PORT ST. LUCIE – Ben Kern and Ben Cook don’t let bad shots bother them.
They didn’t hit any Tuesday.
The two Bens, who played together in every match of last year’s PGA Cup, combined for 11 birdies and no bogeys for 22 points on the Wanamaker Course to rally and win the PGA Four-Ball Stableford Team Championship at PGA Golf Club.
Kern, the PGA Head Professional at Georgetown Country Club in Texas, and Cook, a PGA Professional at John’s Island Club in Vero Beach, finished with 51 points, seven in front of Chad Proehl of Urbandale, Iowa and JC Anderson of Bonita Springs.
Kern and Cook combined for 20 birdies and no bogeys in the last two rounds to split the $10,000 first prize. It was the first PGA Winter Championship for each player.
“There were only a few holes where one guy was playing,” said Kern, the low PGA Professional at the 2018 PGA Championship at Bellerive. “That’s huge in team golf to have two guys putting for birdie.”
Said Cook, “We putted very well. That was the difference between the first day and today. We hit it just as well, but we made the opportunities. And we get along great.”
No doubt playing in the PGA Cup, where they went 1-1-1 for the victorious U.S. team, helped with their rapport. They started Tuesday’s final round tied for sixth place, four points out of the lead.
“We’re both pretty low key,” Kern said. “We understand bad golf shots are going to happen. We don’t let it bother us for more than 10 seconds.”
Proehl and Anderson made six birdies and no bogeys, but were a distance second with 44 points.
“We could have finished eagle-birdie-birdie and we still wouldn’t have won,” Anderson said.
Mark Brown of Glen Head, N.Y. and Joshua Rackley of Brookville, N.Y., were trying to win the PGA Four-Ball Stableford Team Championship for the second time in three years. They tied for third with 43 points and have finished first, second and third the last three years.
“We keep losing a spot,” Rackley said, smiling.
Brown and Rackley shared third place with Rich Berberian Jr. of Hookset, N.H., and Sean McCarty of Solon, Iowa and Kirk Hanefeld of South Hamilton, Mass., and James Mason of Dillard, Ga.
Under the Stableford format, eagles are worth five points, birdies two points, pars zero points, bogeys minus-1 points and double bogeys minus-3 points.
The PGA Winter Championships are presented by GolfPass and PrimeSport.