Category - Member Events

Wyatt Worthington II Leads by Three Following First Day of the 2024 PGA Professional Championship

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Patience paid off for Wyatt Worthington II during his opening round at the 2024 PGA Professional Championship.
Heading advice from his caddie, Andy Gibson, PGA, Worthington II aimed to stay patient and give himself as many opportunities as possible. He seized those opportunities and then some.
Worthington II —a PGA Golf Manufacturer Sales Representative at Eastside Golf— registered a nearly-flawless 7-under-par 65 on the West course to take a three-shot lead in the 2024 PGA Professional Championship at Fields Ranch at PGA Frisco in Frisco, Texas.
“One of the things that I did really well is I handled adversity,” said Worthington II. “It’s extremely tough in these conditions, how windy it is and it played completely differently than our practice rounds. I just tried to keep the rhythm flowing and kept the momentum, which was one of the key things to the round.”
Devin Gee (Oakmont, Pa.) and Hayes Farley (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) are three shots back at T-2 after both shot 4-under-par 68 at Fields Ranch West. Kyle Mendoza (Oceanside, Calif.) and John Somers (Trinity, Fla.) are four shots off the lead at 3-under-par 69. Ben Willman (The Woodlands, Texas) is also T-4 at 3-under through 13 holes.
Inclement weather caused a four-hour delay to the start of Sunday’s opening round, and round one play was later suspended due to darkness at 8:04 p.m. As a result, round one will resume tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. Round two starting times will then begin approximately three hours and 20 minutes later than originally scheduled.
Worthington II began his round with a birdie on Fields Ranch West’s par-5 548-yard 9th hole. He later rattled off four consecutive birdies on holes 15-18, including the par-3 195-yard 16th where he hit an eight iron to approximately 18 feet and made the putt.
“Full transparency, it was coming in hot,” said Worthington II. “But I had a good line on it and I got lucky in those regards. So really, really snuck one I felt like on 16 because that's a tough hole.”
The par-5, 565-yard 18th saw Worthington II hit what he described as “probably one of my best shots” when he drilled a six iron from 220 yards to 18 feet.
The 37-year-old Worthington II added birdies at the par-4, 409-yard 2nd; par-3 184-yard 3rd; par-3, 143-yard 5th; and par-5, 593-yard 6th holes.
“At the end of the day, you can always nitpick, and say you left a few here and a few here, but that's not what this is about,” said Worthington II. “It's putting yourself in a good position, and keep plugging along and hopefully we can keep it going.”
Gee, the PGA Head Professional at Oakmont Country Club, jumped out to a hot start by birdieing his first two holes, the par-5, 548-yard 9th and par-3, 186-yard 10th at Fields Ranch West.
The 38-year-old Gee, who was focused on securing pars by making putts and driving the fairway, tallied birdies at the par-4, 389-yard 14th; par-5, 548-yard 17th; par-5, 565-yard 18th; and par-5, 593-yard 6th holes.
“I got off to a great start and played solid the entire day,” said Gee. “Everyone knew it was going to be tough out there with the wind.”
Farley, the PGA Director of Instruction at San Jose Country Club making his PGA Professional Championship debut, collected four birdies to overcome early bogeys on holes 2-3 at Fields Ranch West. He ended his round on a high note with an eagle on the par-5, 565-yard 18th hole.
“I was 250 yards out, which normally would be a three wood for me, but it was downwind and starting to firm up a little bit,” said Farley. “I just hit a nice hybrid in there to about 12 feet. It was a nice way to end the round.”
Michael Block (Mission Viejo, Calif.) is T-12 after posting a 1-under-par 71 while defending champion Braden Shattuck (Aston, Pa.) shot 4-over-par 76, both at Fields Ranch West on Sunday.
Monday’s second round of the 2024 PGA Professional Championship presented by Club Car, Corebridge Financial and Rolex will be broadcast live on Golf Channel from 4-7 pm (CT).
Due to the weather delay during round one, the Championship will institute a 36-hole cut to the low 70 scores and ties after the second round concludes on Tuesday instead of 90 scores and ties.
Kestner matches record with 30th appearance
Darrell Kestner (Glen Cove, N.Y.) is making his 30th appearance in the PGA Professional Championship, which ties Jim White’s record for most starts in the event.
“It's been a dream come true to play in this and to win this championship so long ago,” said Kestner. “Then to play for so long, see all my peers and then also see my assistants go on to win these events and play in them, it makes you proud. I'm honored to be a PGA Member and be a contestant in this for so long.”
The PGA Director of Golf at Deepdale Golf Club has recorded 16 made cuts, including a victory in 1996, since his debut in 1987. His final-round 67 and 72-hole score of 271 in 1996 at PGA West in La Quinta, California remain PGA Professional Championship records.
“It's the premier golf championship that a PGA pro can play in,” said Kestner. “I know I only have a couple left. I wouldn't really play if I didn't think I could make the cut, or hopefully make it to a PGA Championship. It's just a thrill to be here and play these great golf courses.”