Category - Member Events
Sowards Takes Three-Shot Lead Into Final Round of 2023 Senior PGA Professional Championship
By Greg Dillard
Bob Sowards, PGA.
There is something special about PGA Golf Club for Bob Sowards.
The PGA Director of Instruction at Kinsale Golf and Fitness Club in Powell, Ohio, is in prime position to add to his impressive resume at the Club, where he has amassed an estimated two dozen career victories.
Sowards, representing the Southern Ohio PGA Section, registered a 3-under-par 69 on the Wanamaker course Saturday to sit at 9-under-par 206 for the week and lead by three heading into Sunday’s final round of the 2023 Senior PGA Professional Championship.
“I played really solid,” said Sowards. “I hit a ton of greens and didn’t give myself a chance to make too many bogeys. I just played really well.”
Second round co-leader Mick Smith (Summit, Wis.) is second at 6-under-par 209. Don Berry (Rogers, Minn.) and second-round co-leader Mike Small (Champaign, Ill.) are tied for third at 5-under-par 210. Jerry Haas (Winston-Salem, N.C.) sits in fifth place at 4-under-par 211.
Sowards entered Saturday tied for third following rounds of 4-under-par 67 (Ryder) and 2-under-par 70 (Wanamaker) on Thursday and Friday, respectively. His afternoon started with a birdie on the par-5, 555-yard first hole before bogeying the par-4, 429-yard second. After birdieing the par-3, 192-yard fourth, Sowards recorded eight consecutive pars from holes 5-12.
The veteran competitor collected clutch birdies on the par-5, 539-yard 13th and par-4, 448-yard 14th holes. The par-5, 510-yard 16th was a bit of an adventure for Sowards, who found himself in the penalty area near water after the wind took his tee shot right. Fortunately for him, his ball was sitting up enough for him to hit it.
“I took my shoes and socks off, went in up to my knees and chunked it out into the fairway,” said Sowards. “I hit my third shot to about 30-35 feet and got lucky making that putt. Making a birdie there was definitely a little bit of luck, but I’ll take it.”
Sowards looks to draw on his wealth of experience at PGA Golf Club as he attempts to close out a victory on Sunday.
“I’ve won a lot on these golf courses,” said Sowards. “I’m playing well. I’m going to try to stick to the same game plan, pick conservative targets, try to be aggressive and try to make a bunch of pars, which is my game plan on the Wanamaker course.”
Smith, PGA Director of Instruction at Mick Smith Golf, shot 1-over-par 73 on the Wanamaker today. Birdies on the par-5, 544-yard seventh and par-4, 355-yard 15th holes helped negate a trio of bogeys.
“I didn’t roll the rock as well today,” said Smith. “It was just a little bit harder today on the greens. If I can putt it better tomorrow and hit it roughly the same, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.”
Berry, the PGA Head Professional at Edinburgh USA Golf Club, jumped 15 spots up the leaderboard behind a 4-under-par 68, which was tied for low round of the day.
Small, the Head Men’s Golf Coach at the University of Illinois, finished at 2-over-par 74.
Jeff Brehaut, Utah PGA Life Member, posted a 4-under-par 68 to climb 24 spots into T-6. Craig Bowden, Indiana PGA Life Member, also shot 4-under-par 68 and jumped 50 places into T-11.
In addition to the Leo Fraser Trophy, named after the 16th president of the PGA of America, players are competing for a $335,000 purse, including the winner’s share of $27,000.
The top 35 finishers will be named to the Corebridge Financial PGA Team and advance into the field for the 2024 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship to be held May 23-26 at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
The 2023 Senior PGA Professional Championship, presented by Cadillac, concludes Sunday on the Wanamaker course at PGA Golf Club following today’s cut to the low 70 scorers and ties. The final round is scheduled to start at 8:00 a.m. ET.
For more about the Senior PGA Professional Championship, visit here.