Philo leads PGA Professional Championship, Oklahoma pros need low rounds today to advance

BLUFFTON, S.C. (April 28, 2019) – Former Champion Ron Philo Jr. of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, awakened the echoes of past signature performances by posting a near-flawless 6-under-par 66 Sunday on the West Course at Belfair for a one-stroke lead in the 52nd PGA Professional Championship presented by Cadillac, Club Car and OMEGA.

The 53-year-old Philo, the 2006 national champion, made six birdies, featuring a 45-foot putt on the eighth hole and a 20-foot par-saver on the 17th green. His only blemish came on the par-4 18th hole where he failed to get to the green in regulation and just missed a 12-foot par putt.

Alex Beach of Stamford, Connecticut, a PGA Assistant Professional at Westchester Country Club in Harrison, New York, was a stroke off the pace after a 67, also coming on the par-72 West Course.

Of the five South Central Section pros in the field, Trent Rommann of Wichita started with a 75 and got off to a hot 4-under start through seven holes Monday to move into the top 20. Tim Fleming of Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club shot 76, Tyler Woodward of Jimmie Austin OU Golf Course shot 77, Jarrod Lundy of Winter Creek Golf Club shot 78 and Cary Cozby of Southern Hills Country Club shot 79. All will need to bounce back with low rounds Monday to advance.

The field will be trimmed to the low 90 scorers and ties Monday evening, and to the low 70 scorers and ties after Tuesday’s round. Following Wednesday’s final round, the low 20 scorers earn a berth in the 101st PGA Championship, May 16-19, at Bethpage Black Course in Farmingdale, New York.

Philo matched his personal-best 18-hole round in the largest all-professional national championship, and that came in 2007. He’s recorded 74 rounds since his 1993 debut, and last completed 72 holes in the event in 2012, when he finished 28th place.

“I guess the wind right a lot,” said Philo. “I made three putts that would be outside of normal. On No. 8, I rolled it up about 45 feet and it hit the hole and went in. The best putt I made on 15 was 12 feet, with an old cup in my way and I needed to give it room. Then, I made the 20-footer for par on 17.

“Being in the south and in golf all winter is a lot different than being away from golf that amount of time. I’ve got a student, Trevor Lopez, and I try to keep up with him and that helps me.”

Alex Knoll of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, and 2013 Champion Rod Perry of Port Orange, Florida, led the chasers at 4-under-par. Knoll had a sterling 67 on the par-71 East Course, while Perry posted a 68 on the West.

Knoll is the PGA Head Professional at Blue Shamrock Golf Club in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and was the top performer on a course yielding a 76.6 stroke average- nearly two strokes higher than the West – among the 312-player field. Perry is the PGA Head Professional at Crane Lakes Golf and Country Club in Port Orange.

Ben Cook of Caledonia, Michigan; Jeffrey Kaiser of Verona, Wisconsin; and J.J. Wood of Houston, Texas, each had a 69.

Defending Champion Ryan Vermeer of Omaha, Nebraska, rallied from a tough start to finish with a 1-under-par 70 on the East Course.

The field will be trimmed to the low 90 scorers and ties Monday evening, and to the low 70 scorers and ties after Tuesday’s round. Following Wednesday’s final round, the low 20 scorers earn a berth in the 101st PGA Championship, May 16-19, at Bethpage Black Course in Farmingdale, New York.


 

Facebook Comments
Receive Our eNews!

No spam guarantee.

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )

Ken MacLeod

Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source

GOLF OKLAHOMA