Category Archives: Tournaments

Midnight Golf Program Selected for PGA of America Places To Play Donation

PGA of America REACH Foundation to donate $250,000 to renovate new home of Midnight Golf in Detroit

FRISCO, Texas and DETROIT – The PGA of America announced today that the PGA of America REACH Foundation, the charitable foundation of the Association, will donate $250,000 to Detroit’s Midnight Golf Program through the Community-Based Grant initiative of PGA Places To Play.

The charitable donation will aid in the renovation of a 30,000-square-foot building, developing a golf instruction area within the soon-to-be home of the Midnight Golf Program in midtown Detroit. This new facility will provide a permanent location for the program, which has previously been located in various venues throughout Detroit. Construction of the building is estimated to be completed October 1, 2024.

Midnight Golf, founded by Reneé Fluker in 2001, is a 30-week program that helps 250 high school seniors a year make the transition from high school to, and through, college. The program focuses on life-skills training, proactive coaching, long-term mentoring and the discipline of golf in order to succeed in college, their careers and beyond.

Since 2001, nearly 4,000 Midnight Golf Program participants have been admitted to more than 140 colleges and universities across the United States. Participants boast a 70% college graduation rate, four times that of Detroit students without support.

“The impact Reneé and her team have had on the lives of young adults in Detroit is hugely inspiring. We are heartened by the fact that she has chosen golf as the vehicle to teach lifelong lessons and light the pathway towards bright futures,” said PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh. “We are incredibly proud to play a small part in the future success of Midnight Golf as the program encompasses all of the best aspects that we love about this game.

“I am incredibly grateful to the PGA of America REACH Foundation for their generous support of the Midnight Golf Program,” said Reneé Fluker, Midnight Golf Program Founder and President. “This contribution marks a significant milestone in our journey to provide transformative opportunities for young people throughout Metro Detroit and Southeast Michigan. With this investment, we are poised to create a lasting impact in our community, empowering our participants to reach their fullest potential.”

The Michigan PGA Section, one of the Association’s 41 Sections, has been involved with Midnight Golf since its inception. In addition to providing financial support, a group of PGA of America Golf Professionals from the Section teach the golf instruction portion of the program every week.

“The Michigan PGA is very proud of our long-standing involvement with the Midnight Golf Program,” said Michigan Section PGA Executive Director Kevin Helm. “Everyone involved in the program from Reneé Fluker, to the mentors, board of directors, PGA of America Coaches, and staff has an incredible passion for helping young men and women in the city of Detroit. It has been rewarding to see the program grow to where it is today without sacrificing at all the quality of the program and the incredible results. The program is truly a life-changing experience for each participant. Thank you to the PGA of America REACH Foundation for this incredible gift that will help create a permanent home where the program will continue its great work for many years to come.”

In its mission to impact lives through the game of golf, the PGA of America REACH Foundation is committed to ensuring golf becomes more accessible. PGA Places To Play creates new opportunities to support facilities and sustain affordable access to the game for people of all backgrounds and abilities.

PGA Places To Play is supported by a $14 million endowment fund of charitable contributions to the Foundation’s DRIVE IT FURTHER Capital Campaign, annually providing three grants of $250,000 per facility.

Three facility categories are available for consideration:

  • PGA of America Spectator Championship legacy Project Model: A facility within the market of a PGA of America spectator championship such as the PGA Championship, KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and a domestic Ryder Cup.
  • Community-Based Innovation Model: Innovative facilities and concepts that open doors to underserved communities in the game through elements aligned with PGA of America REACH Foundation’s charitable mission.
  • 9 or 18+ Hole Failing Public Facility: Facilities that are operated by a local charitable organization or a municipality in danger of being replaced by a “better alternative use.”

Midnight Golf is the sixth recipient awarded through the Places To Play program. Previous facilities are Genesee Valley Golf Course in Monroe County, New York; Inspiration Golf Range in Springfield Township, New Jersey; Clearview Legacy Foundation in East Canton, Ohio; Page Belcher & Mohawk Golf Courses in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and City Swing Golf Truck in Washington D.C.

Places To Play is one of four pillars within the PGA of America REACH Foundation, joining PGA Jr. League, PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) and PGA WORKS.

The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort to host 2031 PGA Championship

2029 Junior PGA Championships to be held at The Ocean Course and Turtle Point

FRISCO, Texas & KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – The PGA of America announced today that The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in Kiawah Island, South Carolina, will host the 2031 PGA Championship. Additionally, the 2029 Girls and Boys Junior PGA Championships will be contested at The Ocean Course and Turtle Point Golf Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort.

The 113th PGA Championship, scheduled for May 2031, marks the third time the strongest field in golf will compete for the Wanamaker Trophy along South Carolina’s coast.

The Ocean Course previously hosted the 2012 and 2021 PGA Championships and will join elite company as just the ninth course to host three or more PGA Championships. The PGA of America also conducted the 1991 Ryder Cup, 2005 PGA Professional Championship and the 2007 Senior PGA Championship there.

“We are ecstatic to bring the Junior PGA Championships and PGA Championship to The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in 2029 and 2031,” said PGA of America President John Lindert, PGA Director of Golf at The Country Club of Lansing. “Past PGA Championships at Kiawah Island have provided no shortage of memorable moments and historic performances, all taking place along a breathtaking coastal setting. The Ocean Course’s challenging layout and rich history make it an ideal destination for our Championships.”

At the 2021 PGA Championship, 50-year-old Phil Mickelson became the oldest men’s major champion in golf history. He registered a final-round 1-over-par 73 to finish at 6-under-par and clinch the two-shot victory.

The 2012 PGA Championship saw a 23-year-old Rory McIlroy cruise to a record-setting victory. The Northern Ireland native posted a 6-under-par 66 on Sunday to finish at 13-under-par 275. McIlroy’s eight-stroke victory surpassed the PGA Championship record for victory margin set by Jack Nicklaus in 1980.

The 1991 Ryder Cup proved to be a significant moment in the history of golf’s greatest team event. Following an intense, drama-filled two days, the three-day contest came down to the final hole of the final match between Hale Irwin and Bernhard Langer.

With the U.S. holding a 14-13 lead and the match tied, Langer needed to win the 18th to capture a full point and secure the 14-14 tie for Europe to retain the Cup. Following Irwin’s bogey, Langer’s six-foot putt for par narrowly missed, resulting in a 14 ½ to 13 ½ victory for the home team.

The Junior PGA Championships, two of golf’s major championships for juniors, continue to serve as a springboard for many of the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour’s biggest stars. Tiger Woods, Scottie Scheffler, Jordan Speith and Justin Thomas competed in past editions while past Girls Junior PGA winners include Inbee Park, Yuka Saso, Lexi Thompson and Rose Zhang.

“We are proud to again be selected as the host course for the 2031 PGA Championship,” said Kiawah Island Golf Resort President Roger Warren, PGA. “The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Pete Dye’s brilliant seaside design, will present a formidable challenge for the strongest, all-professional field in major championship golf. We are confident our partnership with the PGA of America and the local community will produce another world class event.”

The Ocean Course, designed by Pete and Alice Dye from 1989-91, is widely regarded as one of the best golf courses in the country. Located on the easternmost end of Kiawah Island, it boasts the most seaside holes in the Northern Hemisphere with 10 hugging the Atlantic and the other eight running parallel to those. Although the course was originally planned to sit behind the dunes, Alice Dye suggested raising the entire course to give players unobstructed views of Kiawah Island’s stunning coastline on every hole.

The Ocean Course has consistently ranked among Golf Digest’s 100 Greatest and 100 Greatest Public Courses in the United States, including 24th (100 Greatest) and third (100 Greatest Public) in 2023-24.

The Championship, making its first visit to the state of Texas, will be contested on Fields Ranch East at PGA Frisco in June of 2025

FRISCO, Texas ー The PGA of America and KPMG announced today the appointment of Ashley Miller as General Chair of the 2025 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. She is the inaugural General Chair to be appointed for a Major Championship at PGA Frisco. Over 50 Division and Committee Chairs and nearly 1,200 volunteers will support Miller on the Championship Host Committee.

The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship is a collaboration between the PGA of America, LPGA, and KPMG, and serves as a catalyst to empower women on and off the golf course.

The 2025 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship will be the second Major Championship held on Fields Ranch East at PGA Frisco, following the 2023 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, won by Steve Stricker.

“I speak for our entire Frisco-based Championships team when I say we are all very excited to work alongside Ashley to continue to elevate this significant event and make the 2025 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship the best and most impactful ever contested,” said Jason Mengel, Championship Director of the 2025 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. “Given her track record of community involvement, it goes without saying that Ashley will be a fantastic ambassador for this Championship.”

Broadcast in partnership with NBC and Golf Channel, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship offers a purse among the highest in women’s golf. The event combines an annual major golf championship with the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit and an ongoing charitable initiative called the KPMG Future Leaders Program – all focused on the development, advancement, and empowerment of women on and off the golf course.

Passionate about community engagement, Miller serves on various local boards, including Melody of Hope, Frisco Chamber Foundation, City of Frisco Parks and Recreation Board, and is the past Chairwoman of the Board of Directors for the Frisco Chamber of Commerce.

A Leadership Frisco graduate, Miller received the 2018 Frisco Number Ones Award and currently serves as the Director of Public Relations and Official Spokesperson for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Miller is a passionate sports enthusiast and currently resides in Frisco alongside her husband, Justin, and two children.

“What a distinct privilege to serve in such a coveted position for the 2025 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship,” said Miller. “I am honored to work alongside such an incredible championship team, and look forward to hosting the world’s elite female golfers right here in Frisco. I am humbled to serve alongside KPMG, PGA of America, LPGA, and all of our valued volunteers as we advocate and empower all women, particularly daughters like mine.”

Beginning with the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship in May 2023, Fields Ranch East at PGA Frisco is scheduled to host an unprecedented six Major Championships, including the 2027 and 2034 PGA Championships, between now and 2034. Fields Ranch at PGA Frisco is slated to host a total of 30 PGA of America spectator, member and amateur championships through 2034.

USGA Announces Qualifying Sites for 2024 U.S. Women’s Open Presented by Ally

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. – The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced qualifying sites for the 79th U.S. Women’s Open Championship Presented by Ally, to be held at Lancaster (Pa.) Country Club, from May 30-June 2. The club will host its second U.S. Women’s Open.

Conducted over 36 holes, qualifying will be held at 23 sites across the United States, plus Canada, Japan and Germany between April 15 and May 20. Online entry applications open on Wednesday, Feb. 14, and will continue through Wednesday, April 3, at 5 p.m. EDT (

“The USGA values the qualifying process, and we appreciate the efforts of Allied Golf Associations throughout the United States and international Federations and Tours who provide thousands of competitors the opportunity to earn a place in our national championship,” said USGA Chief Championships Officer John Bodenhamer. “Lancaster Country Club and the surrounding community was the site of one of the most successful U.S. Women’s Opens in history nine years ago and most assuredly will host another outstanding championship again in 2024.”

Bradenton (Fla.) Country Club and Dunwoody Country Club, in Atlanta, Ga., will host Women’s Open qualifying for the seventh and sixth time, respectively. Four courses will each welcome qualifying fields for a fifth time. They are: Shannopin Country Club, in Pittsburgh, Pa.; Belle Haven Country Club, in Alexandria, Va.; Sugar Mills Country Club, in New Smyrna Beach, Fla.; and Walnut Creek Golf Preserve, in Westminster, Colo.

Starmount Forest Country Club, in Greensboro, N.C., is among seven courses that will host qualifying for a third time. The club hosted the 1947 U.S. Women’s Open when Betty Jameson fired a final-round 6-under-par 70 to win by six strokes over two amateurs. Ohio State University Golf Club, in Columbus, Ohio, is also in that group of courses and is hosting for third consecutive year. OSU’s Scarlet Course will also serve as a U.S. Open final qualifying site in June.

Boso Country Club, in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, is an international site for the third consecutive year. Last year’s qualifier at the club produced three players who made the 36-hole cut. Aya Kinoshito tied for 13th in her U.S. Women’s Open debut, while Miyu Sato (tie, 53rd) and Kana Mikahima (tie, 68th) also played in all four rounds as first-time competitors.

California has the most qualifying sites with four. Three U.S. Women’s Open qualifiers are scheduled in Florida, while Texas will host two qualifiers. There are qualifying sites in 17 states.

Birdie Kim (2005) is the last player to win the U.S. Women’s Open after advancing through qualifying. In 2023, 18 golfers who played in a qualifier made the 36-hole cut in the Women’s Open at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links.

The USGA accepted a record total of 2,107 entries for the 2023 U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach. The previous highest totals were 1,874 for the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles Lodge & G.C., in Southern Pines, N.C., and 1,873 for the 2015 championship at Lancaster (Pa.) Country Club.

This will be the 93rd USGA championship and 10th U.S. Women’s Open contested in Pennsylvania. In 2024, the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball will be played at Philadelphia Cricket Club and the U.S. Senior Women’s Open will be held at Fox Chapel Golf Club, in Pittsburgh.


2024 U.S. Women’s Open Qualifying Sites (26)

Monday, April 15 (2)

  • El Macero (Calif.) C.C.
  • The Vancouver G.C., Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada

Tuesday, April 16 (1)

  • The Village Course at Waikola, Waikoloa Village, Hawaii

Monday, April 22 (1)

  • Boso C.C. (East/West Courses), Chiba Prefecture, Japan

Tuesday, April 23 (2)

  • Soboba Springs Golf Course, San Jacinto, Calif.
  • Rainier G. & C.C., Seattle, Wash.

Thursday, April 25 (1)

  • Belle Haven C.C., Alexandria, Va.

Monday, April 29 (2)

  • Soule Park Golf Course, Ojai, Calif.
  • Rockwall G. & Athletic Club, Rockwall, Texas

Tuesday, April 30 (2)

  • Walnut Creek Golf Preserve, Westminster, Colo.
  • Starmount Forest C.C., Greensboro, N.C.

Wednesday, May 1 (1)

  • Winchester (Mass.) C.C.

Thursday, May 2 (1)

  • Ohio State University G.C. (Scarlet Course), Columbus, Ohio

Monday, May 6 (5)

  • Pinnacle Peak C.C., Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • San Joaquin C.C., San Jose, Calif.
  • Sugar Mill C.C. (Red/White Courses), New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
  • Dunwoody C.C., Atlanta, Ga.
  • Woodhill C.C., Wayzata, Minn.

Tuesday, May 7 (1)

  • Shannopin C.C., Pittsburgh, Pa.

Wednesday, May 8 (1)

  • Sunset C.C., St. Louis, Mo.

Friday, May 10 (1)

  • The Club at Admirals Cove (North/West Courses), Jupiter, Fla.

Monday, May 13 (4)

  • Bradenton (Fla.) C.C.
  • Briarwood C.C., Deerfield, Ill.
  • Haworth (N.J.) C.C.
  • Golfcrest C.C., Pearland, Texas

Monday, May 20 (1)

  • G. & C.C. Seddiner See, Michendorf, Germany

Bob Sowards, Ben Kern Win Third PGA Senior-Junior Team Championship in Last Four Years

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. –  It didn’t matter that the formidable team of Bob Sowards and Ben Kern started the final round five shots out of the lead in the PGA Senior-Junior Team Championship at PGA Golf Club.

They still believed they were the ones to beat, and probably so did the rest of the field.

And they were correct. Like a racehorse that hangs off the lead before kicking it into overdrive in the stretch, Sowards and Kern combined to shoot a 12-under 60 Thursday to win by two shots over the team of PGA Tour caddie Brennan Little and Kent Graham.

“That was the definition of the tournament,” Kern said of the racing analogy. “We hung back, looked up and took off.”

It was the third Senior-Junior title for Kern and Sowards in the last four years as they finished at 30-under 257. They also won the 2022 Four-Ball Stableford Team Championship.

Fittingly, both players contributed equally Thursday with six birdies on the Dye Course to split the $10,000 first prize. They closed in style with a back-nine 29, making birdies on all but the two par-3 holes.

“We could have made eight birdies each because we picked up after the other guy made his,” said Sowards, the reigning Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year. “I feel like he’s the best junior in the field and I can hold my own with the seniors. I can pick good partners.”

Sowards and Kern agreed the biggest reason they play well together is they are best friends and they share the same aggressive personality. But friendship only means so much on the golf course until the putts start to fall.

“I told Bob before the round, ‘I’ve had fun with you the last three days, but I want to have a lot of fun today.’ And today was so much fun,” said Kern of Georgetown, Texas. “I birdied. He birdied. I birdied. He birdied. We just threw it back and forth like a winning team should.”

A key moment in the round came on the par-3 16th hole when both Sowards and Kern, leading by a shot, missed the green. After Kern hit his chip over the green, the ball rolling just a foot from Sowards’ ball, his partner responded with a delicate chip over a ridge to 4 feet and made the clutch par putt.

“Once he chipped it over the green, I knew I had to be aggressive, so I tried to spin it as much as I could,” Sowards said. “I hit it a little past (the hole), but made the putt.”

Sowards and Kern followed with birdies on the last two holes to stretch the lead to three over Little and Graham, who birdied the 17th to finish second alone after a 67. Little is a member at Gleneagles Country Club in Plano, Texas, where Graham is the PGA Director of Golf.

It was still a great week for Little, who usually spends his time on the course caddying for Gary Woodland. Little has caddied for two major champions (Mike Weir, 2003 Masters and Woodland, 2019 U.S. Open), but had this week off because Woodland wasn’t in the field in this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

“I was on the fence about coming here until Gary didn’t get in, and then we missed the cut at Torrey Pines, so I was able to make it,” said Little, who has an A-24 classification for PGA of America members who are primarily employed in the golf industry.

“I play some Section events back home, but this is probably my first four-day tournament in 25 years. The pressures are different between caddying and playing. You don’t control as much when you’re caddying. I definitely get a little nervous when I’m playing.”

The teams of Gus Ulrich-Jon Mayer (65) and Patrick Wilkes-Krier and Mike Stone (64) tied for third place at 27-under 260. Chad Proehl and Jay Giannetto (69) were fifth at 25-under 262.

The PGA Winter Championships are presented by GolfPass, On Location. Sowards and Kern will again be the ones to beat in the PGA Four-Ball Stableford Team Championship that starts Sunday.

Mark Brown, Sonny Skinner Win PGA Senior Stroke Play Championship

By Craig Dolch

Special to the PGA of America

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Mark Brown and Sonny Skinner proved this week you’re never too old to learn in golf. Their lessons paid off with victories Tuesday in the rain-shortened PGA Senior Stroke Play Championship at PGA Golf Club.

Brown, PGA Director of Instruction at nearby Stuart Yacht & Country Club, shot a 6-under 66 on the Wanamaker Course to finish at 10-under 133 and win the 50-59 Division by three strokes over Chad Proehl (66-136) of Urbandale, Iowa. Brown and Proehl each earned spots in the Senior PGA Professional Championship at Sunriver Resort in Oregon this September.

Skinner, PGA Director of Instruction at Spring Hill Country Club in Tifton, Ga., also fired a 66, on the Ryder Course, to finish at 13-under 130, three ahead of Frank Esposito of New Jersey in the 60-and-older Division. Skinner and Brown have both won multiple PGA Winter Championship titles.

Brown won without hitting a shot Tuesday. He finished his second round Monday before a tornado hit the area and dumped more than 5 inches on PGA Golf Club. That forced PGA of America officials to reduce the championship from 54 to 36 holes.

“Both days were solid,” said the 57-year-old Brown. “I drove it solid, hit a lot of greens and it seemed like a lot of 10-to-15 footers were going in. It was an easy 10-under. It was a goal to get into the Senior PPC.”

Skinner, 63, made an eagle and 14 birdies against two bogeys to easily win. He started the tournament eagle-birdie-birdie, and cruised from there, finishing his round in Tuesday’s soft conditions.

“It’s the lowest two consecutive rounds I’ve probably shot in six years,” Skinner said of the 64-66. “Of course, as golfers, we always think we can do better.”

Fortunately, most top golfers help each other improve. Brown played with Skinner in last week’s Quarter Century Championship and noticed a flaw in Skinner’s putting stroke.

“Before we even walked off the green, he stopped me and said, ‘Dude, I can help you,’” Skinner said. “He gave me a little bit of advice with the tempo of my stroke, and it started working. Hat’s off to Mark Brown. To get a tip from a friend like that was very nice. I’ll pass it on.”

Brown’s game also needed a pickup. He made it to a seven-man playoff in last week’s Quarter Century Championship – won by Proehl – but Brown was the first player eliminated after hitting his approach into a lake on the first playoff hole. Brown blamed the mistake on his mental game, not the swing.

“I thought I had no chance to make the playoff, so I had a couple of cold beverages and a pizza,” Brown said. “When I heard I was in it, I ran over here and I wasn’t prepared. I wanted a re-do.”

Brown took a different tact Tuesday. He arrived an hour before play was supposed to be finished – just in case there was a playoff. “I kind of learned my lesson,” he said.

But Brown’s game still wasn’t sharp. After playing poorly in a practice round with Andrew Svoboda at the Medalist last weekend, Svoboda, another PGA instructor, told Brown his shoulders were too open.

“I came up here and tried to square my shoulders, and hit it as good as I have in a year,” Brown said. “That’s kind of what we do for each other.”

Proehl, attempting to win his second consecutive PGA Winter Championship, matched Brown’s 66, but was too far back after opening with a 70. Gene Walter (66-137) finished third and Matt Schalk (69-139) was fourth.

In the 60-and-older Division, Darrell Kestner (67-135) finished tied for third with Kirk Hanefeld (66-135). Kestner lost a playoff to Mike San Filippo in last week’s Quarter Century Championship.

Three players tied for fifth at 136: Charles Bolling (64), Jerry Tucker (68) and Gary Robison (68).

The PGA Winter Championships are presented by GolfPass and On Location. The PGA Winter Championships will take a break for next week’s PGA Show in Orlando, returning Jan. 29 with the first round of the 72-hole Senior-Junior Team Championship.

Proehl Wins Playoff, Join San Filippo and Sheerin as Champions in PGA Quarter Century Championships

By Craig Dolch

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (Jan. 12, 2024) – It took Chad Proehl of Urbandale, Iowa, longer to warm up Friday morning than to win his first PGA Winter Championship at PGA Golf Club.

Proehl won the resumed playoff in the 50-to-64 Division of the Quarter Century Championship with a birdie on the first playoff hole, the par-4 10th on the Wanamaker Course, (and third overall). The playoff started Thursday night with seven players who finished at 5-under 139, but ended due to darkness after two holes with five players advancing.

Putting last after hitting an 8-iron to 6 feet, Proehl drained the birdie. “I won’t kid you, I was smiling pretty good when that ball went in,” said Proehl, the 56-year-old PGA Head Teaching Instructor at Sugar Creek Golf Course who also owns a winter home at PGA Golf Club.

“I came to the course expecting to play five or six holes today. I wasn’t thinking about one-and-done. I knew everybody was thinking the same way I was. It feels great to win my first PGA Winter Championship.”

The other players to make it to Friday’s playoff after finishing at 5-under 139: Jim Smoot (70) of Huntington, N.Y.; Bill Breen (70) of Nashville, Tenn.; Mike Small (73) of Champaign, Ill.; and Mark Anderson (74) of St. Simons Island, Ga.

On Thursday, Mike San Filippo of Hobe Sound, Fla., parred the first extra hole to beat Darrell Kestner of Glen Cove, N.Y., in the 65-and-older Division. Filippo rallied from three shots back with five holes left, thanks to birdies on the last two holes of the Ryder Course, including a holed bunker shot at No. 17.

Jim Sheerin of Rye, N.H., won the Half Century Championship with a 1-under 70 to edge two-time defending champion Roy Vucinich (71) of Moon Township, Pa., by a shot on the Ryder Course. Sheerin, a PGA Master Professional who retired from Abenaqui Country Club, made two birdies against a lone bogey to finish at even-par 142.

The PGA Winter Championships are presented by GolfPass and On Location. The PGA Senior Stroke Play Championship starts Sunday at PGA Golf Club.

San Filippo Wins PGA Quarter Century Championship, Sheerin Earns Half Century Title

By Craig Dolch

Special to the PGA of America

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – It took an extra hole – and an extra day – to decide the winners of the PGA Quarter Century Championships in cool, rainy conditions at PGA Golf Club.

Mike San Filippo of Hobe Sound, Fla., parred the first extra hole to beat Darrell Kestner of Glen Cove, N.Y., in the 65-and-older Division. Filippo rallied from three shots back with five holes left, thanks to birdies on the last two holes of the Ryder Course, including a holed bunker shot at No. 17.

The 50-to-64 Division won’t be decided until Friday morning after seven players tied at 5-under 139: Dan O’Boyle (67) of Kitty Hawk, N.C.; Mark Brown of Hobe Sound (68); Chad Proehl (69) of Urbandale, Iowa; Jim Smoot (70) of Huntington, N.Y.; Bill Breen (70) of Nashville, Tenn.; Mike Small (73) of Champaign, Ill.; and Mark Anderson (74) of St. Simons Island, Ga.

The playoff went two holes before being stopped because of darkness with five players advancing: Proehl, Smoot, Breen, Small and Anderson. The playoff resumes at 7:30 a.m. on the 10th hole of the Wanamaker Course.

San Filippo made short work of his playoff, but the story was how he got there. Filippo was two shots behind Kestner when he left his third shot in the bunker at the par-5 17th.

“I tried to get too cute with my bunker shot and left it in the bunker. Then I walked up and holed it,” Filippo said, shaking his head. “It was a complete fluke. The ball would have gone 10 feet by the hole. I was incredibly lucky there. I’m sure Darrell thought he had the tournament won.”

The 71-year-old San Filippo still trailed by one going to No. 18, but he made a 10-foot birdie putt. Kestner made a 6-footer for par to get in the playoff.

“I hit it nicely and made my share of putts, but Mike did what he had to do with those late birdies,” Kestner said. “I knew he would be there at the end even though I was a couple shots up. It’s always a good challenge to play against him.”

The five players who return to the Wanamaker Course to resume the playoff know it will likely take a birdie to win the first event of the PGA Winter Championships.

Smoot almost ended the playoff when his 40-foot birdie putt at the 18th curled around the hole. Others in the playoff couldn’t believe it didn’t go in.

“I thought I made it,” Smoot said. “But this is a lot of fun.”

Asked what his strategy would be for Friday, Illinois coach Small, who bogeyed the final hole of regulation, was blunt: “Play better than I did today.”

Jim Sheerin of Rye, N.H., won the Half Century Championship with a 1-under 70 to edge two-time defending champion Roy Vucinich (71) of Moon Township, Pa., by a shot on the Ryder Course. Sheerin, a PGA Master Professional who retired from Abenaqui Country Club, made two birdies against a lone bogey to finish at even-par 142.

“It’s a big surprise,” Sheerin said. “I played very consistently. I three-putted the second hole and that was my only blip. I’ve been coming here for 23 years and it’s nice to finally win one.”

The PGA Winter Championships are presented by GolfPass and On Location. The PGA Senior Stroke Play Championship starts Sunday at PGA Golf Club.

Michael Block, Stephanie Connelly-Eiswerth & Bob Sowards Win 2023 PGA Professional Player of the Year Awards Presented by Rolex

Block clinches second consecutive POY title; Connelly-Eiswerth captures first POY honor; Sowards earns third consecutive Senior POY and ninth career POY award


FRISCO, Texas (Jan. 10, 2024) ー Michael Block of Mission Viejo, California; Stephanie Connelly-Eiswerth of Jacksonville, Florida; and Bob Sowards of Dublin, Ohio, won their respective 2023 PGA Professional, Women’s PGA Professional and Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year Awards presented by Rolex in conjunction with the PGA of America.

PGA Professional Player of the Year Award

Michael Block, the PGA Head Professional at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club, experienced a storybook 2023 that began with a T-2 finish in the PGA Professional Championship at Twin Warriors and Santa Ana Golf Clubs in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico. Block registered rounds of 71-71-69-69 to finish at 8-under par 280 and earn a place on the Corebridge Financial PGA Team and a berth in his fifth PGA Championship.

Block captivated the sports world by shooting 70-70-70-71 (1-over-par) en route to a T-15 finish at the PGA Championship, contested at Oak Hill Country Club in May. His memorable performance in Rochester was highlighted by a final-round ace on the par-3, 151-yard 15th hole.

“It’s very surreal for this to happen at 46-47 years young,” said Block. “I’m not really playing any differently than I always have. It just happened at the right moments this year. It’s not like I found some secret code or something. It happened to be where the course set up well for me. I read the greens nicely. The fairways were firm and fast. Everything lined up at Oak Hill and I’m not expecting to do that ever again. At the same time if it happens again at any event at all, I’ll be very happy.”

The 47-year-old also claimed his fourth career and second consecutive Southern California PGA Section Championship in September behind a final-round 6-under-par 66 at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California. With the victory, Block won the Southern California PGA Player of the Year Award for the 10th time in 11 years.

Block totaled 1,352.50 points to win his second consecutive PGA Professional Player of the Year Award.

“I was never in my life thinking ‘let’s try to do this twice,’” said Block. “I had this as a goal in life to win it one time. I happened to play well in two important events, the national club pro and the PGA Championship. I’m lucky enough to get it two times in a row.”

Greg Koch (Orlando, Florida) finished second with 944.05 points, followed by Braden Shattuck (Springfield, Pennsylvania) in third at 800 and Tyler Collet (Vero Beach, Florida) with 755 in fourth.

Women’s PGA Professional Player of the Year Award

Stephanie Connelly-Eiswerth, PGA/LPGA Teaching Professional at San Jose Country Club in ​​Jacksonville, Florida, enjoyed a standout 2023. She collected 938.83 points to win her first national Women’s PGA Professional Player of the Year Award.

“I played really solid all year,” said Connelly-Eiswerth.“It feels good to have that accomplishment and I’m really thankful to have the opportunity to play the game that we work in and love so much.”

Connelly-Eiswerth set the tone for a successful season with a runner-up finish in the Women’s Stroke Play event at the PGA Winter Championships in February.

“You hate to lose, but I came out of it feeling really good about my game,” said Connelly-Eiswerth. “I was motivated to keep giving myself chances throughout the year. It gave me a little extra confidence that I’m doing some good things with my game, learning a lot, and it was fun. That put me on a good path for the rest of the year.”

Connelly-Eiswerth finished T-34 in the 2023 PGA Professional Championship and later made her fifth consecutive appearance in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in June.

She claimed North Florida PGA Women’s Player of the Year honors following a T-2 finish at the NFPGA Section Championship and a runner-up finish at the NFPGA Professional Championship.

Connelly-Eiswerth finished 2023 on a high note by recording an historic victory at the PGA Tournament Series Event No. 1, becoming the first woman to win a PGA Tournament Series event in its 46-year history. Connelly-Eiswerth shot a final-round 4-under par 67 (10-under 132) on the Ryder Course at PGA Golf Club en route to a one-shot victory.

Connelly-Eiswerth prides herself on being a “grinder” and taking advantage of her strengths: hitting it straight and a strong short game.

“I never count myself out of it,” said Connelly-Eiswerth. “I’m always going to keep fighting and that was the theme of the year, give myself chances and even if I didn’t have the success at each tournament until the end of the year, it worked out, that patience and sticking with the grind.”

Sandra Changkija (850) of Kissimmee, Florida, finished second, followed by Jennifer Borocz (525) of Ponte Vedra, Florida, in third and Joanna Coe (473.50) of Haverford, Pennsylvania, in fourth place.

Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year Award

Bob Sowards added more impressive feats to his resume with his third consecutive and fifth career Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year Award (2018, ‘19, ‘21, ‘22).

The PGA Director of Instruction at Kinsale Golf and Fitness Club in Powell, Ohio, has collected an Association-record nine national PGA of America awards. In addition to his Senior titles, Sowards won PGA Professional Player of the Year four times (2003-05, ‘14).

“It’s always a pleasure to win a national award like this, one you earn,” said Sowards. “I’m looking forward to more. I’m still trying to improve and still think I’ve got a couple more in me.”

The 55-year-old Sowards picked up where he left off in 2022 by capturing a six-shot victory at 10-under 205 at the PGA Senior Stroke Play Championship in January. Sowards made the cut in the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship in May. He then posted a T-38 finish at the U.S. Senior Open last July.

The Southern Ohio PGA Member won his sixth consecutive SOPGA Senior Professional Championship title by four strokes in August.

Sowards became the seventh PGA of America Golf Professional to win two Senior PGA Professional Championships when he registered a six-stroke victory at the 2023 Senior PGA Professional Championship in October. His final-round 6-under-par 66 on PGA Golf Club’s Wanamaker course gave him a winning total of 15-under-par 272.

After chasing distance off the tee for the better part of two years, Sowards altered his approach and committed to reinstating his low bullet cut. The midsummer adjustment yielded immediate results.

“Being able to hit fairways again and having the confidence that I’m not going to hit it left anymore is a huge thing,” said Sowards. “Now I feel like I can free up and swing as hard as I can and it’s not going left. That’s a huge thing to eliminate the left side of the golf course for me. That’s the thing that I’m going to take going forward and hopefully run with it.”

Sowards totaled 662.50 points to win the 2023 Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year Award. Mike Small (Champaign, Illinois) finished second with 658.15 points, with Tim Weinhart (Canton, Georgia) third with 468.75 and Jeff Gove (Sandpoint, Idaho) fourth at 331.

Women’s Division Champions Crowned at 2023 PGA National Club Championship

Ali Mulhall, Kim Keyer-Scott and Toni Notaro claim titles at Scottsdale’s Troon North and Westin Kierland

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Dec. 14, 2023) – A two-time champion. A hard-fought battle. A wire-to-wire winner. The women’s divisions of the 2023 PGA National Club Championship were compelling from start to finish.

Held in Scottsdale, Ariz., across Troon North Golf Club’s Monument and Pinnacle courses and Westin Kierland’s Ironwood/Acacia course, the 54-hole championship featured three Women’s Divisions: Open (any age), Senior (50+ years old) and Legend (60+ years old).

Ali Mulhall (Black Desert Resort, Ivins, Utah) recorded a final round 2-under 70 to become the first two-time Women’s Open Division Champion after previously winning in 2021. Kim Keyer-Scott (Shadow Wood Country Club, Bonita Springs, Fla.) carded a 1-under 71 on Thursday to capture the Women’s Senior Division. Toni Notaro (Pinehurst Resort, Pinehurst, N.C.) posted a final round 5-over 76 to take the Women’s Legend Division after leading wire-to-wire.

Mulhall, who won the Open Division at the 2021 PGA National Club Championship, carded rounds of 72-69-70 to finish at 4-under 211 and clinch a three-shot victory over Natalie Yen (Arrowhead Golf Club, Molalla, Ore.) at 1-under 214. Kim Santiago from Sahalee Country Club (Sammamish, Wash.), the host of the 2024 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, finished in third at 11-over 226.

“It’s a spectacular tournament,” said Mulhall. “I was lucky enough to practice at Black Desert in Utah and really take my game to the next level and be ready for this tournament today. And just to be able to say I’m a two time champion is just great.”

After a strong win at the 2021 PGA National Club Championship at PGA West, Mulhall returned to defend her Women’s Open Division title this past February at the 2022 championship. During that championship earlier this year, her grandfather passed away, and while she battled in his honor, Mulhall came up just short as the runner-up, which she used to help motivate her this week.

“After that, I decided I’m going to be the best inside 100 yards,” she said. “I went to work and was able to just get it better and be able to get up and down more.”

After play was suspended for darkness on Wednesday, Mulhall and Yen began the day with pars on 18 to enter the final round tied for the lead. After a shotgun start across all divisions, the two women battled for the championship with Mulhall coming out on top after recording the Open Division’s lone score under-par in the final round.

“Natalie was pushing hard the whole way through,” she said. “So, I just kept trying to make putts, stay steady and not give anything away down the stretch.”

The PGA National Club Championship is a family affair for the Mulhalls. Ali’s sister, Molli, also competed this week and finished T-15. Their father, Christopher Mulhall, has been a PGA Member since 2008 and currently serves as the Head Professional at Round Valley Golf Course in Utah.

“My little sister Molli is just a spectacular player,” said Ali. “Just to be able to practice with her, we really pushed each other to be able to hit the best shots we could. And then obviously having my dad out there being a PGA member, he knows a lot about the game and was able to give me very useful advice that I used all three days.”

“Getting all these good players coming to one spot and competing for a national title is awesome, and it’s a great program that the PGA has put together,” said Christopher Mulhall. “I was very impressed with the tournament at PGA West when Ali won in 2021. And we just decided that we’d mark it on our calendar every year.”

Keyer-Scott captured a hard-fought Women’s Senior Division title with a score of 9-over 224, just one stroke ahead of Kim Shek (Sahalee Country Club, Sammamish, Wash.) in second place and two ahead of Susan West (NorthRiver Yacht Club, Tuscaloosa, Ala.) in third.

“This means a lot actually,” said Keyer-Scott. “I know that I’m competing against women who are all their own club champions, and the fact that I came back and shot a really good round today, that was pretty exciting for me.”

Keyer-Scott vaulted up the leaderboard Thursday after entering the final round trailing by seven shots in a tie for sixth. Her final round of 1-under 71, the lowest individual round of the Women’s Senior Division, was highlighted by birdies on the par-5 456-yard 3rd and the par-3 144-yard 13th.

“I told my husband before I left, I said my goal is top five so I can get invited back next year,” Keyer-Scott said. “I just went out and was really calm today. I just made a lot of pars. I only made two birdies and I bogeyed my last hole. I made a few clutch putts. One of them was a longer par-4 and I hit a good chip but left myself 12 feet. When I ran that par, I went, ‘OK, let’s go. I got this.’”

Keyer-Scott was proud to represent Shadow Wood Country Club at the Championship, and she expects to hear a lot of great things from her fellow members in the morning.

“It means a lot because I’ve been there almost 20 years and I’ve been the club champion 18 or 19 of those 20 years,” she said. “A friend of mine told me about this last year and she’s like, you gotta play it, it’s fun, you gotta play it.”

Notaro went wire-to-wire in the Women’s Legend Division, posting a final score of 4-over 219 to cruise to an eight-stroke victory. Patty Moore, who is also from Pinehurst Resort and won the 2020 Women’s Senior Championship, finished in second place at 12-over 227 followed by Kristin Fenwick (Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort, Palm Springs, Calif.) in third at 13-over 228.

“With a field like this, with a lot of really established players, it just feels great,” said Notaro. “To go wire-to-wire, that’s just beyond my comprehension because I know how hard that is. And these are really good golfers out here. They’re all champions.”

Notaro posted opening rounds of 72 and 71 to give herself a seven-stroke lead heading into Thursday’s final round. She credits her cousin and best friend Jill Harman, who came out from Pinehurst to be her caddie, for being a calming influence for her.

“Today, it was just all about making pars; I wasn’t trying to be aggressive,” she said. “[First Round] on Monument, I made four birdies which really helped. And yesterday at Kierland, I had two. The driver was really working and put me in the middle of the fairway most of the time. And the putter cured any ills that I had.”

Notaro has played in all four PGA National Club Championships, dating back to the inaugural edition held at her home club, the legendary Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina. Just as important as the championship title, Notaro credits the PGA National Club Championship with building great camaraderie among the players.

“Pinehurst has such a history and to be able to represent them and bring home a championship to a place that is all about championships is really special,” said Notaro. “The first [National Club Championship] was in Pinehurst where I met Shelley Marshall, who I was paired with for four rounds and I’m actually staying with her out here. She’s become such a great friend. Everyone here is a good player, but they’re even better people.”

Patricia Benz from TPC Prestancia in Sarasota, Florida, registered a hole-in-one on Westin Kierland Ironwood/Acacia’s 139-yard par-3 5th hole during the opening round of the Senior Women’s Division on Tuesday.

The PGA National Club Championship features amateur club champions from across the country who were invited by their facility’s PGA of America Professional to compete in the event. All champions receive a lifetime exemption into the PGA National Club Championship, and the top five finishers in each division will be invited to compete in next year’s championship.

The men’s divisions will compete Sunday-Tuesday on the same three courses.