PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – The 2018 Alabama – NW Florida PGA Professional Championship, presented by Club Car and OMEGA took place at the picturesque Pensacola Country Club on September the 10th and 11th. It was Todd McCorkle of Old Overton Club who reigned victorious by carding rounds of 66 and 69 for a 9-under par total of 135, edging out Steven Driggers of Anniston Country Club and Eric Williamson of Shoal Creek Club by 5 shots.
The course provided a true test for the players with fast greens and healthy rough. Steven Driggers held the clubhouse lead going in to the final round with a first round score of 5-under par 67 followed closely by Eric Williamson (68), Todd McCorkle (69) and Steve Cutler (69) of Wynlakes Golf & Country Club.
At the conclusion of the round one, Jerry Pate Company and Club Car hosted a dinner and cocktail reception behind the clubhouse on the par-3 18th hole overlooking Pensacola Bay. The reception included a “Big Break” game rotation giving players and guests the opportunity to test their golf skills. The rotation included breaking a 3- by 3-foot pane of glass from 30 yards away, an 8-foot tall flop wall and finally a long drive competition (the fairway being all of Pensacola Bay and, not to mention, in to a stiff gulf breeze).
Round two of the competition was greeted by a gorgeous sunrise over the bay. The day got off to a steamy start as Todd McCorkle birdied 3 holes on the front nine and then proceeded to birdie 4 holes in a row on the back nine. This was enough to secure his victory and spot for the 52nd PGA Professional Championship, presented by Club Car and OMEGA at Belfair in Bluffton, SC. At approximately 11:30 AM, the players and staff were treated to a weekly practice by the Blue Angels, the United States Navy’s Demonstration Squadron. Based out of the nearby Naval Air Station in Pensacola, the six-plane squadron ripped across Pensacola Country Club and the surrounding area for about an hour practicing their death-defying stunts. Needless to say, pace play was halted during this time, but it was certainly a special way to end the week’s events.
Also, qualifying for the 52nd PGA Professional Championship presented by Club Car and OMEGA were Eric Williamson and Steven Driggers who both finished at 4-under par 140.
A playoff was needed to determine who the first, second and third alternate qualifiers would be. The playoff featured Mike Genovese, Steve Cutler, Ned Martin and Curtis Ohrn. The playoff rotation included the par-3 18th hole and then continuing to the par-4 17th hole. On the first playoff hole, Genovese hit his shot to about four feet birdieing the hole. Cutler holed a 7-foot putt to stay even with Genovese while Orhn bogeyed and Martin pared to take the third alternate spot. On the second playoff hole, Genovese didn’t let up knocking his approach shot to 2 feet in route to another birdie and taking the first alternate spot while Cutler two-putted for par.
The Alabama – NW Florida PGA would like to extend its most sincere thank you to Host PGA Professional, David Pilkington and the rest of the Pensacola Country Club staff for being phenomenal hosts to our PGA Professionals and staff. In addition, a word of praise to Superintendent Joshua Cook and his grounds crew for their diligence and hard work in preparing the golf course beautifully in the wake of tropical storm Gordon, which dumped over 11 inches of rain on the grounds a week before the tournament began.
Please see below for the full list of National Qualifiers and Alternates: