Since the beginning of 2013, not many golfers in Southern California have played as well as Kenny Pigman from Goose Creek Golf Club. Pigman was honored as the 2013 AAA Player of the Year, and looked to add to that distinction in 2014. The National Car Rental Assistants Championship gave him that opportunity and he took full advantage by winning the title after defeating Bobby Nickell of Monarch Beach Golf Links on the first playoff hole at Palos Verdes Golf Club.
The 36 hole championship event saw the best assistants and apprentices from Southern California do battle to earn the title of Assistants Champion, as well as stake claim to one of the coveted four spots that were available to represent Southern California at the Assistants National Championship in Port St. Lucie, FL from October 30-November 2, 2014. Pigman failed to capitalize on the calm conditions in the morning round, but stayed within striking distance of the leader by firing an even par 71. Nickell started the day on fire, posted a first round score 66 (-5) including birdies on every par 3 at Palos Verdes. Matt Gibbens, PGA of Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club sat alone in second place after the morning round with a 70 (-1) to join Nickell as the only two players under par heading into the second round. The afternoon saw the winds pick up, and with them the scores did the same. Players saw a completely different golf course with the gusty winds, and many found it tough to adjust during their round. Nickell’s hot putting cooled off as he saw his four stroke lead evaporate after shooting a second round 75 (+4) that left him sitting and waiting to see if anyone could match his two round total of 141. The final group of the day supplied that player in Pigman, as he was able to battle back from some early bogies to shoot a 70 (-1) and force a playoff to decide the champion.
A playoff was not only needed to decide the champion, but also to choose the final two alternate spots behind Brett Mormann of The Los Angeles Country Club. Thomas Chu, Scott LaBare and Trevor Young battled it out over three holes for the final two alternate spots, with Young and Chu earning alternate spots and a chance to represent the section in Florida along with our four qualifiers. The playoff to decide a winner pitted the last two AAA Player of Year winners, and after both players hit perfect drives, it was Pigman who found the green on his approach shot that ultimately led to his victory after a two putt par. Pigman, Nickell and Gibbens will be joined by Blair Harkins, PGA of Rolling Hills Country Club in Port St. Lucie.
The SCPGA would like to send a special thank you to National Car Rental for their sponsorship and support of this wonderful event. We would also like to recognize Palos Verdes Golf Club and their head professional Jim Gormley, PGA for be outstanding hosts for this special event. Good luck to everyone traveling to Florida.