The 2021 National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship begins Thursday at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie. The four-day, 72-hole event will be contested at PGA Golf Club for a 26th consecutive year since it debuted on Florida’s Treasure Coast in 1996.
While the 2020 Champion, Gunner Wiebe, will not be present to defend his title, the field of 132 will include three-time winner Frank Bensel (2010, ‘11, ‘13) from Purchase, New York, 2016 Champion Ben Polland from Jackson, Wyoming and last year’s runner-up, Jin Chung of Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Bensel returns to the Wanamaker Course, where in late April, he finished runner-up by three shots to Omar Uresti in the 2021 PGA Professional Championship.
“The (Assistants PGA Professional Championship) is a great event and I am always grateful to compete against some of the best Club Professionals in the country,” said Bensel, who has been competing inm PGA of America events on PGA Golf Club’s Wanamaker Course since it opened in 1996. “I am proud to have won this event three times and to represent the Metropolitain (PGA) Section, which always has a strong group of players in this field. I love the venue here at PGA Golf Club and am excited to get the (Championship) started.”
Every player will compete on the Wanamaker Course on Thursday and Friday, to be followed by a cut to the low 70 scorers and ties for the weekend.
The field of 132 will include PGA Assistant Professionals (A-8 membership classification) or registered Associates that earned berths through their local PGA Sections. The final field is composed of the 41 PGA Section assistant champions and the top four finishers from the 2020 Championship, if eligible.
Bensel, Polland and Chung highlight a field which will include players from 40 states, led by 13 Floridians, nine New Yorkers and eight Californians. They will compete for a $150,000 purse including the winner’s share of $12,000.
Past competitors or champions who have gone on to careers on the PGA and Korn Ferry Tours include: Loren Roberts (Champion, 1979), Fred Funk (Champion, 1984), Rich Beem (third, 1998), Jeff Freeman (T-7, 1998), Robert Thompson (Champion, 1986) and Tim Thelen (Champion, 2009).
PGA Golf Club ー the PGA of America’s premier 54-hole facility ー hosts multiple PGA Member championships annually, such as the National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship, Senior PGA Professional Championship (biennially) and the PGA's Tournament Series and Winter Championships.