Category - Member Events
John Somers Wins Four-Way Playoff to Claim Event No. 4 in PGA Tournament Series
By Craig Dolch
Four-over after nine holes Monday, John Somers was so fed up with his game, he thought about withdrawing from Event No. 4 of the PGA Tournament Series.
Good thing for him – and a bad thing for the rest of the field – Somers played on.
He played his back nine Monday at 6-under to salvage a 69. He kept the momentum Tuesday by firing a 7-under par 64 to get into a playoff, then birdied both extra holes to win Event No. 4 of the PGA Tournament Series at PGA Golf Club.
“I was playing so bad on my front nine, I thought I might as well head home. But I knew I couldn’t do that,” said Somers, the PGA Head Professional at Southern Hills in Brooksville. “I wanted to try and turn it around. I’m glad I did (stay).”
The long-hitting Somers played his last 29 holes on the Ryder Course in 15-under – after the four-over start – to win his second PGA Tournament Series event and earn the $5,000 first prize.
Somers beat Vince Drahman of Zionsville, Ind., Zac Oakley of Palm City, Fla., and Tim Pearce of Birmingham, Mich., in the playoff after each finished at 9-under 133. It was Drahman’s third consecutive loss in a playoff.
Somers delivered a deft chip on the first playoff hole, after he hit it over the par-5 17th in two shots, playing a low shot into the side of a hill, to match birdies with his three competitors. After hitting his tee shot at No. 18 more than 40 yards past the others, Somers hit a lob wedge from 100 yards to 5 feet and made the putt after the other three missed theirs.
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“I knew I was going to make my putt, but I figured someone else would, too,” said Somers, who then smiled when he was asked about the chip at No. 17. “It was tricky because it was on hardpan. It came out exactly the way I wanted it to.”
The finish certainly didn’t happen the way Drahman (69) wanted it to. He left what would have been the winning putt an inch short of the cup on the final hole of regulation.
When he arrived at the tee in the playoff, Drahman smiled and said, “I’m back.” But he settled for his third consecutive T2 finish.
“It’s tough, obviously,” said Drahman, the PGA Director of Instruction at Old Oakland Golf Club in Indianapolis, Ind. “You gotta keep believing you’re playing good enough golf, and clearly I am. Today was a grind today, but I’m glad I hung in there to make the playoff.”
Oakley (66) had a chance to avoid the playoff, but he three-putted the par-5 17th in regulation for bogey to drop into a tie with the others. He left his birdie putt 6 feet short and missed the par attempt.
“I didn’t even think of it being uphill,” said Oakley, a PGA Professional at Bidermann Golf Club near Philadelphia. “I played it like it was flat … 6 feet short and pulled a straight-in putt. But it’s nice to make a good check with Christmas coming up.”
Pearce (69), a PGA Assistant Professional at Birmingham Country Club, birdied the last hole in regulation to join the playoff. He thought he made his birdie attempt at 18 in the playoff, but it slid over the hole.
“I missed a couple of short putts coming in, so it felt good to trust the putt at 18 and make it into the playoff,” Pearce said. “I’m happy. I’ve been playing well all winter.”
Casey Pyne (68) of Greenwich, Ct. and Nate Eaton (68) of Raleigh, N.C., tied for fifth at 7-under par 135. It was Pyne’s third top-five finish in the four PGA Tournament Series events.
The PGA Tournament Series is Presented by GOLF ADVISOR. Event No. 5 starts Thursday on the Dye Course.