Jesse Mueller Prepares for Title Defense at 2023 PGA Professional Championship
2022 PGA Professional Champion Jesse Mueller begins his title defense this weekend in New Mexico.
Jesse Mueller likes to keep things simple. The defending champion of the PGA Professional Championship is prepared to defend his title with the same straightforward strategy he employed last year.
He’ll focus on playing his game and the golf course, which he hopes will lead to having a chance to win in the end.
Mueller, the PGA General Manager of Grand Canyon University Golf Course in Phoenix, will compete in a field of 312 PGA Professionals at the 2023 PGA Professional Championship, held April 30 - May 3 at Twin Warriors and Santa Ana Golf Clubs in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico.
“There are a lot of very good players in the field and you never quite know what’s going to happen,” said Mueller. “Usually when I try to keep my focus and concentrate on playing the golf course that is one of my biggest strengths.”
Mueller is aware of the challenges he will face in a packed field of talented PGA Professionals. But he is no stranger to high-stakes pressure, relying on his past experiences of being in contention on developmental tours and previous PGA events to give him an edge.
“I was in contention a lot so I feel like I have a lot of experience playing in leader groups or just behind on the back nine or final 18,” said Mueller. “I think all of those situations helped me a lot last year.”
Mueller, whose wife, Jessie, will caddie for him again this year, registered rounds of 66, 67, 66 and 74 to finish at 10-under 273 and win by five shots over Michael Block (Mission Viejo, California) and Jared Jones (Houston, Texas) in 2022.
“I got off to a pretty good start with a couple rounds under par and then put myself in position,” said Mueller. “I had some good stuff happen with some hole-outs and good putting and it happened to work out.”
Mueller is one of 13 past PGA Professional Champions in this year’s field. He will be joined by Alex Beach (2019), Rich Berberian Jr. (2016), Michael Block (2014), Matt Dobyns (2012, 2015), Scott Hebert (2008), David Hutsell (2011), Rod Perry (2013), Ron Philo Jr. (2006), Jeff Roth (1993), Steve Schneiter (1995), Bob Sowards (2004) and Ryan Vermeer (2018).
Matt Schalk (Erie, Colorado) returns to Santa Ana Pueblo following his victory last October at the 2022 Senior PGA Professional Championship at Twin Warriors. He shot 10-under-par 278 to claim his first Leo Fraser Trophy.
The five members of the 2022 U.S. Women’s PGA Cup team will also be playing at a familiar site: Sherry Andonian (Aurora, Colorado), Jennifer Borocz (Ponte Vedra, Florida), Joanna Coe (Haverford, Pennsylvania) Stephanie Connelly-Eiswerth (Fleming Island, Florida) and Ashley Grier (Hagerstown, Maryland) defeated Canada by two strokes at Twin Warriors last October.
The PGA Professional Championship has served as a showcase event for PGA Professionals since 1968. The 312-player field consists of past Champions, the top 20 players and ties from the previous year’s Championship as well as players qualifying through Section Championships.
The top 20 finishers earn a spot on the Corebridge Financial PGA Team that will compete in the 2023 PGA Championship, played May 15-21 at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York.
The Championship, which offers a $715,000 purse, will have a 36-hole cut Monday to the low 90 scorers and ties, and a 54-hole cut Tuesday to the low 70 scorers and ties.