The Georgia PGA 2019 schedule begins this month with one of four team events on the Section’s annual
calendar, with the first individual points event also beginning in March, although it won’t conclude until
The Match Play Championship begins March 20, but players have two months to schedule their opening
round matches at sites determined by the competitors. The second round will be completed by July 10,
with approximately five weeks scheduled for the completion of the third round and quarterfinals.
The four semifinalists will play at Peachtree GC on Sept. 30, with the winners of two morning matches
competing for the championship that afternoon. This will be the sixth straight year the semifinals and
finals will be played at Peachtree.
The deadline for entry into the 64-man field is March 15, with the draw posted on March 19. The top 64
finishers on last year’s points list were able to sign up early for the tournament, with 15 of the top 20
entering before the field was opened up to other Section members.
Among the early entrants were defending champion Justin Martin and past Match Play winners Brian
Dixon, Tim Weinhart, David Potts, Shawn Koch and Sonny Skinner, who was second in last year’s Player
of the Year standings and lost to Martin in the Match Play semifinals. Potts also was a semifinalist last
year, with Koch reaching the quarterfinals.
Joining the field in recent days are Peachtree GC head pro Donn Perno, who won the Match Play title in
2013 at East Lake and 2017 at his home course, along with 1984 Match Play champion Gregg Wolff.
Also among the early entrants were 2018 Match Play runner-up Peter Jones, who placed third on last
year’s Player of the Year points list; 2017 Player of the Year and Match Play runner-up Kyle Owen; and
2018 quarterfinalists Todd Ormsby and Bill Murchison.
Paul Claxton, the 2019 Georgia PGA Player of the Year, was not among the early entrants. Neither was
Craig Stevens, a past champion, and James Mason, who joined Stevens in the top 10 on last year’s
points list. Claxton and Mason did not play in the event last year, while Stevens competed and
advanced to the quarterfinals.
The first events on the 2019 GPGA schedule were a pair of Senior Division tournaments at courses in
southwest Georgia. Skinner shot 3-under 141 in January at Kinderlou Forest in Valdosta to finish one
shot ahead of Danny Elkins and two in front of Stephen Keppler. Competing on his home course at
Doublegate in Albany, Glen Herrell won in a playoff in February over Wyatt Detmer, with both players
posting totals of 7-under 137. Victor deSola was third at 139.
There are seven more Senior Division tournaments on the schedule, including stops at Sanctuary GC in
Brunswick (March 18-19), Willow Lake in Metter (April 8-9), Canongate GC (June 17-18), Bent Tree (July
22-23), Rivermont (August 12-13), the Orchard (Sept. 23-24) and the Tour Championship at Cuscowilla
(Oct. 21-22). The Mullins Cup match against the top seniors from the GSGA is scheduled for Nov. 18-19
The Yamaha Georgia Senior Open will be played at St. Ives CC May 6-7, with St. Ives member Bob Royak
the defending champion. Royak was the 2018 winner at Pinetree CC in a playoff over fellow amateur
Chris Hall, with Claxton finishing as low pro and taking third overall.
The GPGA Senior Championship, which doubles as the Section’s qualifier for the PGA Senior national
club pro championship, is scheduled for August 19-20 at the Legends at Chateau Elan. Claxton won last
year in a playoff over Mason at Ansley Golf Club’s Settindown Creek.
Claxton and Mason went on to post top-35 finishes in last year’s Senior PNC to qualify for the 2019 PGA
Senior Championship, which will be played May 23-26 at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y. It will be the 200 th
career start on the Champions Tour for Mason.
The first stroke play points event on the Section’s 2019 schedule is the Milton Martin Honda Classic,
which will be played May 20-21 at Chattahoochee GC. Claxton won last year’s inaugural event by one
shot over Georgia State golf team member Nathan Williams of Gainesville, but may be unable to
compete this year due to the conflict in dates with the PGA Senior Championship. Prior to last year’s
tournament, Chattahoochee GC was a frequent host of Georgia PGA events that change sites on an
The Yamaha Atlanta Open returns to another of the Section’s favorite tournament host sites June 4-5 at
Pinetree. The course last hosted the Atlanta Open in 2004, and in recent years has been the site of the
Georgia Open (2014 and ’15) the Georgia Women’s Open and Senior PNC in 2017 and the Georgia
Senior Open last year.
Mercer golfer Spencer Ball won last year’s Atlanta Open at Cherokee Town & CC by two shots over
Jones, Cherokee’s Director of Instruction. It was the second straight win in the event for a college golfer,
as Kennesaw State’s Wyatt Larkin won at Echelon in 2017.
Amateurs have won the last six Georgia PGA tournaments played at Berkeley Hills CC, with this year’s
event set for July 8-9. Alpharetta’s Ryan Stachler, a member of the golf team at South Carolina, edged
Georgia PGA member Brian Dixon by a shot last year to continue the streak of amateur golfers at
Berkeley Hills. The last Georgia PGA member to win the Championship at Berkeley Hills was Stephen
Keppler in 2012.
The Georgia Open will be played at the Ford Plantation for a fourth straight year August 1-4, with
Savannah pro Tim O’Neal scoring a hometown victory last year. Claxton won the tournament in 2017.
Sea Island GC’s Retreat course will be the site for the Georgia PGA Championship for a third straight year
August 26-28. Claxton won the event for the first time last year, finishing one stroke ahead of two-time
tournament champion Skinner. The Section’s top veteran players have won the championship multiple
times, including Weinhart (2005, ’16 and ’17), Mason (1997, ’99, 2000 and ’16), Stevens (2001, ’10 and
’13), Skinner (2006 and ’12) and Keppler (1990, ‘94, ’96 and 2011).
The final points event on the 2019 schedule is the Section’s qualifier for the PGA PNC, which will be
played Oct. 14-15 at Jennings Mill outside Athens. Owen finished one shot ahead of Claxton last year at
Barnsley Resort, with Claxton narrowly edging out Skinner for Player of the Year honors. Skinner tied for
third in the tournament.
Owen, Claxton and Skinner will be among six Georgia PGA members who will compete in the 2019 PGA
Professional Championship, which will be played April 28-May 1 at Belfair GC in Bluffton, S.C., which is
just across the Savannah River between Savannah and Hilton Head. The other three Georgia qualifiers
are Robby Bruns, Bill Hassell and Matthew Sanders.
The first of the Section’s four team tournaments is the Pro-Pro Scramble March 12 at the Standard Club.
Other team events are the Pro-Assistant July 1 at Marietta CC, the Senior-Junior Sept. 16 at Ansley GC
and the Pro-Pro Championship Dec. 9-10 at Sea Island GC.
Last year’s winners were Stevens and Tyler Johnson (Scramble), Vinnie Paolozzi and Jacob Tilton (Pro-
Assistant), Dixon and Ted Fort (Senior-Junior) and Owen and William Rahm (Pro-Pro).
After playing at Brookfield CC five of the last six years, the Georgia Women’s Open is moving to Achasta
GC in Dahlonega and will be played July 15-16. Ji Eun Baik, a young tour pro from Cumming, won last
year, with UGA golfer Bailey Tardy placing third and finishing as low amateur. Tardy has since turned
pro and is playing on the Symetra Tour this year, which will visit Georgia May 9-11 at Atlanta National.