Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Rusty Harbold Sets Pace at 97th Philadelphia PGA Professional Championship
Concordville, Pa. – After heavy rains delayed the start of the 97th Philadelphia PGA Professional Championship more than 24 hours, the opening round got underway on Wednesday, September 19 at both Concord Country Club and Whitford Country Club. The field for the first round was split between the two facilities.
The Philadelphia PGA Professional Championship is a must play event for all Sectional Professionals. At stake this week is the Section’s top prize the William B. Packer trophy, awarded to the Championship’s top finisher. Additionally, Professionals are competing for one of 12 spots into next year’s 52nd PGA Professional Championship at Belfair in South Carolina.
Playing early in the day at the Championship’s secondary course, Whitford Country Club, Rusty Harbold (Philadelphia Cricket Club) carded, what was ultimately, the best score of the opening round. Harbold had an up and down opening nine holes reflected in only a single par on his outward nine. On the other eight holes, Harbold traded four birdies and four bogeys and ultimately made the turn at even par. As he played his way back to the clubhouse, Harbold managed to get things dialed in as he posted five birdies against only one bogey to finish with a 4-under (68).
“It was just one of those days”, said Harbold of his round. “If you look at the score card my round was a little up and down on the front nine but I was able to make some putts so I never really got down on myself. On the back nine, I hit some really good wedges and gave myself a lot of chances which I was able to capitalize.”
As play continued at Whitford Country Club the closest anyone got to Harbold’s score was a trio of 1-under (71s). The first to get to that number was Brendon Post (Univ. of Delaware) who reached the number after carding six birdies and five bogeys. Next to join the group at 1-under was Rob Shuey (Colonial Golf Club). Unfortunately for Shuey it was a late bogey that dropped him back to 1-under. The final player to shoot 1-under at Whitford was Mark Sheftic (Merion Golf Club). Sheftic, like Shuey, was thwarted by a late bogey.
Leading the way at Concord Country Club was Bob Hennefer (Indian Springs Golf Course). As he made his way around the outward nine, Hennefer traded one birdie and one bogey and found himself at even par through his first nine holes. However as he started his inward nine, Hennefer carded two quick birdies on holes 10 & 11. After Hennefer dropped a shot on the par-3 15th hole he came to the 18th hole at 1-under. After two great shots, Hennefer had a chance to post the second eagle of the day at eighteen. When his putt found the bottom of the cup Hennefer finished with a 3-under (68) and jumped into second place after round one.
Finishing one shot behind Hennefer and two shots behind first round leader Harbold were a pair of players who carded scores of 2-under (69). Reaching the 2-under number first was Hugo Mazzalupi (Patriots Glen National Golf Club) who birdied his first hole and his final two holes to reach the number. The next player to finish at 2-under was Brett Melton (Radley Run Country Club). Melton posted two birdies and one bogey on each of his nines to end the day at 2-under.
“I am not going to put a number on tomorrow’s round”, said Harbold. “I will keep with my routine and just see what happens.”
Players will now switch courses for the Championship’s second round. At the end of round two, the field will be cut to the low 60 players and ties who will return to Concord Country Club on Friday for the third and final round.
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