Domenico Geminiani Wins 2022 National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship
By Craig Dolch
Winner, Domenico Geminiani poses for a photo with the 2022 National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship Trophy at PGA Golf Club on Sunday, November 20, 2022.
Domenico Geminiani showed he can take a punch Sunday and keep on smiling.
Geminiani made four consecutive bogeys to lose a five-shot lead, but responded with a pair of birdies for a three-shot victory in the National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship supported by Srixon/Cleveland Golf/XXIO/Asics.
Geminiani shot a 1-over 73 on the Wanamaker Course to win by three over Brian Bergstol and Riley Wheeldon in windy, rainy conditions at PGA Golf Club. Playing in his first Assistant PGA Professional Championship, Geminiani finished at 6-under 282 to earn the $12,000 first prize.
“I was hitting it really well but there’s going to be times on this course, especially in these conditions, where it’s going to be tough,” said Geminiani, who works at Old Corkscrew Golf Club in the South Florida PGA. “It’s never easy to win a four-day tournament.”
Geminiani started the final round with a two-shot lead over Bergstol, thanks to playing his final four holes at five-under Saturday, and extended his advantage to five with birdies on the first and sixth holes.
But starting at the ninth hole, Geminiani made four consecutive bogeys. When Bergstol birdied the 12th, they were tied.
“Those are tough holes,” Geminiani said. “I felt my game was still there. I was just trying to have fun, but that’s easier said than done, especially when you lose a five-shot lead.”
As quickly as Geminiani lost the lead, he regained it when Bergstol three-putted the par-5 13th for bogey after his third shot barely cleared a greenside bunker. Geminiani extended his lead to three when he birdied the 14th after hitting it close and Bergstol made a good bogey after hitting his drive into the trees.
“I made a mistake at the 13th when I hit it into a fairway bunker and tried to hit my second shot near the green,” said Bergstol from the Shawnee Inn & Golf Resort in the Philadelphia PGA. “In hindsight, I should have laid up.”
It marked the second consecutive runner-up finish for Bergstol, who bogeyed the 18th to share second with Wheeldon of Desert Forest Golf Club in the Southwest PGA.
“I’ll take that finish every time. At the end of the day, it’s a job and I’m here to make money,” said Bergstol, who earned $8,450. “But this is the second year in a row where I had to make a run in the middle of the round. I’m going to have to learn how to start faster.”
Andy Svoboda, the 36-hole leader from Engineers Country Club in the Metropolitan PGA, shot 73 and tied for fourth with Zac Oakley (72) of Bidermann Golf Club in the Philadelphia PGA. Only seven players broke par for the week.
Geminiani turned pro a decade ago when he was 16. He was born in St. Martinique, lived with his mom in Saint Lucia and his father in Bradenton. He started working at Old Corkscrew earlier this year.
“I feel Italian even though I was not born there,” Geminiani said. “It’s been a long road since I turned pro.”
That road took him to an Assistant PGA Professional Championship title Sunday.