ruina. They tallied 88 stableford points with each player contributing throughout their round, but in the end fell just one-point shy of the first-place spot. In third place, was Andy Waters, PGA (Talamore Country Club) and partners Joe Swiacki, Mark Boyce, and Joe Nonnamaker. The team posted 87 stableford points to round out the division with all players making at least two birdies.
In the Gross division, it was the tournament’s first group out that took home the top spot. The team Jim Smith, PGA (Philadelphia Cricket Club) and his partners Kevin Kelly, Bob Wurtz, and Scott Storck earned 83 gross stableford points to secure first place in their respective division. Finishing two shots back in second place was Tom Michaels, PGA (Berkshire Country Club) and his partners Peter Pendergast, Steve Perron, and Joe Butto. Round out the podium was John DiMarco, PGA (Laurel Creek Country Club) and his partners Sean Fox, Jason Chen, and Chris Greer.
Special congratulations to John DiMarco who had a hole-in-one on the 157-yard par-3 3rd hole after his 7-iron found the bottom of the cup. This was DiMarco’s impressive fifth hole in one in his lifetime with three of them coming in competition.
The Philadelphia PGA would like to thank the membership and staff of Rolling Green Golf Club for their hospitality of the Team Stableford. We would also like to thank sponsors PXG and Skechers for their support.
The Philadelphia PGA tournament calendar will resume starting on Monday, July 22 for the 2-day GALV Lehigh Valley Open at Northampton Country Club.
For more information, visit www.philadelphia.pga.com or follow us on social media by searching PhiladelphiaPGA on: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.