Georgia PGA members Craig Stevens and Stephen Keppler qualified for the 2017 PGA Senior Championship, with both players finishing among the top 30 in the recent PGA Senior Professional Championship in south Florida.
The 2017 PGA senior Championship is scheduled for May 25-28 at the Trump National golf course in the Washington, D.C., suburbs.
Stevens, an instructor at Brookstone G&CC, was among the top 15 after each of the first three rounds, and wound up tied for 18th at 4-under 284, with his final round 75 his only score higher than 70 in the tournament. Stevens opened with scores of 69-70 at the two courses at PGA GC used for the tournament, making just one bogey over the first 36 holes.
A third round 70 moved Stevens up from 14th to 13th in the standings, but he managed only one birdie in the final round to drop five spots.
Keppler, the Director of Golf at Marietta CC, got off to a shaky start, playing his first four holes of the opening round in 3-over and needing a pair of late birdies to shoot 76. He came back the next day with a 67 to make the cut at 1-under 143.
The field of 264 players was cut to the low 70 and ties after 36 holes, with even par 144 the cut line. Keppler had six birdies in the second round, including three in a row on the back nine to move up 136 spots and make the cut.
Scores of 70-73 the final two days gave Keppler a 2-under 286 total for the tournament and a tie for 28th. He moved up 28 spots over the final 36 holes. It took a 287 score to finish in the top 35 and qualify for next year’s PGA Senior Championship.
Clark Spratlin, the Director of Golf at the Currahee Club in Toccoa, missed finishing among the top 35 by three shots, finishing in a tie for 47th at 290. Spratlin was tied for 56th after opening with scores of 70-73, and moved up to 40th with a third round 70 that included five birdies. He got off to a rocky start in the final round with a double bogey on his opening hole, and shot 42 on his first nine before beginning his second nine with birdies on his first two holes. But ne managed just one bogey and six pars over his last seven holes.
Four other Georgia PGA members competed in the PGA Senior Professional Championship, and all four came within two shots of making the 36-hole cut.
Former Champions Tour member James Mason, who had several top finishes in the tournament in recent years, shot 73-71 and missed the cut by one shot at 144. He carded his fifth birdie of the second round on the 18th hole to give himself some hope of making the cut, but was tied for 76th after 36 holes.
Finishing at 145 was Spring Hill head pro Sonny Skinner, Forest Heights head pro Drew Pittman and Brunswick CC instructor Mark Anderson.
Skinner birdied three straight holes late in his opening round to shoot 73, and was 1-over for the tournament and one shot over the cut line after an eagle on his 13th hole of the second round and a birdie two holes later. But he bogeyed his 17th hole to miss the cut by two.
After making only one birdie in an opening 75, Pittman had seven birdies the next day, shooting 2-under 70, but three straight birdies late in the round were not enough to make the cut
Anderson shot 74 the first day, and fell back with a 3-over front nine to start his second round. He had four birdies in a back nine 32 for a 71, but like Skinner and Pittman, missed the cut by two.