The Southern California PGA kicked off its 2016 Championship season with the Senior Section Championship on August 22nd and 23rd. This year’s event, held at the scenic Rustic Canyon Golf Course, had a field of 82 accomplished Senior PGA members vying for the title of Champion, their name etched into the prestigious Joe Robinson – Roy P. Denney Perpetual Trophy, and a spot into the Senior Professional National Championship.
The Championship buzz was in the air on the morning of the first day. As the players arrived they were treated to personal stretches, massages, and fitness tips on the driving range from one of the event’s partners, Fore Fitness Golf. The participants were also treated to ice cold Aquafina water and Gatorade on the first and tenth tee boxes from product sponsor, Pepsi. These individualized fitness sessions and electrolytes in their body seemed to be the key for great golf, as 24 players were able to post rounds of even par or better for the first round. However none was better than PGA Professional Paul Dietsche, of Redlands Country Club, who carded an impressive 68 (-4), which included an eagle and three birdies, to hold onto the overnight lead by one shot.
The second, and final, day of the Championship was action packed as each player in the field knew that they must make a move, to not only become Champion, but to also earn that coveted invite into the Senior PGA Professional Championship. The final grouping of Paul Dietsche and Gary Sowinski saw the most action of the day as both players went back and forth for the lead. After nine holes, Dietsche held a one shot lead but stumbled on the final holes to open the door for Sowinski. On the 18th tee box, both players were tied for the Championship lead, making the event a two player race on the final hole. Both players hit great drives down the middle of the fairway and both found the green on their second shots setting themselves up for pressure putts to take the Championship. Dietsche was the first to play and left his birdie chance woefully short. After seeing this, Sowinski knew that this was his opportunity and calmly drained his 15-foot birdie putt to post a two day total of 139 and become the 2016 Section Senior PGA Champion! Congratulations and well deserved Gary!
Congratulations to the following 10 PGA Professionals who earned an invitation to represent themselves, their club or their affiliation and the SCPGA at the 2016 Senior PGA Professional Championship: Gary Sowinski (The Hodges Golf and Learning Center), Gregory Casagranda (The Hodges Golf and Learning Center), Mike Mitchell (Hideaway Golf Club), Paul Dietsche (Redlands Country Club), Mickey Yokoi (Long Beach State University), Mike Fergin (Mesa Verde Country Club), Jon Fiedler (Las Posas Country Club), Alexander Valentine (Travel Leader La Costa), Jim Detrixhe (Riviera County Club) and Barry Mahlberg (Stadium Golf Center).
Thank you to the partners of the 2016 Senior Section Championship: PGA Tour, Mercedes-Benz, Yamaha, JaniKing, Fore Fitness, and Pepsi. The SCPGA and participants in the field greatly appreciate your partnership.
A special thank you to Rodney Scott, PGA, and the staff at Rustic Canyon Golf Course. The golf course was in great condition, and each staff member went above and beyond to provide outstanding hospitality.
Last, but certainly not least, thank you to the following SCPGA rules officials who donated their time and rules expertise to the Championship: Lee Wortman, Tom Wallace, Gary Wilson, and Ron O’Connor, PGA.