Pair of aces highlight first round of play in Southworth Senior PNC

By Bob Denney and Randy Stutzman
Published on

ALDIE, Va. -- Thursday's opening round of the 2012 Southworth Senior PGA Professional National Championship featured a pair of aces, with Gary Sowinski of Schererville, Ind., and Jeff Whitfield of Weldon Spring, Mo., each making a hole-in-one at Creighton Farms.

Sowinski, the PGA director of golf at Briar Ridge Country Club in Schererville, Ind., used a 5-iron from 199 yards on the par-3 17th hole, while Whitfield, the PGA general manager at Mid-Rivers Golf Complex in Saint Peters, Mo., used a 4-iron from 195 yards on the par-3 ninth hole.

"It was absolutely pure luck," said Sowinski, who made his sixth competitive hole-in-one . "The hole did not look very accessible and at first we couldn't tell if it had rolled off or went in the hole. But I took a look in the hole and there it was."

Whitfield, who finished in a tie for 29th in the 2011 edition of the Championship, made the ace on his final hole of the day.
"The ball hit right in front of the hole and hopped right in," said Whitfield, who posted his first ace in competition. "But we couldn't see it go in unfortunately. There were two guys on the back of the green who reacted pretty strongly so we knew something good had happened."
Sowinski opened the Championship with a 72, while Whitfield carded a 76.

The low 70 scorers and ties after Friday's second round advance to the weekend's final 36 holes at Creighton Farms.

The low 35 finishers will qualify for the 2013 Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Mo.

The top eight finishers, including ties, will receive exemptions into the 2013 Senior PGA Professional National Championship.

In addition, the top five finishers will be exempt into the Champions Tour National Finals at TPC Eagle Trace in Coral Springs, Fla., provided they have submitted an entry by the entry deadline.