2013 champions dinner at the pga professional national championship

11 past champions gathered for the 2013 Champions Dinner at Sunriver.

Dobyns serves lucky menu at Champions Dinner

By Bob Denney, The PGA of America 

SUNRIVER, Ore. – Defending PGA Professional National Champion Matt Dobyns of Glen Head, N.Y., host of the annual Champions’ Dinner Saturday at Crosswater Club, was overcome by the attention he received after his record-breaking, eight-stroke victory a year ago in the showcase event for PGA Professionals. Dobyns also revealed that food had something to do with what he called “a win of a lifetime.”

Dobyns, 35, the PGA head professional at Fresh Meadow Country Club in Lake Success, N.Y., said he frequented the local Chili’s Restaurant daily during the Championship at Bayonet Blackhorse in Seaside, Calif. He chose a take-out order of barbeque ribs and salmon, the latter choice he said was “an attempt to keep it healthy at least in part.”

“I was exhausted by the time I got to the West Coast, and too tired to go out for dinner,” said Dobyns, the seventh Metropolitan PGA member to win the National Championship. “So, I called in take-out from the restaurant next to my hotel. The next day I went out and shot 68. I went back the next night, ordered the same entrée and shot another 68. I said to myself, ‘After all these years, it really can’t be this easy.’ The third round I went out and had a hole-in-one and an eagle. There was a woman working at the restaurant who recognized me and I didn’t have to spend time ordering.”

Dobyns’ 2012 routine menu of barbeque ribs and salmon, he said, was an easy choice when asked to pick the cuisine for Saturday’s Champions’ Dinner menu. “I was confident that the chef at Crosswater would do an even greater job and have tastier versions of what I selected last year,” said Dobyns. “Maybe it will lead us to many birdies this week.”

The Champions’ Dinner guests featured 11 past Champions, including Darrell Kestner, 59, winner of the 1996 Championship. who mentored Dobyns, from apprentice to assistant professional from 2009 to 2011, at Deepdale Golf Club in Manhasset, N.Y. “I would not be here today if not for Darrell Kestner, and his wife, Margie,” said Dobyns.

Dobyns is in his second season as a PGA head professional, and he and his wife, Laurie, are parents to a 20-month-old daughter, Kaitlyn. Dobyns said that his wife repeatedly encouraged him over a two-month period to be confident that his staff would handle his taking a week off last year to compete in the National Championship.

“That was an ongoing conversation, and I finally gave in and decided that I would be able to attend and that all would be well at the club while I was away,” said Dobyns. “My wife has handled the time sacrifices and all that goes into being married to a PGA Professional with grace, positivity and patience. Laurie, I love you.”

Dobyns said that he was “amazed at the enormity of this Championship.”

“It is truly an amazing undertaking by The PGA of America staff to host 312 players in something that the average person may never comprehend,” said Dobyns. “I am very proud to have my name on the Walter Hagen Cup, just as all of you seated here tonight who have won this Championship.”