The Georgia PGA schedule has one new addition for 2020, adding a two-day points tournament at West Pines in Douglasville.
The tournament joins club-hosted events at Chattahoochee GC and Berkeley Hills CC as part of the Section schedule along with the five most prominent Georgia PGA championships that have been played for more than 20 years.
Like the tournaments at Chattahoochee and Berkeley Hills, the new event at West Pines will be open to both Georgia club professionals and amateurs. The Atlanta Open and Georgia Open, two of the four Georgia PGA majors, also include amateurs, as does the Georgia Senior Open.
The Match Play Championship and Georgia PGA Championship are the Section’s other majors and are limited to Georgia PGA members, as are the Section’s qualifiers for the national club pro championship and senior club pro championship.
The Georgia Open returns to the Ford Plantation in Savannah for a fifth straight year, with Barrett Waters of Dallas winning last year in a three-way playoff over fellow mini-tour players Kelby Burton and Jared O’Kelley. The three players shot 11-under 277, with 2017 Georgia Open champion Paul Claxton one shot back along with recent South Carolina golf team member Ryan Stachler.
This year’s tournament is scheduled for August 6-9 at the exceptional PeteDyedesign, one of the finest and most challenging layouts in the state.
The Yamaha Atlanta Open is back at Echelon GC on the north Fulton/Cherokee border after first being played there in 2017. Wyatt Larkin, a member of the Kennesaw State golf team at the time, won by two shots that year over Dunwoody CC head pro Kyle Owen. A college golfer won for the third straight year in 2019 at Pinetree, as Coastal Georgia’s Eli Scott edged fellow amateurs Justin Kim, Matthew Hayes and Takefumi Shimoji and Augusta National assistant Robby Bruns by a shot. Mercer’s Spencer Ball won in2018 at Cherokee Town & CC.
The tournament will be played June 22-23 at the Rees Jones-designed layout, one of the strongest daily fee designs in Georgia.
Former Champions Tour player James Mason broke a six-year string of amateur victories in the Championship at Berkeley Hills last year, taking a 3-way playoff over college golfers Josh Edgar of Georgia State and Connor Pollman of Marietta, who plays at Lee University in Tennessee. Berkeley Hills will host the tournament for the 11thtime July 13-14.
The Milton Martin Honda Classic was played for the first time in 2017 at Chattahoochee GC, a Gainesville public course that has been one of the most popular hosts for Georgia PGA events. Achasta pro Matt Elliottedged 2019 Georgia PGA Player of the Year Tim Weinhart and Jacob Tilton by one shot last year. Claxton, who spent 20 years combined on the PGA Tour and what is now the Korn Ferry Tour, won the inaugural event in 2018.
This year’s tournament will be played June 1-2, slightly later than the previous two years.
The West Pines Classic will be played for the first time May 18-19 at the Douglasville public course, which was extensively re-designed several years ago by Atlanta area native Bill Bergin. Along with Berkeley Hills and Chattahoochee, other courses that have hosted their own Georgia PGA event include Rivermont, Chicopee Woods, the former Griffin CC, KInderlou Forest, the former Port Armor on Lake Oconee, Polo CC, Houston Lake and Landings GC.
Returning for the second year is the Georgia PGA Head Professional Championship, which is limited to head pros, Directors of Golf and General Managers and is not a points event. Brian Oliver of Stone Mountain GC won the inaugural event last year at Cartersville CC in a playoff over Owen, with this year’s tournament set for Nov. 2 at Atlanta CC. The tournament will again be played with a Stableford scoring system and will include a senior division.
The Match Play Championship begins in mid-March and concludes August 24 with the semifinals and finals at Peachtree GC for the seventh straight year. The first four rounds are played at courses decided by the two competitors, with the players having about a month to complete each round. J.P. Griffin of Capital City Club won last year, defeating Brian Dixon 2-up in the finals after eliminating top-seeded Sonny Skinner in the semifinals earlier that morning.
The Georgia PGA Championship will be played Aug. 31-Sept. 2 Sea Island GC, its long-time home. After being played the last three years on the Retreat course, recently re-designed Plantation will be the site of this year’s tournament for the first time since 2015. Claxton won for the second straight year in 2019, finishing two shots ahead of Georgia PGA veterans Weinhart and Steven Keppler, who have won the Section Championship a combined seven times. Mason, a 4-time champion, won at Plantation the last time it hosted in 2015.
The Georgia PGA’s qualifier for the national club pro championship will be played at the River Club in Suwanee Oct. 26-27, and as the last points event of the year, is likely to decide the Player of the Year. Weinhart, the Director of Instruction at Heritage Golf Links, won for the sixth time last year at Jennings Mill to wrap up his 10thPlayer of the Year title.
This year’s PGA Professional Championship will be played April 26-29 in Austin, Tex., with Weinhart one of six Georgia PGA members in the field. Also qualifying are Claxton, Owen, Justin Martin and first-timersAnthony Cordes and Jake Keen.
Weinhart, who turned 50 last year, will be defending his title in the Georgia PGA Senior Championship, which also serves as the qualifier for the national senior club pro championship. Weinhart won in his senior debut last year at the Legends at Chateau Elan, taking a three-way playoff over Skinner and Clark Spratlin.This year’s Georgia PGA Senior Championship will be played August 17-18 at Ansley Golf Club’s Settindown Creek, with the top qualifiers competing at nationals Oct. 15-18 in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
The Georgia Senior Open is the first stroke play event on the 2020 Georgia PGA schedule, and will be played May 11-12 at Coosa CC in Rome. Amateur Mark Strickland won in dominant fashion last year, shooting a final round 65 at St. Ives to win by four shots over Mason. Amateurs have won three times in the last five years, with Billy Mitchell taking a playoff in 2016 and Bob Royak the 2018 winner. Royak also won the 2019 U.S. Senior Amateur title. Mason won the Georgia Senior Open in 2015 and ’17.
Players competing in the Georgia Senior Open will have a conflict with a qualifyier for the U.S. Senior Open, which will be played May 12 at Cherokee Town & CC. There will be several qualifiers in neighboring states, but they are scheduled in close proximity to the Section events at West Pines and Chattahoochee, which could conflict with potential practice rounds for the qualifiers.
The Georgia PGA’s Senior Division series of tournaments began in January, with Weinhart shooting 2-under 142 at Kinderlou Forest in Valdosta to finish two shots ahead of Keppler and three in front of Skinner and amateur Jack Kearney. Craig Stevens won the February event at Doublegate in Albany, shooting 8-under 136 and winning a playoff over Skinner. Both players posted scores of 65-71. Mason and amateur Chris Hall tied for third at 137.
Other Senior Division tournaments in 2020 will be played March 9-10 at Sanctuary Cove, April 6-7 at Willow Lake, June 15-16 at Canongate GC, July 20-21 at Bent Tree, Aug. 25-26 at Rivermont and Sept. 28-29 at the Orchard.
Team events include the Pro-Pro Scramble March 17 at Rivermont, the Senior –Junior May 4 at Bobby Jones GC, the Pro-Assistant June 29 at the Standard Cub and the Pro-Pro Championship Dec. 7-8 at Sea Island GC.
The Peters Cup, the biennial matches pitting the top Georgia PGA players against a team of amateurs selected by the GSGA, is scheduled for Oct. 11-12 at a site to be determined.
The Georgia Women’s Open is back at Achasta GC in Dahlonega for a second straight year, and will be played June 8-9. Harmie Constantino, at the time a member of the Georgia women’s team, shot a tournament record 13-under 131 to win by five over pro Jessica Welch. Constantino has since returned to her home in the Philippines.
The Georgia PGA Junior Championship is set for June 10-12 at the Legends at Chateau Elan, with a number of outstanding courses serving as hosts of GPGA Junior Tour events this year.
The Junior Tour’s schedule includes events at Glen Arven (March 9-10), Woodmont (May 29-30), Savannah GC (June 24-25), the UGA course (July 8-10), CC of Columbus (July 16-17), the Atlanta Junior Championship at East Lake and Bobby Jones GC (July 22-23), Sea Island GC’s Retreat course (Aug. 24-25), Georgia Southern GC (Sept. 14-15), Oak Mountain (Sept. 21-22), Coosa CC (Oct. 5-6), Chattahoochee GC (Oct. 20), Bartram Trail (Nov. 2-3) and the Tour Championship at Chateau Elan (Nov. 16-17).