The 2018 Georgia PGA tournament schedule includes one new event at a familiar site, with several of the organization’s top tournaments returning to some of the metro Atlanta area’s finest courses.
The new event on the 2018 schedule is the Milton Martin Honda Classic, which will be played May 7-8 at Chattahoochee GC in Gainesville, a frequent site of past Georgia PGA tournaments.
Since 2011, Chattahoochee GC has hosted the GPGA Match Play Championship and Atlanta Open, with the Georgia Senior Open played at the course each of the last two years. The Milton Martin Honda Classic will be played May 7-8 and takes the place of an event hosted by Rivermont G&CC that was played from 2014-17.
Like the event at Rivermont, the new tournament at Chattahoochee will be open to both club professionals and amateurs.
Other than that, the 2018 Georgia PGA schedule is similar to that of 2017, with several of the Section’s tournaments that are played at different courses annually returning to sites that have hosted events in the past.
After two years at Chattahoochee GC, the Yamaha Georgia Senior Open will be played for the first time at Pinetree CC, a course that is very familiar to most of the state’s top senior club professionals. Pinetree hosted the Georgia PGA Senior Championship in both 2012 and 2017, and also was the site of the Georgia Open in 2014 and ’15. This year’s tournament will be played April 30-May 1.
James Mason won last year’s Georgia Senior Open, his second win in the event in the last three years and third overall.
The Georgia PGA Senior Championship returns to Ansley GC’s Settindown Creek course, with that event set for June 25-26. The tournament, which serves as the Section’s qualifier for the national Senior PGA club professional championship, was played at Settindown Creek in 2013, ’14 and ’15.
Sonny Skinner won last year at Pinetree and also placed first in the event at Settindown Creek in 2013.
The 2018 Georgia PGA schedule opens with the Match Play Championship, which begins this month and concludes August 13 with semifinal and championship matches held at Peachtree GC. The first four rounds of the 64-man event are played at courses determined by the participants, with players having approximately one month to schedule their matches for each of the four rounds.
Peachtree GC head professional Donn Perno won the Match Play Championship for the second time last year, defeating 2017 Georgia PGA Player of the Year Kyle Owen in the finals. It was the first time Perno won the event on his home course, with Peachtree hosting the semifinals and finals since 2014.
The Yamaha Atlanta Open will be played at Cherokee Town & CC June 5-6, the first time the club has hosted the event since 1997. The tournament’s defending champion is Kennesaw State golfer Wyatt Larkin, who won at Echelon GC after missing also his entire sophomore season after undergoing back surgery. Skinner won the event the previous two years at St. Ives and White Columns.
Berkeley Hills will host its annual event July 9-10, with Erik Martin the fifth straight amateur to win the event last year. Prior to Martin’s victory, the previous four winners were either college players, or in the case of 2016 champion Jacob Bayer, still in high school at the time.
Brookfield CC hosted the Georgia Women’s Open four straight times from 2013-16 and the tournament returns to the Roswell club after being played at Pinetree last year as part of a unique doubleheader event along with the Georgia PGA Senior PNC. Roswell’s Jessica Haigwood, who completed her college career at Augusta last year, won the tournament at Pinetree after contending on an annual basis in each of the four previous tournaments at Brookfield.
The DripFusion Georgia Open returns to Savannah’s Ford Plantation for a third straight year, with the tournament scheduled for August 2-5. Paul Claxton, who is looking to resume his tour career after turning 50 earlier this year, won in 2017, one week before he competed in the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte.
The Georgia PGA Championship will be played for the second straight year at the Retreat course at Sea Island GC, with this year’s event scheduled for Aug. 27-29. The championship has been played at all three Sea Island GC courses, with Retreat hosting the event six times since 2004. Tim Weinhart, a 9-time Georgia PGA Player of the Year, won the Section Championship at Retreat last year, repeating his 2016 title at Seaside.
The final individual event on the 2018 Georgia PGA schedule is the qualifier for the 2019 PGA Professional National Championship. Barnsley Gardens will host the tournament Oct. 15-16, with the 2019 PGA PNC moving from its traditional date in June to April next year to accommodate the change in dates for the PGA Championship, which is going from August to May.
The 2018 PGA PNC is being played in Seaside, Calif., with the tournament scheduled for June 17-20. Eight Georgia PGA members have qualified for the event, including Claxton, Skinner, Owens, Weinhart and Craig Stevens. Justin Martin will join them in California along with PNC “rookies” Matthew Sanders and Peter Jones.
Team events on the 2018 Georgia PGA schedule include the Pro-Pro Scramble March 20 at Achasta GC, the Senior-Junior Championship May 21 at Ansley GC, the pro-Assistant at Athens CC May 29, and the biennial Peters Cup matches, which pits the top players from the Georgia PGA against a team of amateurs representing the GSGA. The event is set for Oct. 21-22, but a site has not yet been finalized.
The Georgia PGA’s Senior Division schedule for 2018 is already under way, with Stevens winning the season opener at Kinderlou Forest in Valdosta with scores of 66-68—134, six shots ahead of amateur Tim Slough. Glen Herrell scored a home course victory when the Doublegate CC head pro won the Ed Everett Senior Classic in Albany with scores of 71-65—136, edging Mason and Skinner by one shot reach.
Upcoming Senior Division events include Sanctuary GC in Brunswick (March 12-13), Willow Lake in Metter (April 2-3), Mystery Valley (May 14-15), the Lee-Weir Memorial tournament at Canongate GC (June 18-19), Bent Tree (July 23-24), Callaway Gardens (Aug. 20-21), the Orchard (Sept. 17-18) and the Tour Championship at Planterra Ridge (Oct. 8-9). The Mullins Cup matches pitting senior Georgia PGA pros against the state’s top senior amateurs, will be played Nov. 5-6 at Rivermont
The Georgia PGA Junior Tour plays its Championship at Savannah Harbor June 11-12, with the tour beginning its 2018 schedule last month at Valdosta CC. Following high school events at Chateau Elan April 13-14 and May 4-5 at Achasta, the tour resumes individual play at Chateau Elan May 30-31.
Other 2018 tournaments are scheduled for Stone Mountain (June 26-27), CC of Columbus (July 10-11), the UGA course (July 16-17), East Lake (July 25), Callaway Gardens (Aug. 11-12), Sea Island GC Plantation course (Aug. 25-26), Georgia Southern GC (Sept. 25-26), Coosa CC (Oct. 6-7) and Chattahoochee GC (Oct. 20-21). The Tour Championship will be played Nov. 10-11 at a site to be determined.