Pre-Tournament Notebook: McCorkle ramping up for lots of big-time golf

By
The PGA of America

Series: PGA

Published: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 | 3:45 p.m.

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – For the 18th consecutive year, PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla., will host the National Car Rental PGA Assistant Championship presented by COBRA PUMA GOLF. The 37th edition of the National Championship for PGA assistant professionals and apprentices, is a 72-hole event to be played on the Wanamaker Course Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 31–Nov. 3.

The 126-player field features PGA assistant professionals and apprentices who have qualified through one of the 41 PGA of America Sections. The low 70 scorers and ties after Friday's second round advance to the weekend's final 36 holes.

2013 NATIONAL CAR RENTAL PGA ASSISTANT CHAMPIONSHIP

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MCCORKLE MAKES HIS MARK: Todd McCorkle will have the opportunity to play a great deal of Championship golf over the course of the next few months.

A PGA assistant professional at Old Overton Club in Vestavia, Ala., McCorkle qualified for the Senior PGA Professional National Championship in October, which had to be rescheduled to April 2014 because of heavy rain in Northern Virginia, and will tee it up beginning Thursday in the 2013 PGA Assistant Championship.

McCorkle, 50, won the Dixie PGA Section Senior PGA Professional Championship and finished second in the Dixie PGA Section Assistant Championship to qualify for the respective National Championships.

He also recently qualified through the Dixie PGA Section for the 2014 PGA Professional National Championship, to be held, June 22-25, in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

BENSEL A LONE WOLF: Frank Bensel, a PGA assistant professional at Century Country Club in Purchase, N.Y., is the only past champion in the 2013 field. Bensel won both the 2010 and 2011 Championships, becoming just the third player to win in back-to-back years.

Bensel's final-round 66 in 2011 tied the lowest final-round score in Championship history.  Kirk Satterfield of Manhassett, N.Y., accomplished the feat in 2004, while Kyle Flinton of Edmond, Okla., duplicated the score in 2006.

Bensel will also look to become just the second three-time winner of the PGA Assistant Championship. Kyle Flinton of Edmond, Okla., captured titles in 2002, '03 and '05.

Jim Schuman of Verona, Wis., and Darrell Kestner of Glen Cove, N.Y., also have two titles apiece.

GRIER LOOKING TO MAKE HISTORY: Ashley Grier, who is already making history by becoming the first female to compete in the Championship since 2011, will look to make a little more when she tees it up beginning Thursday at 8:54 a.m. ET.

Grier, PGA apprentice at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Md., is the first female to compete in the Championship since Stephany Fleet of Muskegon, Mich. It will be Grier’s inaugural appearance in the National Championship.

In 2010, Karen Paolozzi of Twinsburg, Ohio, tied for 10th place in the National Championship, marking the lowest finish by a woman professional or apprentice in the history of any PGA of America National Championship. The former Jennifer Heinz (now Borocz) of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., also made the cut in 2010.

STRONG LIST OF PAST PARTICIPANTS: For 37 years, the PGA Assistant Championship has featured a field of outstanding PGA Professionals who have gone onto successful careers in teaching and administering the game, as well as competing at the highest level.

Past competitors or champions who went on to Tour prominence include: Loren Roberts (Champion, 1979); Fred Funk (Champion, 1984); and Rich Beem (third, 1998).

Roberts has 26 professional wins including eight on the PGA Tour; Funk has 22 professional wins that also includes eight on the PGA Tour; while Beem has five professional wins, with the biggest a major championship at the 2002 PGA Championship.