SEASIDE, Calif. -- John DalCorobbo of Indianapolis, erasing demons of past tours of the Bayonet Course, fired a three-under-par 69 Sunday to grab the 27th Senior PGA Professional National Championship presented by Mercedes-Benz USA.
DalCorobbo, a 51-year-old PGA Assistant Professional at Brickyard Crossing in Speedway, Indiana, finished with a 72-hole total of 11-under-par 277, earning a first-place prize of $20,000. It was DalCorobbo’s first national crown, which came after holding off Jim Carter of Scottsdale, Arizona, who missed a tying 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th green. Carter finished with a 70 in his debut in the Championship.
SENIOR PGA PNC: Final-round scores, results | Sunday's photos
DalCorobbo had missed multiple opportunities to gain a berth into any major championship until Sunday.
“I’ve played in 14 PGA Professional Championships,” said DalCorobbo, who missed the cut in the 2012 PGA Professional Championship at Bayonet Black Horse. “To come here and do it here, to hang in there, have the atonement from 2012; and being from Speedway, it’s pretty cool.
“When you are in your 40s, you try to do everything you can to keep yourself in shape and work on your golf swing before you turn 50. Life throws you curves. You ask yourself, ‘Can I handle something that I’ve never done?”
DalCorobbo dueled the first 16 holes with playing partners Carter and 54-hole leader Brad Lardon of College Station, Texas. Carter held a one-stroke lead after nine holes before collecting birdies at 11 and 14 to share the lead. Meanwhile, Lardon rallied to 10-under through 15 holes.
DalCorobbo’s opening came at the 373-yard 16th hole, where Carter, a PGA Life Member, three-putted from 20 feet and Lardon double-bogeyed after failing to get up and down from hitting his approach into a patch of trees beyond the green.
Lardon’s closing 73 landed him into a tie for third at 280 with Tim Parun of San Diego, California, who had a 71. Steve Schneiter of Sandy, Utah (69) and Chris Starkjohann of Oceanside, California (72), shared fifth at 281.
“Today was everything you could do to focus on the shot at hand,” said DalCorobbo of his Championship run. “I’ve got a bad history on 12 through 13 here from 2012. “I got my break at 16 and then held on.”
Carter’s steady round became unhinged by his three-putt effort at 16, and then could not get up and down from a greenside bunker at 18.
“You’d like to give it a chance. It had so much break and I was thinking about the ocean. I did not want to leave it high. Then I kind of quit on it [the stroke] and left it a foot short. So, I was pretty mad, but these greens are so tough, they make you second guess yourself. He (DalCorobbo) hit some really fine shots on the back 9 and deserved to win. It was a strong performance by John.”
DalCorobbo methodically marched to victory by hitting a pair of solid shots at the par-5 18th hole, leaving himself a 42-yard pitch to the flagstick. He left his pitch 15 feet short for a reason. “There was no way in my life that I was going beyond that pin,” he said. “I tapped it in and I can’t believe that this is it.”
DalCorobbo now leads this week’s low 35 finishers into the 77th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, May 26-29, 2016, at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Michigan.