Ben Polland wins Assistant PGA Professional Championship

By Pat Kravitz
Published on
Ben Polland wins Assistant PGA Professional Championship

Port St. Lucie, Florida (October 30, 2016) – On a day where the leaderboard shuffled like the Port St. Lucie wind, one player’s name stands alone at the top: Ben Polland of Deepdale Golf Club in Manhasset, New York.

Polland carded a final-round 69 to capture the 40th National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship, which was held at the Wanamaker Course at PGA Golf Club.

“It’s a big win for me. It’s a tournament that two of my great mentors have won. Darrell Kestner won in 1982 and 1987 and Kirk Satterfield won in 2004,” he said. “Those guys have been instrumental in my career as a PGA Professional and it feels good to be right alongside them.”

A Campbell University PGA Golf Management program 2012 graduate, Polland, who finished the week at -7, missed just two greens in regulation on the weekend, which he considers his “recipe for playing well.”

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Today was far from a walk in the park for Polland, though. The highly-contested final round witnessed several players climb to the top of the leaderboard at various points on Sunday. Still, Polland was able to hang on.

“I knew there were going to be a lot of birdies today. Guys were playing aggressive since it was the last day,” he explained. “My approach was to keep the ball in front of me since it was another windy day. I was really just trying to play my own game.”

Among those in pursuit of Polland were defending champion Andy Mickelson (Lockport, Illinois), Shawn Warren (Orlando, Florida) and Danny Lewis, the Morrow, Ohio resident who led after 54 holes. Each finished one stroke behind Polland at -6 for the week.

Over his final four holes for each round, Polland, who has competed in the past two PGA Championships, scored a combined 7-under with five birdies and one eagle. Polland’s closer-like mentality provided a strong contribution towards his victory.

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Polland has earned a berth in the PGA Professional Championship, to be played at Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Oregon on June 18-21, 2017. Additionally, Warren, Mickelson and Lewis are each exempt into next year’s National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship.

Polland was a vital member of the victorious Campbell University 2012 PGA Jones Cup team that won by 17 strokes.

10 players in the field finished under-par for the week.

Blake Brookman (T63), John Cassidy (T19), Corey McAlarney (T15) and Warren joined Polland with the low final-round score of 69.

The par-3 11th played the toughest this week with an average score of 3.467, while the par-5 16th ranked the easiest (4.624).

18 of the 78 players (23%) broke par on Sunday.

Warren was the only player to break par in each round.

Brittany Kelly (Indianapolis, Indiana) and Joanna Coe (Baltimore, Maryland), the two women remaining in the field, shot 77 and 70 on Sunday. Kelly finished in a tie for 46th place, while Coe finished T25.

Past champions in the field include:
Chris Moody of Provo, Utah (2007): 78-72-71-74 (+7)…T38
Grant Sturgeon of Port Chester, New York (2014): 76-73-76-75 (+12)…T59
Andy Mickelson of Lockport, Illinois (2015): 74-69-68-71 (-6)…T2