Southworth Senior PNC Notebook: Championship returns to Virginia

By Randy Stutzman
Published on

ALDIE, Va. -- For the second consecutive year, Creighton Farms in Aldie, Va., and River Creek Club in Leesburg, Va, will host the 24th Southworth Senior PGA Professional National Championship presented by Mercedes-Benz USA, a national championship for 264 PGA Professionals who are at least 50 years of age. The 72-hole Championship opens Thursday and concludes Sunday.

The field features PGA Professionals who have qualified through one of the 41 PGA Sections. 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.

LOOKING TO MAKE HISTORY: Kirk Hanefeld, the PGA Director of Instruction at Renaissance Golf Club in Haverhill, Mass., is seeking to become the first three-time winner of the Southworth Senior PGA Professional National Championship.

Hanefeld, who also won the title in 2008, will try and separate himself from four others; Mike San Filippo of Hobe Sound, Fla. (2002, '05), Ed Sabo of Tequesta, Fla. (2000, '01) Roger Kennedy of Pompano Beach, Fla. (1992, 1994) and Tom Joyce of Huntington, N.Y. (1990, '91), who have each won twice.

Sabo, San Filippo and Joyce also are in the field this week. Joyce, 72, is the oldest member of the field and making his 19th appearance in the Championship. In addition to his victories in 1990 and '91, Joyce was runner-up in 1993 and '96, and was fourth in 1994.

OH BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?: Daniel Thore of Reidsville, N.C., and David Thore of Wilmington, N.C., are the only brother duo in this week's Championship, and competing together for the first time in a PGA of America national championship. David, a 58-year-old PGA Life Member, is making his fourth appearance, and tied for sixth in 2009. David has competed in six PGA Professional National Championships since 1987, along with six major championships and two Senior PGA Championships. Daniel, 50, makes his debut after appearing in two PGA Professional National Championships (1998 and 2010), and serves as a PGA Professional at Dick's Sporting Goods in Danville, Va.

IN RARE COMPANY: The state of Virginia is only the third state to host the Senior PGA Professional National Championship. From 1989 through 2007 the Championship was played at various facilities in Florida including: PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, and Ibis Golf Country Club.

In 2008 and 2010, the Championship was hosted in California. In 2008, it was played at Toscana Country Club in Indian Wells and Andalusia Country Club in La Quinta, Calif. In 2010, the Championship was contested at Toscana Country Club and Rancho La Quinta Country Club in La Quinta, Calif.

In 2009, the Championship returned to PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

WHAT THEY’RE PLAYING FOR: In addition to exemptions into the 74th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid and the 2013 PGA Professional National Championship, the Senior PGA Professional National Champion will have his name inscribed on the Leo Fraser Trophy. It was named in honor of the 16th president of The PGA of America, a member of the Philadelphia PGA Section, who served as PGA President from 1969-70.

Fraser, who died in 1986, three years before the Championship debuted, was one of the most energetic leaders in the Association. A licensed pilot, Fraser traveled nationwide to meet PGA Professionals in an effort to advance many programs to benefit his fellow members. The crystal spire trophy named in his honor measures 16 inches high and weighs five pounds.

The National Champion will also received $20,000 from a total purse of $285,000.

ABOUT THE HOST SITES: Creighton Farms, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Design that opened in 2008, is a par-72, 7,410-yard layout. It was one of two private courses in the world to achieve recognition by Golf Digest, Golf Magazine and Travel and Leisure Golf in the same season.

In 2009, Golfweek selected Creighton Farms among its "Best New Private Golf Courses." Creighton Farms reflects the Nicklaus trademark of a challenging design, focusing on course management strategy and precision rather than power.

River Creek Club is a challenging, 7,036-yard, par-72 layout, was designed by Ault, Clark & Associates, with Tom Clark of Marshall, Va., as the lead architect. River Creek Club made its debut in 1997 as one of three golf courses nestled on the Potomac River, and bears challenging, large undulating greens as its signature and most prominent set of challenges.