It all came down to the back nine on Sunday at the 2010 Callaway Golf PGA Assistant Championship.
Adam Rainaud, PGA apprentice at Black Hall Club in Old Lyme, Conn., who was a stroke back of eventual winner Frank Bensel of Purchase, N.Y., heading into the final round, took the lead with birdies on Nos. 1, 2 and 7.
"I really started out well on Championship Sunday," said Rainaud. "I have heard how great a player he [Bensel] is and I knew I needed to sprint out of the gate."
But Bensel, PGA assistant professional at Century Country Club in Purchase, N.Y., came back with birdies on Nos. 8 and 9 to tie for the lead, and followed those up with birdies at 12 and 14 to take the lead for good.
"Frank [Bensel] just played unreal the last 10 or 12 holes," said Rainaud, who will be competing in just his second PGA Assistant Championship. "I knew after taking the lead that he was going to make a run. I just ran out of steam and couldn't keep up."
The Massachusetts native has continued to play well, finishing in a tie for third at the 2011 Massachusetts Open in June.
"I have continued to play well over the past year and the [PGA] Assistant Championship was certainly a springboard for that," said Rainaud. "It will be good to get out of the snow storms up north and play some golf."
Rainaud has recently finished up his stint at the Black Hall Club for the season and will now spend the next 5 ½ months in South Florida playing in tournaments and working as an assistant professional at Lost Tree Club in North Palm Beach, Fla.
"We had a good year [at the Black Hall Club] and I am looking forward to being down in South Florida," said Rainaud. "This is the best tournament we play all year and the course is unbelievable. I am looking forward to coming back and competing."
The 2011 Callaway Golf PGA Assistant Championship will celebrate its 35th edition beginning Thursday at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
The Championship features 126 PGA assistant professionals and apprentices. The format was changed in 2010 to include the top-4 finishers from last year's Championship as well as 122 players who advanced through their Section Championship.
Following the first 36 holes of play, the field will be reduced to the low 70 scorers and ties for the final two rounds.
Callaway Golf returns as the title sponsor for the third consecutive year.
At stake, provided the Champion meets eligibility requirements, is a coveted spot in the 45th PGA Professional National Championship presented by Club Car and Mercedes-Benz, June 24-27, 2012, at Bayonet and Black Horse in Seaside, Calif.
Additionally, the top 10 finishers and ties earn a berth into the first stage of the 2012 PGA Tour Qualifying School.
The PGA Assistant Championship will continue a tradition of excellence in bringing together some of the most talented players in The PGA of America as well as being models of the caliber of members who make up the world's largest working sports organization.
Past champions include former Ryder Cup Team members Fred Funk and Loren Roberts, and past PGA Professional National Champions Darrell Kestner, Tim Thelen and Bruce Zabriski. Rich Beem, the 2002 PGA Champion, finished in a tie for third in 1998.
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