6 things to know heading into 50th PGA Professional Championship

PGA Professional Championship
PGA of America
The 50th PGA Professional Championship kicks off Sunday from Sunriver Resort in Oregon.
By
John Dever
PGA of America

Series: PGA

Published: Saturday, June 17, 2017 | 7:20 p.m.

LOOKING BACK 50 YEARS, PREPARING FOR SUNDAY
The inaugural PGA Professional Championship, Dec. 5-8, 1968, was conducted at Century Country Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. There were 207 starters in the field 50 years ago, with 28-year-old Howell Fraser of West Caldwell, New Jersey, winning the Championship by four strokes over former PGA Champion Bob Rosburg and Chuck Malchaski. Fraser, who passed away in 2016, remains the event’s youngest Champion at 28 years, 9 months, 7 days.

Defending Champion Rich Berberian Jr. of Hooksett, New Hampshire, is the second youngest at 28 years, 9 months, 22 days. Berberian will compete Sunday in a field of 312 starters at Sunriver Resort, for a total purse of $600,000. The purse was $50,000 in 1968.

RELATED: 312-player field | Photo gallery

NO TRISKAIDEKAPHOBIA AT SUN RIVER
The 312-player field this week at Sunriver (Ore.) Resort will include 13 former PGA Professional Champions, including last year’s winner, Rich Berberian Jr., who won by a single stroke at Turning Stone Resort Casino via a winding 33-foot birdie putt on 72nd hole. Three of the 13 former Champions claimed their PPC victories at Crosswater Club: Wayne DeFrancesco (2001), Chip Sullivan (2007) and Rod Perry (2013). A closer look at the 13 Champions on site, and their 16 combined titles:

 

FORMER CHAMPIONS IN THE 2017 FIELD    
PLAYER CITY YEAR WON
Rich Berberian Jr. Hooksett, N.H. 2016
Michael Block Mission Viejo, Calif. 2014
Wayne DeFrancesco . Columbia, Md. 2001
Matt Dobyns Glen Head, N.Y. 2012, '15
Scott Hebert Traverse City, Mich. 2008
David Hutsell Lutherville, Md. 2011
Rod Perry Port Orange, Fla. 2013
Ron Philo Jr. Stowe, Vt. 2006
Jeff Roth Farmington, N.M. 1993
Steve Schneiter Sandy, Utah 1995
Mike Small Champaign, Ill. 2005, '09, '10
Bob Sowards Dublin, Ohio 2004
Chip Sullivan Brandon, Miss. 2007


FAMILY CHAMPION LEGACY
Rich Berberian Jr. is one of five players who is the son of a PGA Professional and went on to capture a PGA Professional Championship. Joining Berberian in that group are: Jay Lumpkin (1987); Steve Schneiter (1995); Mike Burke Jr. (1998); and Ron Philo Jr. (2006).

JUNIOR TO SENIOR
Adam Schumacher of Evanston, Illinois, is the youngest in the 312-player field at age 26, while Roy Vucinich of Moon Township, Pennsylvania the oldest entrant at age 70.

VICK HANDLED PRESSURE WELL BEFORE CHAMPIONSHIP GOLF
Matt Vick of Pinehurst, North Carolina, the PGA Head Professional at Pinehurst Nos. 7 and 9, was a former All-America placekicker at Tennessee-Chattanooga. He kicked the winning field goal in 2000 to beat then-No. 6 ranked Appalachian State.

BERBERIAN JR. AND LARDON RECEIVE 2016 PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARDS
On Friday night at Sunriver, defending PGA Professional National Champion Rich Berberian Jr. of Hooksett, N.H. and Brad Lardon of Santa Fe, N.M. received their respective 2016 OMEGA PGA Professional and Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year awards. Berberian’s first career PGA Professional Player of the Year Award was the second captured by a member of the New England PGA Section (Mike San Filippo, 1993). Lardon, meanwhile, became the first member of the Sun Country PGA Section to earn a player-of-the-year citation in any division.