PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Robert Thompson of Huntsville, Texas, and two former Chicago area PGA professionals earned top honors Jan. 4, in the 59th annual PGA Quarter Century Club Championship at PGA Golf Club.
Thompson, 55, PGA teaching professional at Whispering Pines Golf Club, was the low scorer among age groups 49 and younger through 60-64 on the Ryder Course, finishing at 11 under par 133 on rounds of 67-66. He won the 2010 Senior PGA Professional National Championship and played on the Champions Tour in 2009-10.
Steve Benson, 66, of Palm City shot 71-69—140 to set the pace for age groups 65-69 through 90 and older on the adjacent Dye Course. He had been the head professional at Hillcrest Country Club in Long Grove, Ill., for 27 years when he retired two years ago.
The Championship drew 152 entries from professionals who have been PGA of America members for at least 25 years.
Bill Erfurth, 83, of Northbrook, Ill., was low among nine who have been PGA members for 50 years or longer with 77-71—148, also on the Dye.
Coincidentally, Benson was introduced to golf in one of Erfurth’s junior programs at Lincolnshire Country Club in Crete, Ill., in the early-1960s. When he retired in 1983, Erfurth had been the head professional at Skokie Country Club in Glencoe, Ill., for 20 years.
Thompson and Benson each received a $1,500 bonus in addition to their age group earnings. The balance of the $42,100 purse was distributed across 10 age groups.
Thompson was the elder member of the winning team in the PGA Senior-Junior Championship in 2011. Benson won his first Quarter Century title in 2010. It was the third time in the four years he was eligible that Erfurth earned Half-Century honors.
The age group winners:
Ryder Course, 6,570 yards, par 72
Robert Thompson, Huntsville, Texas, $1,500 67-66—133
Thomas Mulka, Albion, N.Y., $550 74-73—147
Gene Fieger, Naples, $1,050 68-68—136
Robert Thompson, Huntsville, Texas, $1,350 67-66—133
James Mason, Dillard, Ga., $1,800 67-68—135
Dye Course, 6,217 yards, par 72
Steve Benson, Palm City, $1,500 71-69—140
Steve Benson, Palm City, $1,450 71-69—140
Lynn Rosely, Port St. Lucie, $1,200 72-70—142
Larry Mancour, Conway, Mich., $890 76-78—154
Bob Joyce, Southampton, N.Y., $890 73-81—154
Bill Erfurth, Northbrook, Ill., $850 77-71—148
Dye Course, 5,000 yards, par 72
Tom Talkington, Port St. Lucie, $550 74-77—151
Jack Wilkins, Chapel Hill, N.C., $300 99-92—191