PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – PGA Professional Champion Rich Berberian Jr. of Hooksett, New Hampshire, and Brad Lardon of Santa Fe, New Mexico, have won the respective 2016 OMEGA PGA Professional and Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year awards.
The twosome will be honored on Friday, June 19, at the 50th PGA Professional Championship at Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Oregon.
Berberian, 29, a PGA Assistant Professional at Windham Country Club in Derry, New Hampshire, secured his first PGA Professional Player of the Year Award. In June, Berberian won the 2016 PGA Professional Championship at Turning Stone Resort in Verona, New York and went on to claim New England PGA Player of the Year honors.
Berberian finished with 945 total points, while two-time PGA Professional Champion Matt Dobyns of Glen Head, New York, was runner-up with 873.988, and Rod Perry of Port Orange, Florida third with 867.5. Berberian joined Mike San Filippo (1993) as the only New England PGA Members to capture the national award.
Propelling Berberian to the award, he was quick to confirm, was his making a 33-foot uphill right-to-left birdie putt on the 18th green, June 29, to win the PGA Professional Championship. He has seen countless video replays, and a putt, he said, “that keeps getting longer.”
“It’s the reason I won Player of the Year,” said Berberian. “That putt doesn’t go in, who knows what happens in the playoff? That putt was a heckuva lot more than winning a tournament. It was winning the year. It was great for my confidence, that I could be able to stick it out when things are not going so great; to be able to stay strong, keep fighting and that anything can happen.”
“I’m glad that I have this (PGA Professional Player of the Year Award). This was a race that became very tight at the end. I may not have the chance to win it again.”
Lardon, a 51-year-old PGA Director of Golf at Las Campanas in Santa Fe, New Mexico, won his first Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year Award and became the first Sun Country PGA Member to claim the national honor. Lardon had spent nearly 23 years in the Southern Texas PGA Section before assuming his duties July 1 at Las Campanas.
This past season, Lardon finished with 819.833 points based upon finishing tied for 13th in the 2016 PGA Professional Championship; tying for fourth in the Senior PGA Professional Championship and capturing the Sun Country PGA Championship and Section PGA Professional Championship. Rick Schuller of Chester, Virginia, was runner-up with 752.75 points; followed by Mike Small of Champaign, Illinois (712.333); and Mark Brown of Oyster Bay, New York (687.3).
Despite his splitting his year by moving to a new job, Lardon was third in the Section Player of the Year point races in the Southern Texas and Sun Country PGA Sections.
“It feels incredibly good to win this award,” said Lardon. “I tried to start the year working to be the best player in the country. To get it done is great. This has to be the best year of my career.
“What made the journey even better was having great support from my previous employer, Rene Rangel of Sterling Golf, and then to have my new employers behind me at Las Campanas - Doug Hailey, the chair of the Search Committee; Club President Mike Everett and General Manager/COO Al Antonez. They told me to get out and go play and represent the club at a national level. To have those combined folks on your side made it very special.”
The final PGA Professional and Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year standings were determined based on a point system involving national and PGA Section competitions from Jan. 1 through Dec. 16, 2016.
2016 PGA Professional Player of the Year Standings (through 12/19/16)
(Name, PGA Section, Total Points)
1. Rich Berberian Jr., Hooksett, N.H. New England 945.000
2. Matt Dobyns, Glen Head, N.Y. Metropolitan 873.988
3. Rod Perry, Port Orange, Fla. North Florida 867.500
4. Adam Rainaud, South Hadley, Mass. Connecticut 847.500
5. Ryan Helminen, Menasha, Wis. Wisconsin 793.750
6. Alan Morin, Royal Palm Beach, Fla. South Florida 708.167
7. Omar Uresti, Austin, Texas Southern Texas 681.329
8. Scott Hebert, Traverse City, Mich. Michigan 680.000
9. Rob Labritz, Pound Ridge, N.Y. Metropolitan 656.250
10. Brad Lardon, Santa Fe, N.M. Sun Country 617.500
2016 Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year Standings (through 12/19/16)
(Name, PGA Section, Total Points)
1. Brad Lardon, Santa Fe, N.M. Sun Country 819.833
2. Rick Schuller, Chester, Va. Middle Atlantic 752.750
3. Mike Small, Champaign, Ill. Illinois 712.333
4. Mark Brown, Oyster Bay, N.Y. Metropolitan 687.300
5. Todd McCorkle, Birmingham, Ala. Dixie 589.667
6. Kirk Stauffer, Bradford, Pa. Western New York 560.500
7. Don Berry, Rogers, Minn. Minnesota 534.833
8. Rob Wilkin, Olathe, Kan. Midwest 500.000
9. Steve Schneiter, Sandy, Utah Utah 469.129
10. Chris Kaufman, Coral Springs, Fla. South Florida 432.500