Jeff Hart Wins the 2019 Southern California PGA Professional Championship
Solvang, California – Jeff Hart snuck up the leaderboard during the final round to deliver one of the more memorable finishes of the decade at the 2019 Southern California PGA Professional Championship at The Alisal.
PGA Life Member, Hart, began round three one stroke behind 36-hole leader Chad Sorensen of Buena Vista Golf Course. Unable to muster much momentum on the front-nine, Hart remained levelheaded and patient until he caught fire with four consecutive birdies on holes #12, #13, #14, and #15. In keeping the momentum rolling, Hart drained a critical 25-foot birdie putt on hole #17, and finished his third round with a six-under par 65.
Sorensen, who was crowned Champion in 2015, began his round with an electrifying eagle on the opening hole for the second consecutive day and stretched his lead to three shots early, but wouldn’t have another par breaker until the back-nine birdieing holes #10, #13, and #15. Sorensen went into hole #18 tied for the lead, but was unable to get up-and-down from the greenside rough which resulted in his second bogey of the tournament and couldn’t have occurred at a more ill-timed moment to cost him a spot in the playoff.
Brian Smock of Coronado Golf Course, who was three back going into the day, was red-hot throughout his final round shooting an eight-under par, 63, which tied the course record on the Ranch course and allowed him to charge up the leaderboard.
After 54-holes, Hart and Smock were deadlocked at 18-under par, 196, and the sudden-death playoff headed to the 474-yard par 4 #10. Smock had the honors on the tee and blocked his tee shot right, out-of-bounds, opening the door for Hart, who proceeded to make a par and win the Championship.
“After winning the Southern California Senior PGA Professional Championship, to double up here is just phenomenal,” commented Jeff Hart after hoisting the trophy.
Hart is the first Champion to win both the Southern California Senior PGA Professional Championship and Southern California PGA Professional Championship in the same year since Chris Starkjohann accomplished the feat in 2010.
The following players have qualified for the PGA Professional Championship at Omni Barton Creek Resort and Spa in Austin, Texas on April 26-29, 2020: Jeff Hart, Brian Smock, Chad Sorensen, Chris Gilley, Alan Sorensen, Paul Holtby, Vinnie Poncino, Alan Scheer, Andrew Kramer, Michael Block, Jeff Templeton, and Chris Lempa. Best of luck to these 12 professionals as they represent the Southern California PGA and vie for a chance to compete in the 2020 PGA Championship.
This Championship concluded the OMEGA Section Player of the Year point race where Michael Block finished on top. This is Block’s sixth time in the past seven years to be named SCPGA Player of the Year.
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ROUND ONE RECAP – The Danish town of Solvang is littered with PGA Professionals this week as the SCPGA makes its return to The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort for the playing of the 95th Southern California PGA Professional Championship. First hosting in 2014, The Alisal Ranch and River courses see a field of 129 SCPGA Class A members and boasts a $100,000 purse in this year’s Championship.
Past champions Chad Sorensen of Buena Vista Golf Course and Alan Scheer of Steele Canyon Golf Club share the round one lead after carding eight-under par 64’s at the River Course. Sorensen was on cruise control the entire day with eight birdies and no blemishes on his scorecard. Scheer started his round shaky with a bogey his first hole but found his stride with nine birdies the rest of his round.
Sitting in solo third place is Brian Smock, PGA of Coronado Golf Course who fired a stellar seven-under par 64 on the Ranch course, one shot shy of the course record. Smock traversed the narrow course with pinpoint accuracy off the tee, having a lone miscue on the par-4 10th where he settled for a bogey.
Back-to-back and reigning champion Michael Block of Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club finds himself once again in the mix and looking to three-peat. Block finished his opening round with a two-under par 70 at the River Course, currently tied for ninth, and will be looking to climb the leaderboard during round two.
This Championship serves as the national qualifier for the 2020 PGA Professional Championship where the low 11 finishers will represent the Section in Austin, Texas at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa, on April 26th– 29th.
Concluding tomorrow’s second round, the low 60 players plus ties will make the cut into the final round which will be held on the Ranch course on Wednesday, September 18th.
Past champions in the field include: Michael Block (2017, 2018), Chad Sorensen (2015), Alan Scheer (2013), Chris Starkjohann (1991, 2004, 2010, 2012), Eric Wolf (2007), Scott Miller (2005), Geoff Dean (2003), Paul Dietsche (2002), Paul Wise (1983, 1984).
ROUND TWO RECAP –2015 Champion, Chad Sorensen of Buena Vista Golf Course, has made it look easy through two rounds of the 2019 Southern California PGA Professional Championship and sits atop the leaderboard one stroke clear of the field. Sorensen has showcased steady play, firing a second round 66 on the Ranch course to go with yesterday’s first round of 64, bringing his two-day total to 13-under par, 130.
Starting things off with a bang, Sorenson emphatically drained a five-foot eagle putt on the par-5 first hole en route to a three-under par, blemish-free front nine. Making the turn, his only bogey of the tournament came from a stray tee shot on the par-4 10th hole. Fortunately, Sorenson was able to keep his composure and posted key birdies on holes 13, 15, and 16.
One stroke off the lead at 12-under par after 36-holes is PGA Life Member, Jeff Hart. Hart opened round one at the Ranch course with a six-under par, 65 and followed it up with another six-under par, 66 performance at the River course.
Rounding out tomorrow’s final group is 2013 Champion Alan Scheer of Steele Canyon Golf Club. Scheer, who was lights out during his opening round, posted a three-under 68 on the Ranch course to bring his two-day total to 11-under par, 132.
The top-60 players in the field, who are at four-over par or better, made the cut and move on to the final round to be played on the Ranch course.
Tomorrow’s final round has a lot on the line with the PGA Tour’s Desert Classic exemption going to the champion and the top 11 finishers qualifying for the PGA Professional Championship.
Tomorrow’s final round will promise a dramatic and pressure-packed finish. Play begins at 8AM PST.