David Hronek’s 64 Leads 2022 Senior PGA Professional Championship
David Hronek hits his shot from a bunker on the sixth hole during the third round of the 33rd Senior PGA Professional Championship held at the PGA Golf Club on October 23, 2021 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Montana Pritchard/PGA of America)
The hunt for a spot in the first major championship to be hosted at Fields Ranch East at PGA Frisco got underway Thursday.
When the temperatures warmed after a cool morning wave in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico, it was David Hronek—a GOLFTEC Sarasota coach from the North Florida PGA Section—with a one-shot lead at the 2022 Senior PGA Professional Championship presented by Cadillac at Twin Warriors & Santa Ana Golf Clubs.
Hronek’s bogey-free round with eight birdies carried him to an 8-under 64, tying the lowest first-round score in the history of the championship.
“I drove it really well and I made a couple of par putts on the first three holes to keep my round going out of the gate,” Hronek said. “I hit it really solid all day. No real bogey opportunities. I just drove it really really well.”
Hronek posted the low score on the Santa Ana course. Todd Sapere and Steve Schneiter share second after shooting 7-under 65s on the Twin Warriors course.
“The course (Santa Ana) was great,” Hronek said. “The key was keeping the ball in the fairway. The roughs are really thick. The greens are a little firmer over here. Just putting the ball on the right spots around the greens, stay below the hole as much as you can. That was my game plan today, try to keep myself below the hole and keep the ball in the fairways off the tee. I knew I was hitting my irons pretty well. I’ve been putting pretty well all year and my putter really worked today.”
Sapere, the head professional at Ohoopee Match Club in Cobbtown, Georgia was two-under par on the back nine (his front), but upon making the turn he eagled the first hole then bagged birdies on four of the next five.
Schneiter, an assistant professional representing the Utah section from Schneiter’s Pebblebrook, used a late tee time to shake up the leaderboard at the end of the day. His bogey-free round included five birdies and an eagle on the par-3 11th hole.
Cameron Doan, the Director of Golf at Preston Trail Golf Club in Dallas, Texas, sits fourth after shooting 6-under par 66. Brad Lardon, the Director of Golf at The Club at Las Campanas in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is fifth after carding a 5-under 67. Both played the Santa Ana course Thursday.
The second round gets under way at 7:40 a.m. (MT) Friday with groups again teeing off on both the Twin Warriors and Santa Ana courses. A cut to the low-90 scorers and ties will be made after the round. Following Saturday’s round, a second cut will be made to the low-70 scorers and ties. The third and final rounds will be played on the Twin Warriors Course.
In addition to the Leo Fraser Trophy, named after the 16th president of the PGA of America, players are competing for a $318,000 purse, including the winner’s share of $26,000.
The low 35 scorers also earn a spot in the 2023 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Fields Ranch East at PGA Frisco in Frisco, Texas, May 24-28, 2023—the first major to be contested at the new Home of the PGA of America.
The 2022 Senior PGA Professional Championship is the first of three PGA of America events to be staged at Twin Warriors over the next seven months. The 2022 Women’s PGA Cup will take place Oct. 25-29, and the 2023 PGA Professional Championship is scheduled for Apr. 30-May 3. Twin Warriors has previously hosted a variety of notable events, including the PGA Professional Championship in 2003 and 2009.
Santa Fe’s Brad Lardon’s Comeback Story
Brad Lardon, Director of Golf at Las Campanas in Santa Fe, New Mexico, continued his hot play of the last few months. He’s already won three Section Majors this season: the Sun Country PGA Senior Section Championship (at Twin Warriors), the Sun Country PGA Section Championship and the Senior New Mexico Open.
All the while, Lardon has been eyeing the 2022 Senior PGA Professional Championship with hopes of making it to the 2023 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. His 5-under 67 topped the leaderboard in the morning wave.
“I was really targeting this tournament about a year ago,” Lardon said. “Two years ago, I had a huge surgery. I really tore up my shoulder. I had three big tears in my rotator cuff and reattached a bicep. I had lost about a year and a half of golf basically. I was supposed to be in the Senior PGA at Southern Hills a couple of years ago, but I had to withdraw. My shoulder wasn’t ready after the surgery. Basically I lost all my exempt status into everything. I really focused on the ability to play healthy. So getting to this championship and getting to Frisco has been a goal for a year.”
Lardon already has plenty of Texas ties. He’s a graduate of Rice University in Houston, helped open two private clubs in the hill country in Austin—Austin Golf Club and Escondido Lake and Golf Club—and three of his four children still live in the state.
But since moving to Santa Fe in July 2016, he’s been happily representing The Club at Las Campanas and the Sun Country section.
“My wife and I really enjoy Santa Fe and Las Campanas,” Lardon said. “The club’s been very supportive. It’s hard to find time to keep your game up. When I get in something, they let me go play. To have the opportunity to represent the club and section is definitely very meaningful to me.”
Texan Cameron Doan Eyes Home Game at PGA Frisco; Groupmate Michael Zaremba shoots Age
Silver City, New Mexico, native Cameron Doan, the current Director of Golf at Preston Trail Golf Club in Dallas, Texas, played well in his return to his home state.
“It was probably 45, 50 degrees when we teed up,” Doan said of Santa Ana. “The ball wasn’t going very far early. The golf course is in really good shape, the greens are really smooth. I drove it in play early, made a 30 footer on the second hole, a six footer on the fifth hole for birdie, and I was off and running. I managed to keep the ball in front of me all day, never really got it out of position. I putted pretty well.”
Indeed he did. Doan racked up seven birdies in the first round on his way to a 6-under 66 that presently has him in the top five. He’s eyeing a spot among the 35 senior Professionals who will advance to the 2023 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship next May.
“It would be pretty cool to be a part of the first event (at PGA Frisco) and for it to be a home game, so to speak,” Doan said. “That’s the obvious goal. Anything above that would be gravy.
“I played the (PGA Frisco) East Course with Northern Section Members back in May. It’s a really cool place. I was telling the two guys I played with today—Michael Zaremba and Mark Brown—about it. I had asked if they heard anything and they said they hadn’t. I said if I could tell you anything, whenever you make your first visit, you’re going to be very proud of it being a PGA member and that’s home. It’s really a cool place.”
Zaremba, the Director of Golf at Desert Hawk at Pueblo West in Pueblo West, Colorado, shot his age Thursday, a 3-under 69 that puts him in a tie for 11th.
“He and I played together a lot back in the ‘90s when I was at El Paso Country Club,” Doan said of Zaremba. “I think this was the first time we’ve played together since then. He was solid. Seeing a guy shoot his age in a major, I don’t think it’s ever happened before or not; if it has, I bet it hasn’t happened very often. Pretty neat.”