News & Notes: Marquee Pairings, Major Players at PGA Professional National Championship

June 21, 2014

The marquee group for those rounds is defending PGA Professional National Champion Rod Perry; three-time National Champion Mike Small of Champaign, Ill.; and New York’s Matt Dobyns, who won the 2012 National Championship and is the only member of the field who competed in last week’s U.S. Open.

Perry/Small/Dobyns tee off at Grande Dunes Resort Club Sunday at 7:50 a.m. on the 10th Tee, and Monday at 1:05 p.m. on the 1st Tee of The Dunes Club.

Below are other Sunday/Monday groupings of other leading players in the 47th PGA Professional National Championship:

Sonny Skinner (four-time Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year), Frank Esposito Jr. (2014 U.S. Senior Open participant), Gene Fieger (2013 Senior PGA Professional National Champion)
Sunday – 1:55 p.m., 1st Tee (The Dunes Club)
Monday – 8:40 a.m., 10th Tee (Grande Dunes Resort Club)

Ron Philo Jr. (2006 National Champion), Chip Sullivan (2007 National Champion), Darrell Kestner (1996 National Champion)
Sunday – 2:15 p.m., 1st Tee (The Dunes Club)
Monday – 9:00 a.m., 10th Tee (Grande Dunes Resort Club)

Mike Burke Jr. (1998 National Champion), Steve Schneiter (1995 National Champion), John Traub (1980 National Champion)
Sunday – 2:25 p.m., 1st Tee (The Dunes Club)
Monday – 9:10 a.m., 10th Tee (Grande Dunes Resort Club)

Wayne DeFrancesco (2001 National Champion), Bruce Zabriski (1997 National Champion), Barry Evans (2002 National Champion)
Sunday – 2:35 p.m., 1st Tee (The Dunes Club)
Monday – 9:20 a.m., 10th Tee (Grande Dunes Resort Club)

Bob Sowards (2004 National Champion), David Hutsell (2011 National Champion), Scott Hebert (2008 National Champion)
Sunday – 7:40 a.m., 10th Tee (Grande Dunes Resort Club)
Monday – 12:55 p.m., 1st Tee (The Dunes Club)

Major Caliber Players

Eleven members of this week’s field earned berths in the 35th U.S. Senior Open, July 10-13, at Oak Tree National in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Heading the list is former PGA Professional National Champion Darrell Kestner, 60, of Glen Cove, New York; and Jerry Tucker, 65, of Stuart, Florida, the oldest member of the National Championship field.

Joining them are Jeff Coston of Blaine, Washington; Frank Esposito Jr. of Monroe Township, New Jersey; Bill Harvey of Albuquerque, New Mexico; Ed Kirby of Wakefield, Rhode Island; Tim Parun of San Diego, California; Ty Roush of Mason, West Virginia; four-time Senior PGA Professional National Champion Sonny Skinner of Sylvester, Georgia; 1995 Steve Schneiter of Sandy, Utah; and Jerry Smith of Scottsdale, Arizona.

Kestner, PGA director of golf at Deepdale Golf Club in Manhasset, New York, is making his 23rd appearance in the PGA Professional National Championship. He will be competing in his third U.S. Senior Open. Overall, Kestner has competed in 19 major championships (11 PGA Championships and eight U.S. Opens). Kestner set a PGA of America record for a club professional in 2012, by competing in a major in five separate decades.

Tucker, a PGA Life Member from Stuart, Florida, is making his 23rd National Championship appearance. His overall major championship roster of appearances includes two PGA Championships, two U.S. Opens, three U.S. Senior Opens and 10 Senior PGA Championships.

Sonny Skinner and Rod Perry Repeat as Respective
Senior PGA & PGA Professional Players of the Year

For a record fourth consecutive year, Sonny Skinner of Sylvester, Georgia, took the stage as the Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year, while reigning PGA Professional National Champion Rod Perry won a second straight national award.

The 2013 honors for playing achievement by a PGA Professional over the past year were bestowed Friday evening at a ceremony at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The award presentations preceded the PGA Professional National Championship Welcome Dinner.

“It means so much to me as a PGA member to have the opportunities to compete for this honor and among our peers throughout the year,” said Skinner, 53, a PGA Life Member, who recovered from a February automobile accident to secure enough points to claim the award. “I am not the best player, but I do know that I enjoy going out each day and trying to improve and have a chance to play in great events.”

Perry, who received his first PGA Professional Player of the Year Award last year in Sunriver, Oregon, went out four days later and won the 2013 PGA Professional National Championship. With two consecutive years attesting his playing ability, Perry said that he is far from satisfied.

“No two days in golf are alike and I have to prove myself every day. That is the nature of the game,” said Perry, 40, the PGA head professional at Crane Lakes Golf & Country Club in Port Orange, Florida. “It’s an honor to once again win this award and to know that I have the support of a great home club, a great staff and a wonderful family. Because of that support group, it allows me to compete for this honor and in great events through the year.”