Stop me if you heard this before: Ben Kern and Ben Cook win the PGA Four-Ball Stableford Team Championship over runners-up JC Anderson and Chad Proehl.
That’s what happened last year, and that’s what happened Tuesday at the PGA Golf Club.
On Groundhog Day, no less.
No, this wasn’t borrowing from the premise of the movie Groundhog Day, where Bill Murray lived out the same day over and over. In a field of more than 100 teams in the PGA Winter Championship event, the same two guys won the same tournament two years in a row with the same two guys finishing second.
That happens in golf about as often as making consecutive albatrosses.
“JC came up to me afterward and said, ‘You know what today is? It happened again,’” said Kern, the PGA Head Professional at Georgetown (Texas) Country Club. “It’s pretty rare to have that happen. We played with them the last two days and you can’t go to sleep against them. You can’t go to sleep against a lot of teams out here.”
Kern of Georgetown, Texas, and Cook of Caledonia, Mich., split the $10,000 first prize for the second consecutive year. They made six birdies for 12 points in the final round on the Ryder Course, finishing five ahead with 46. Anderson of Bonita Springs, Fla., and Proehl of Urbandale, Iowa, had 10 points to finish with 41. Cook and Kern won by seven points last year (51-44).
The winning Bens made it clear they were out to defend their title Sunday when they took the first-round lead with 21 points, thanks to 11 birdies and a bogey on the Dye Course. They had a one-point lead over – guess who? – Anderson and Proehl.
Kern and Cook maintained their lead with 13 points in the second round after making seven birdies and a bogey on the Ryder Course. Anderson and Proehl remained in second place, naturally, though they fell three points back after earning 11.
That set up Tuesday’s final round on the Ryder Course played in cold, windy conditions. Kern and Cook had four birdies on the first six holes to extend their lead. A birdie at the ninth gave them a five-point lead at the turn, which they maintained as both teams made eight pars and a birdie on the back nine.
“It’s very special to defend the title in a tournament like this,” said Kern, who teamed with Bob Sowards to win the PGA Senior-Junior Team Championship two weeks ago. “I’m playing really well right now. I’m in a nice rhythm. I’m getting more comfortable on these courses (at PGA Golf Club). I’m trying to get ready for the PGA Professional Championship here in April.”
Tyler Collet of Vero Beach, Fla., and Sam Brackett of Hanover, N.H., birdied the 18th hole to finish alone in third with 38 points.
Micah Rudosky of Cortez, Colo., and Michael Zaremba of Pueblo West, Colo., made Tuesday’s biggest move, scoring 18 points to vault into a fourth-place tie at 37 with Mitchell Camp (11) of Aurora, Ohio, and Gary Robison of North Canton, Ohio, and John Pillar (12) of Hawley, Pa., and Parks Price of York, Pa.
The PGA Winter Championships are presented by GolfPass and PrimeSport.