PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (November 13, 2018) - The 42nd edition of the National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship is set to tee off on Thursday, November 15, at PGA Golf Club’s Wanamaker Course.
A field of 132 players will compete in the four-day, 72-hole event that concludes on Sunday, November 18. PGA Assistant Professionals and all registered associates attempted to earn berths through their local PGA Sections. The field includes all 41 Assistant PGA Professional Section champions.
Returning to defend his title is Ryan Zylstra, who recently moved from Richmond, Virginia, to Naples, Florida, where he is now a PGA Assistant Professional at Calusa Pines Golf Club. Last year, Zylstra won by a shot at PGA Golf Club, capping off a season that included 13 victories and the birth of his first child.
“It’s always nice to go back to a venue where you’ve had success. It brings back a lot of good memories and feelings,” said Zylstra. “It’s an honor to play against so many great players as we can all appreciate how hard it is to qualify for this Championship based on the responsibilities we have at our respective clubs.
“My new boss, Mike Balliet, has shown tremendous support and encouragement to me in the weeks leading up to the Championship. I’m ready to defend my title.”
The field is highlighted by three-time winner (2010, ’11, ’13) Frank Bensel of Jupiter, Florida, and last year’s runner-up, Derek Berg of Duvall, Washington. Bensel will be joined by fellow past champion Andy Mickelson (2015) of Lockport, Illinois.
Also competing is Dan Olsen of Robinson, Illinois. Olsen returns to PGA Golf Club less than three weeks after a strong performance in the Senior PGA Professional Championship. Olsen held at least a share of the lead through the first three rounds but struggled in the final round en route to a T-5 finish.
This week’s champion, if eligible, will earn a berth in the 2019 PGA Professional Championship, which is slated for April 28-May 1 at Belfair in Bluffton, South Carolina. The winner will also receive $12,000 of the $150,000 purse.
The top-four finishers, if eligible, will earn a berth in next year’s National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship, to be held November 14-17 at PGA Golf Club.