News

Paul Levy Elected 40th President of the PGA of America

Via PGA of America

NEW YORK –  Paul Levy, of Indian Wells, California, was elected the 40th President of the PGA of America today at the Association’s 100th Annual Meeting. Levy is President of Club Operations and Development for Sunrise Company, and also is the CEO and General Manager at Toscana Country Club. Prior to being elected PGA President, Levy served as PGA Vice President and PGA Secretary.

Now a member of the Southern California PGA Section, he is the fourth person from the Section to ascend to PGA President, following Joe Novak (1949-1951), Pat Reilly (1989-1990) and Tom Addis III (1995-1996). Levy previously was president of the Southern Texas PGA Section from 1998-2000, and earned the 2000 Southern Texas PGA Golf Professional of the Year Award. He is a three-time Southern Texas Section PGA Junior Golf Leader recipient; the 1999 Section Bill Strausbaugh Award winner; and the 1997 Section Merchandiser of the Year for Public Facilities.

Succeeding Levy as Vice President is Suzy Whaley of Cromwell, Connecticut, who served the past two years as Secretary. Whaley is the first woman ever to be elected as an Officer of the Association.

Jim Richerson, of Kohler, Wisconsin, was elected to succeed Whaley as PGA Secretary. A former member of the PGA Board of Directors, Richerson is General Manager & Group Director of Golf at Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run. Also, Derek Sprague, of Jersey City, New Jersey, who served as the 39th PGA President, assumes the role of PGA Honorary President. He succeeds Allen Wronowski, who completed his second two-year term.

In addition, six new members of the PGA Board of Directors and one Independent Director were sworn in: Noel Gebauer, of Schenectady, New York; Tom Henderson, of Greenwich, Connecticut; John Lindert, of Lansing, Michigan; Kelly Williams, of Lexington, Kentucky; Patrick Richardson, of Savannah, Georgia; Don Rea, Jr. of Mesa, Arizona; and Independent Director Christopher Liedel, President of Smithsonian Enterprises in Washington, D.C.

PGA President Paul Levy earned PGA membership in 1986, and has served in a leadership capacity at both the Section and National levels for nearly 25 years. From 2007-2012, Levy was elected as an Independent Director on the Southern California PGA Board of Directors. From 1999-2004, he served as General Manager and PGA Director of Golf at Royal Oaks Country Club in Houston, and was Senior Vice President of Club Operations for Sunrise Company, the developer of Royal Oaks Country Club. In 2004, Levy moved to Southern California to oversee the development of Toscana. Four years later, he became president of Club Operations and Development for Sunrise. In 1992, he founded PKL Golf Group Company, a golf management and development company, and served as its president and CEO. Levy still operates that entity today. Levy is a 1983 graduate of LSU, where he was a member of the golf team.

For a complete bio of Paul Levy, please click here.

PGA Vice President Suzy Whaley is the PGA Director of Instruction at Suzy Whaley Golf in Cromwell. Having served as PGA Secretary from 2014-2016, Whaley was also a member of the PGA Board of Directors from 2011-13. She has also served on the Connecticut PGA Section Board of Directors and as Section Vice President at Large. A dual PGA and LPGA Teaching & Club Professional Member, Whaley was also an LPGA Tour member in 1990 and 1993. She famously competed in the 2003 Greater Hartford Open, the first woman since Babe Zaharias in 1945 to qualify for a PGA Tour event.

For a complete bio on Suzy Whaley, please click here.

PGA Secretary Jim Richerson is responsible for managing all aspects of the day-to-day golf businesses for Kohler Co. While on the PGA Board of Directors, Richerson served on the PGA Budget Committee, Investment Committee and as Chair of the Golf Properties Committee. The 2013 and 2016 Wisconsin PGA Section Golf Professional of the Year, Richerson also previously won the Section’s Horton Smith and Bill Strausbaugh Awards. His career has taken him to a variety of facilities—daily-fee, semiprivate, private, and full-service resorts—and given him an opportunity to work alongside PGA Professionals in nine PGA Sections.

The PGA Board of Directors is composed of the Association’s President, Vice President, Secretary, Honorary President and 17 Directors. The Directors include representatives from each of the PGA’s 14 districts, two Independent Directors and a member of the PGA Tour. New District Directors are elected by their representative PGA Sections.

Annual Fall Meeting Closes the Door on the 2016 Philadelphia PGA Season

Malvern, Pa. – The 2016 Philadelphia PGA Fall Meeting was held on Monday, October 31 at White Manor Country. Attended by more than 200 Philadelphia PGA Professional the meeting was highlighted by the presentation of the year-end award winners as well as the announcement of the newest members of the Philadelphia PGA Hall of Fame. Additionally, the Philadelphia PGA presented the inaugural Ben Witter Courage Award posthumously to Ben Witter whose family was on hand to accept the award. The final highlight of the meeting was the keynote speaker and President of the PGA of America, Derek Sprague.

With presentations from each of the Section’s Executive Committee the members in attendance were brought up to date on all aspects of Philadelphia PGA operations. However, the meeting also served as the perfect opportunity to recognize the individuals who performed at the highest level throughout the tournament season.

Finishing atop the Omega Player of the Year points list was first time winner Michael Little (Lookaway Golf Club). Little notched two wins in 2016 (Delaware Valley Open, Shawnee) as well as numerous top-five finishes. Based on his performances in the Philadelphia PGA Championships, Little also qualified for both the National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship and the PGA Professional Championship. Finishing in second place on the Omega Player of the Year leaderboard was 2016 Haverford Philadelphia PGA champion Dave McNabb (Applebrook Golf Club). Rounding out the top three was George Forster (Radnor Valley Country Club).

In the Omega Robert “Skee” Riegel Senior Player of the Year race, Stu Ingraham (M Golf Range) ran away with the title en route to his seventh consecutive crown. Ingraham had senior victories at the 31st Burlington Classic, the Jack Jolly / Golf Pride Championship, the William Hyndman Memorial Classic, and the Philadelphia Senior PGA Championship. Ingraham’s 2,686.50 points were 1,000 points ahead of second place finisher. However, rounding out the top three was a pair of individuals who also claimed prizes in other divisions. George Forster and Dave McNabb finished second and third respectively. McNabb would also take home the DeBaufre Scoring Average title with season-long average of 70.90.

The Section’s Howard “Ike” Turner Most Improved Player was awarded to Jordan Gibbs (Gulph Mills Golf Club). In 2016, Gibbs lowered his scoring average by one full shot as well as improved his position on the Omega Player of the Year leaderboard by more than 40 spots. Gibbs was won the 95th Philadelphia PGA Professional Championship, his first Philadelphia PGA title.

The meeting was highlighted by keynote speaker and President of the PGA of America Derek Sprague. A few weeks short of the PGA of America annual meeting and the centennial celebration of the PGA of America, Sprague touched on several topics that affected all PGA Professionals. Sprague highlighted the impact the Ryder Cup had to the Association as well as what the potential for global expansion for the PGA brand would have. Sprague also noted that the success of the PGA of America would always be the PGA Professionals and the direct impact they have with golfers. As a note, Sprague also conducted a small “fire-side” chat the evening prior to the formal Fall Meeting.

The Philadelphia PGA Hall of Fame also gained two new members as Ted Sheftic and Bob Thatcher became the 39th and 40th Hall of Fame inductees respectively. With both having careers spanning decades in the Philadelphia Section each have left their mark on future PGA Professionals. After his receiving his award, Sheftic was on hand to thank his mentors and acknowledge the PGA Professionals who helped him along the way. Accepting the award for Thatcher were his daughters Tina and Tracy who were able to read the prepared speech sent by their father. For a complete biography of Ted Sheftic or Bob Thatcher visit the Hall of Fame page on philadelphia.pga.com.

The final award presented was also the Section’s newest award. The Ben Witter Courage Award named in honor of the PGA Professional of the same name will be given to an individual who in spite of difficult circumstances always managed to give back the game and the people around him. Witter, a PGA Professional himself, entertained endless crowds with his trick shots and overall golf abilities despite multiple battles with his health. The award will serve as a reminder of his perseverance through any and all obstacles. Witter’s family was on hand to receive the award and spoke to the PGA Professionals in attendance on what the award meant to the family.

The Fall Meeting puts a bookend to the 2016 Philadelphia PGA season. As the Section heads to the off-season it will focus on providing education opportunities to the membership through multi-day seminars as well as district roundtables. For a complete list of education opportunities and to stay up-to-date on Section’s event be sure to visit philadelphia.pga.com.

25th Dick Smith Cup Matches

The 25th installment of the Dick Smith Cup Matches are underway at historic Atlantic City Country Club. The matches, named in honor of the Past PGA of America and Philadelphia PGA President of the same name, brings together 24 Philadelphia Assistant PGA Professionals in a Ryder Cup style format.

Players will compete as a team in Four Ball and Foursome as well as Singles matches over the course of two days trying to earn their share of the 24 available points. As defending champions the Gold Team only needs to earn 12 points to retain the cupp while the Blue Team will need to earn at least 12.5 points to win the title.

Dick Smith Cup Leaderboard

McAlarney Outlasts Field to Capture Second Match Play Championship

Ardmore, Pa. – The third and final day of the 2016 Match Play Championship was played at Merion Golf Club – West Course on Wednesday, October 19. After two exciting days of golf the field was whittled down from 64 players to just four all looking to capture the season’s final point’s event.

The first semifinal match featured Dave Quinn (Links Golf Club) versus Brendon Post (University of Delaware). Neither player was able to gain an advantage on the other and the match went the full 18 holes before Post was able to put away defending champion Quinn 1-up. The second semifinal match featured 2014 Match Play Champion Corey McAlarney (Sunnybrook Golf Club) and current Philadelphia PGA Professional Champion Jordan Gibbs (Gulph Mills Golf Club). Like the first match, neither player was able to gain a lead and the match went extra holes before McAlarney was able to put away Gibbs on the 19th hole.

Post’s road featured wins over Gregg Gipp (3&2), Andrew Turner (3&2), Eric Figueroa (5&3), Jakob Gerney (19th hole) before his win over Quinn in the semifinals. McAlarney had wins over Dave Roberts (6&5), Mike Meisenzhal (1-up), Stu Ingraham (1-up), Trevor Bensel (5&4) before his win over Gibbs gave him a spot in the finals.

After trading pars on the opening hole, McAlarney was able to strike first in the final match with a birdie on the second hole giving him a quick 1-up lead. McAlarney and Post would then trade pars over the next four holes before breaking the trend with a pair of birdies on the par-4 7th hole. McAlarney would take his 1-up advantage into the driveable par-4 8th hole and would capitalize on his excellent drive. After his tee shot found the green, McAlarney was able to two-putt for birdie to increase his lead to 2-up through nine holes. The duo would halve the par-4 9th hole meaning McAlarney would take a 2-up lead into the back nine.

However as they made the turn, Post was able to turn the ship around and won both the 10th and 11th holes to get the match back to all square as they headed to the 12th tee. Unfortunately for Post that was where the streak ended. McAlarney would go on to birdie both the 12th and 13th holes to bring his lead back to 2-up. The pair traded pars on the par-4 14th hole before Post gave it one last charge. Post would win the par-3 15th hole to put him only 1-down with three holes to play. However, after Post’s tee shot found trouble on the 16th hole McAlarney would go on to win the hole putting the match dormie as they headed to the par-3 17th hole. Unable to find the green, Post would go on to concede the hole to McAlarney giving him a 3&1 victory and his second Philadelphia PGA Match Play Championship.

The Section would like to thank the membership and staff at Merion Golf Club, especially host professional Scott Nye, for their hospitality during the week. The Section also thanks event sponsors Omega, the PGA Tour and Greg Norman for their continued support of our tournament program.

Full Tournament Leaderboard

Omega Player of the Year Race Heats Up as Match Play Heads to Day Two

Ardmore, Pa. – The 2016 Match Play Championship kicked off Monday morning on an unusually warm October day. It didn’t take long for the temperature to rise, and the 64-player field heated up as well.

The morning highlights included an ace on the 140-yard seventeenth hole by Dave Roberts (Cedarbrook Country Club), using a 9-iron to find the bottom of the cup. Jakob Gerney (Trump National – Philadelphia) added a highlight of his own on the par-4 eighteenth hole. His wedge landed 10 feet beyond the flagstick and spun back into the hole. Merion’s own, Robby Bruns, found the bottom of the cup on his second shot from about 170 on the par-4 fifth. Only three matches resulted in upsets in the morning wave, before the field was cut in half to 32.

After grabbing a quick lunch, the remaining players returned to the golf course to battle again. With many great match-ups on the course, it was anybody’s guess as to who would move on to day two. Eight matches in, and five lower seeds had advanced. As solid play continued, two players gave themselves a chance at the Section’s top prize – Omega Player of the Year. Jordan Gibbs (Gulph Mills Golf Club) and Stu Ingraham (M Golf Range) can still overtake Michael Little (Lookaway Golf Club), depending on their performances the remainder of the tournament.

Tomorrow’s third round will give 16 players a chance to earn a spot in the round of eight. With a picture perfect forecast, professionals will have the opportunity to move one step closer to having their names etched into Section history.

Match Play Bracket

DiMarco & Kogelman Claim Top Spot at McQuiston Sr. Pro – Jr. Pro Championship

Philadelphia, Pa. – The annual McQuiston Sr. Pro – Jr. Pro Championship was held at Bala Golf Club on Thursday, October 13. The event, named in honor of longtime PGA Professional and past Philadelphia PGA President Henry McQuiston, pairs one Sr. PGA Professional (age 50 and older) with one PGA Professional in a four-ball, better ball of partners, tournament.

Periods of light rain could not spoil the fun for the 33 teams gathered at Bala GC, the only private facility within city limits, to compete in this annual event. At noon, teams proceeded to their starting holes to kick off the shotgun event.

As play got underway one team was able to separate themselves from the field. John DiMarco (Laurel Creek CC) and Joe Kogelman (GolfTEC Moorestown) began their first hole, (no. 11), with a bogey, but carded 8 birdies throughout their round to jump to the top of the leaderboard. As groups finished the duo was able to stay at the top of the leaderboard with a team score of 7-under (61) enabling them to capture the 2016 McQuiston Sr Pro – Jr. Pro Championship.

After an impressive showing in last year’s event (-6), Stu Ingraham (M Golf Range) and Andy Watters (Alamode GC) teamed up again this year to give it another shot. They matched last year’s score of 62 (-6) and earned themselves a runner-up finish again.

Rounding out the podium, four teams tied for third at four under par 64. The teams of John Appleget (Wildwood Golf & CC) and Mike Meisenzahl (Shore Gate CC), and JR Delich (Applebrook GC) and Robby Bruns (Merion GC) both carded five birdies and a bogey to shoot their rounds of 64, while the teams of Brian Kelly (Bucknell GC) and Judd Caruso (Belles Spring GC) and Mike Thompson (The Golf Zone @ Honeybrook) and Andy Fisher (AF Golf Ctr.) made the same number carding bogey free rounds.

The Section would like to thank the membership of Bala Golf Club for their support of this great event. Additionally, the Section thanks Vineyard Vines and Mr. Cory Creland for providing gifts to all participants. The Section will return to action on Monday, October 17 at the Match Play Championship at Merion Golf Club on the West Course.

Full Tournament Leaderboard

Kleckner and Byrne Return to Winner’s Circle at Club Car, LLC / Golf Cars Inc Pro-Official

Pine Hill, N.J. – The 2016 edition of the Club Car, LLC and Golf Cars Inc. Pro-Official was played on a blustery afternoon at Trump National Golf Club – Philadelphia. However, despite the windy conditions the warm fall sunshine made all who participated appreciative of the picturesque scenery provided by our host club. The Pro-Official features one PGA Professional partnered with an officer from the club, in a Net Four-Ball competition (better ball of partners).

With all teams on the course as part of the shotgun event the scores came in fast and furious at the end of the day. Leading the way just as they did in the 2009 event was the team of Robert Kleckner (Linfield National Golf Club) and his partner Steve Byrne. The team posted seven Net birdies and a Net hole-in-one on the difficult par-3 16th. The duo finished with three consecutive birdies to finish their day on holes 10-13. Their 7-under (64) put them just ahead of a pair of teams who finished the day at 6-under (65).

Finishing out of the top spot but still on the podium were the teams of Jamison Wallace (Chambersburg Country Club) and his partner Mike Jackson as well as Mickey Sokalski (Philmont Country Club) and his partner Scott Landsberg. Wallace and Jackson carded seven birdies but a bogey on 18th hole, their fourth of the day, proved to be the costly stroke. The team of Sokalski and Landsberg had three birdies and two eagles but again a bogey on the 18th hole, their ninth of the day, proved to be too much to overcome.

The Section would like to thank our generous tournament sponsors Club Car LLC. and Golf Cars Inc. Through their support, the Pro-Official Championship has become one of the premier events on the Philadelphia PGA tournament calendar.

The Philadelphia PGA will continue their busy tournament week with the annual Turnpike Cup against the New Jersey PGA on Wednesday, October 12 at Commonwealth National Golf Club. The week will wrap up with the McQuiston Sr. Pro-Jr. Pro at Bala Golf Club on Thursday, October 13.

Full Tournament Leaderboard

Swartz & Kogelman Repeat at Fall Pro-Pro Championship

Clarks Summit, Pa. – The Philadelphia PGA returned to the Country Club of Scranton on Monday, October 3 for the Fall Pro-Pro Championship. It marked the second consecutive year that the Championship was held at the beautiful Pocono Mountain’s course. The Pro-Pro Championship pairs two PGA Professionals together in a Four Ball or better ball of partners event.

The first group of the day posted a score for all to chase. The duo of Brian Short and Steve Wager, both of Penn State University GC, carded an impressive 7-under (65). The pair had seven birdies on their day with each player contributing multiple birdies to the overall score.

As group after group finished it seemed as though no one would be able to reach them at the top of the leaderboard. The first group to make a charge was the team of Kevin Kraft and Geoffrey Morrison, both of Bumble Bee Hollow Golf Center, who reached 6-under (66). Also finishing at 6-under (66) were the teams of Jeff Breiner, Country Club of Harrisburg, and Chris Duckett, Saucon Valley Country Club as well as the team of Ashley Grier, Overbrook Golf Club and Anthony Napoletano, GolfTEC – King of Prussia.

However playing the late in the day the pair of Joe Kogelman, GolfTEC – Moorestown and Steve Swartz, Country Club of Harrisburg proved once again to be too much for the field. Kogelman and Swartz came into the event as defending champions and left the same way. As a team Kogelman and Swartz posted eight birdies of which Swartz carded seven en route to a 8-under (64), good enough for a one shot win. As it was at the 2015 event a birdie on the par5 18th hole proved to be the deciding number in their winning score.

The Section thanks the members and staff of the Country Club of Scranton who provided an outstanding backdrop for this year’s Fall Pro-Pro Championship. The Section also thanks our event sponsors Club Prophet Systems and Ian Versaw as well as Sun Mountain and Andy Hyjek.

Full Tournament Leaderboard

Philadelphia PGA Captures 26th Challenge Matches

The 26th edition of the Philadelphia Challenge Matches were played on Thursday, October 6 at Saucon Valley Country Club. It was the first time in the 26 year history of the Matches that the event was played at Saucon Valley. For the past five season the Matches were played at Applebrook Golf Club in Malvern, Pa.

The matches pit 12 of the top Philadelphia PGA Professionals against 12 of the top amateurs from the Golf Association of Philadelphia. The teams will play 12 singles matches and 6 four-ball matches (better ball of partners) simultaneously with a total of 18 points up for grabs. As the owners of the Cup, the Philadelphia PGA will only need 9 of the 18 points to retain the title while the Golf Association of Philadelphia will need to earn 9 ½ points to regain the title.

The teams split the 12 available points in the singles matches with each side winning five matches and halving two for a total of six points. However, the Philadelphia PGA was able to grab 5.5 of the six available points the the Four Ball Matches to win the cup for a third consecutive year. The final score was Philadelphia PGA 11.5 / GAP 6.5.

Complete Challenge Match Results