Category - Member Events
Proehl, San Filippo Win PGA Quarter Century Championships in Playoffs, Sheerin Earns Half Century Title
By Craig Dolch
Mike San Filippo, PGA.
It took an extra hole – and an extra day – to decide the winners of the PGA Quarter Century Championships in cool, rainy conditions at PGA Golf Club.
Mike San Filippo (above) of Hobe Sound, Florida, parred the first extra hole to beat Darrell Kestner of Glen Cove, New York, in the 65-and-Older Division. Filippo rallied from three shots back with five holes left, thanks to birdies on the last two holes of the Ryder Course, including a holed bunker shot at No. 17.
San Filippo made short work of his playoff, but the story was how he got there. Filippo was two shots behind Kestner when he left his third shot in the bunker at the par-5 17th.
“I tried to get too cute with my bunker shot and left it in the bunker. Then I walked up and holed it,” Filippo said, shaking his head. “It was a complete fluke. The ball would have gone 10 feet by the hole. I was incredibly lucky there. I’m sure Darrell thought he had the tournament won.”
The 71-year-old San Filippo still trailed by one going to No. 18, but he made a 10-foot birdie putt. Kestner made a 6-footer for par to get in the playoff.
“I hit it nicely and made my share of putts, but Mike did what he had to do with those late birdies,” Kestner said. “I knew he would be there at the end even though I was a couple shots up. It’s always a good challenge to play against him.”
Meanwhile, in the 50-to-64 Division of the Quarter Century Championship — which had its playoff begin the night of Jan. 11 with seven players who finished at 5-under 139, but ended due to darkness after two holes with five players advancing — it took Chad Proehl of Urbandale, Iowa, longer to warm up on the morning of Jan. 12 than to win his first PGA Winter Championship at PGA Golf Club.
Proehl won the resumed playoff with a birdie on the first playoff hole, the par-4 10th on the Wanamaker Course, (and third overall). Putting last after hitting an 8-iron to 6 feet, Proehl drained the birdie.
“I won’t kid you, I was smiling pretty good when that ball went in,” said Proehl, the 56-year-old PGA Head Teaching Instructor at Sugar Creek Golf Course who also owns a winter home at PGA Golf Club. “I came to the course expecting to play five or six holes today. I wasn’t thinking about one-and-done. I knew everybody was thinking the same way I was. It feels great to win my first PGA Winter Championship.”
The other players to make it to the playoff after finishing at 5-under 139: Jim Smoot (70) of Huntington, N.Y.; Bill Breen (70) of Nashville, Tenn.; Mike Small (73) of Champaign, Ill.; and Mark Anderson (74) of St. Simons Island, Ga.
Smoot almost ended the playoff on Jan. 11 when his 40-foot birdie putt at the 18th curled around the hole. Others in the playoff couldn’t believe it didn’t go in.
“I thought I made it,” Smoot said. “But this is a lot of fun.”
Jim Sheerin of Rye, New Hampshire, won the Half Century Championship with a 1-under 70 to edge two-time defending champion Roy Vucinich (71) of Moon Township, Pa., by a shot on the Ryder Course. Sheerin, a PGA Master Professional who retired from Abenaqui Country Club, made two birdies against a lone bogey to finish at even-par 142.
“It’s a big surprise,” Sheerin said. “I played very consistently. I three-putted the second hole and that was my only blip. I’ve been coming here for 23 years and it’s nice to finally win one.”
The PGA Winter Championships are presented by GolfPass and On Location. The PGA Senior Stroke Play Championship starts Jan. 14 at PGA Golf Club.