Note: This story originally ran in the April 2020 issue of PGA Magazine
A compelling case can be made for celebrating four defending champions and
toasting a Triple Crown host during the 2020 PGA Professional Championship
presented by Cadillac, Club Car and OMEGA, July 19-22, in the heart of Texas Hill
Country at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin.
A foursome of defending champions and a Triple Crown host? Indeed, the field of 312 PGA Professionals representing all 41 PGA Sections throughout America begins the 72-hole race for the Walter Hagen Cup looking skyward at four proven “defending champions.”
Meanwhile, Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa completes the third leg of its Triple Crown for hosting major events for PGA Professionals by rolling out its red carpet for the nationally televised (Golf Channel) PGA Professional Championship after welcoming the PGA Cup last September, plus the Senior PGA Professional Championship and Women’s PGA Cup in October.
“The PGA Professional Championship is our PGA Member showcase event, our major championship for PGA Professionals,” notes PGA President Suzy Whaley, who captained the U.S. Team to victory in the inaugural Women’s PGA Cup at Barton Creek on Oct. 24-26. “The great experience we all enjoyed during the PGA Cup demonstrated what a tremendous venue Barton Creek is for PGA Professionals. I know everyone involved is looking forward to going back for the PGA Professional Championship.”
While it may be unusual to recognize four defending champions — Alex Beach, Scott Hebert, U.S. Men’s PGA Cup Team, U.S. Women’s PGA Cup Team — for the 2020 PGA Professional Championship, it is appropriate given the parade of events for participating PGA Professionals at Barton Creek over the past months.
Defending Champion No. 1 is Alex Beach, the PGA Assistant Professional at Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York, who jump-started his playing career by outdueling friend and fellow Metropolitan PGA Member Danny Balin to win the 2019 PGA Professional Championship at Belfair in South Carolina last April.
Beach punctuated a highly productive eight-month run by then winning the National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship, qualifying for the Korn Ferry Tour for the 2020 season, and helping guide the U.S. Men’s Team to a historic come-from-behind victory in the PGA Cup at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa. He also played in the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black, courtesy of his 2019 PGA Professional Championship win.
“Winning the PGA Professional Championship last year certainly changed my life in a positive way,” admits Beach, who banked $55,000, earned six exemptions on the PGA Tour and engraved his name on the Walter Hagen Cup with his two-shot victory in 2019. “The win has allowed me to continue playing professional golf and achieving my dream of playing full time. I will use the exemptions to learn how to compete at the PGA Tour level, getting more and more comfortable in that environment each week.
“Winning the PGA Professional Championship has given me the confidence in my abilities to push myself to another level.”
Beach will first defend his title on the Fazio Foothills and Coore Crenshaw Cliffside courses at Barton Creek July 19-22, gunning for one of the “golden tickets” to the 2020 PGA Championship at Harding Park in San Francisco awarded to the Top 20 finishers in the PGA Professional Championship.
“It’s the national championship for PGA Professionals and the closest thing we have to a tour event,” observes Beach, an ambidextrous athlete who became the second lefthander in history to win the PGA Professional Championship last year. “It’s difficult to win because of many factors. It requires great golf, patience, the ability to deal with nerves and TV cameras, and it’s always played on great golf courses.
“I’m honored and humbled to forever be a small part of this event’s history, and I’m looking forward to returning to Barton Creek after the positive experience we had in coming from behind to win the PGA Cup.”