Category - Member Events
Five Things to Know on Moving Day of the 2023 PGA Professional Championship
By Ryan Adams, PGA
(Darren Carroll/PGA of America)
Who’s extending their stay in New Mexico, and who’s going home?
Those are the questions currently at the 2023 PGA Professional Championship, where 312 PGA Professionals are competing for low 70 spots and ties to make it to Round 3.
There was plenty of leaderboard shuffling throughout the day at both courses as well as some impressive performances. Here’s what else you need to know as Day 3 is underway:
Kern rides six-birdie barrage to second round 68 and pole position
Sometimes, all you need is a spark. For Ben Kern, that was a tricky putt on the par-3 ninth from just off the green at Twin Warriors. What could’ve gotten stuck in some precarious rough rolled through smoothly and into the cup for birdie, igniting a birdie roll for Kern. “It was the firestarter,” added Kern. “I started hitting fairways and greens and rolling in ten footers.” The ninth hole birdie was one of six in Round 2, and it gave Kern, who is the PGA General Manager at Hickory Hills Golf Club in Grove City, Ohio, and it's helped him stay in the lead so far in Round 3. Having garnered plenty of experience in previous PGA Professional Championships, Kern feels ready for the moment, adding: “I’ve had some success here in this event. It’s the confidence that you can hit a good shot and do it in competition. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had a lot more competition rounds, and every shot you hit you get a little better each time. Honestly, it’s experience and I’m starting to have a little bit of that.”
Worthington II embraces “Mamba Mentality” heading into final two days
The PGA Professional Championship, with everything on the line, is a true marathon for the field. And that’s how Wyatt Worthington II approached Round 2, righting the ship off the tee — he only hit three fairways on the first day — to shoot an even-par 72 in Round 2. It wasn’t his sharpest round but Worthington, who coaches out of The Golf Depot in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, gave an interesting perspective: “Yesterday’s home runs don't win today’s games. Even though I got a couple of birdies and got off to a good start, I have to throw that away and start fresh. Right now, I’ve got the Kobe Bryant mentality of ‘“job’s not finished.” Any time you can channel your inner-Mamba, that’s a winning game plan.
Somers, Wiseman make massive leaderboard jumps
Some serious movement on the leaderboard was a big story after the second round finished on May 2 — play was suspended due to darkness — as a number of players vaulted into some Corebridge Financial PGA Team spots after two rounds. John Somers of the North Florida PGA and Timothy Wiseman of the Indiana PGA both shots 68s to jump 65 spots up the leaderboard and into a tie for third at 3-under. Leaderboard movement will be another story as players enter their third round and another cut to low 70 and ties looms.
Twin Warriors takeover
Sayonara, Santa Ana. The final two days will take place at Twin Warriors Golf Club, which, as expected, has proven to be the more difficult of the two tracks. It only yielded 53 rounds below or at par to the field, whereas Santa Ana had 95 rounds of par or better. Why? “I’ve played a lot of golf courses like this — every tee box is elevated, hit into a chute. You hit the fairway. You hit the green. You take par and go to the next hole. If you happen to make a birdie, great. The priority is fairway, playing around the bunkers is key.” Conditions seem pleasant early in the day at Twin Warriors for Round 3, but the leaders will be playing the course during the heart of the afternoon — and when it's most windy. Adds Kern: “If the wind switches, it’s a completely different game.”
Keeping an eye on 2-under
Part of the fun in watching the PGA Professional Championship is seeing the Corebridge PGA Financial Team crystalize. When there’s 20 spots in the PGA Championship on the line, the pressure mounts each day, creating more and more drama to see who will make it to Oak Hill. If you're at 1-under at 3 p.m. MDT, you've got a shot. And what’s fascinating? There’s 11 players currently within one shot of those coveted spots. Make sure to tune-in today and check it out on Golf Channel!