Stromeyer Goes Wire-to-Wire
by Hayden Lewis, PGA
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 14, 2021) – The 2021 Alabama–NW Florida PGA Professional Championship Presented by Cadillac, Club Car and Rolex was contested on Monday and Tuesday at Shark’s Tooth Golf Club, one of the courses completing the trio under the Clubs by Joe—a part of the Watersound Club in Panama City Beach and one of the premier destinations throughout the entire Florida Panhandle.
There were forty-six PGA Professionals from across the Section who convened in Panama City Beach to compete for the top three qualifying spots into the National PGA Professional Championship next spring. Additionally, there would be three alternate spots up for grabs as players teed it up.
The first round began under a beautiful sunrise as tee times began at 8:30 a.m. Players were welcomed to Shark’s Tooth with calm conditions and overcast skies—keeping temperatures mild for most of the day. The course demanded accuracy off every tee as twisting live oak trees, sandy areas and native areas awaited any errant tee shots. Rea Schuessler of the Country Club of Mobile got off to a solid start making three birdies on the front nine on holes one, eight and nine. He would finish out the round with nine straight pars and post a three-under-par 69. Life Member, Mike Genovese was able to start his first round with a one-under-par 35 on the front nine. Leading into the back nine, he kept the gas pedal down with three more birdies to finish at four-under-par 68—he didn’t make a single bogey all day. Jordan Debonis of The Ledges matched Genovese with a bogey-free round and four birdies coming on holes two, three, twelve and sixteen. Finally, Ron Stromeyer of Pine Tree Country Club was able to get off to a dream start making a birdie on holes four and five, an eagle on the par-five sixth and another birdie on the ninth. Making the turn in an incredible five-under-par, this is where he would remain as he made two birdies and two bogies on the back nine to take the lead over Genovese and Debonis by one shot.
After the conclusion of the Round One, players and their guests were invited to a social hour at the Watersound Beach Club—nestled in the County Highway 30A thoroughfare and overlooking the dunes of Camp Creek—the Jerry Pate Company and Club Car continued their annual tradition of hosting this special event. “A big thank you to the Jerry Pate Company and Club Car for always taking care of our PGA Professionals during our Section’s biggest event,” says Section President, John Carney. “This is something we look forward to every year, and to have it at such a special place makes it even more memorable.”
The Final Round brought with it more cloud cover and lower-than-average temperatures for the players as they started the day. Rea Schuessler got off to a tough start, making bogies on holes one and two and his lone birdie of the day coming on hole six. He would finish at two-over-par for the day and one-under-par for the tournament. Meanwhile, Andrew Peyton of Indian Hills Country Club got on a hot streak making three birdies in his first six holes and an eagle on hole thirteen—this would be good enough for him to inch up the leaderboard into a tie for fourth place. Stromeyer and Genovese got off to less-than-ideal starts in their Final Round shooting one-over-par and even as they made the turn. Debonis quickly worked his way into the lead heading to the back nine with the help of two birdies on holes six and seven. He would falter some with two bogies on holes eleven and twelve which helped Genovese and Stromeyer pull even at five-under-par. Debonis carved out a birdie on fifteen to pull ahead again by one shot—this lead didn’t last long as Stromeyer quickly turned the tables and made birdie on sixteen and seventeen to grab the one-shot lead heading into eighteen. Debonis was not able to convert a birdie on the last hole and Stromeyer held steady with one more par to take the title and the first qualifying spot. Debonis and Genovese filed in behind in the tied for second position and grabbed the second and third qualifying spots for the National PGA Professional Championship to be held in April at the Barton Creek Resort in Austin, Texas. With Peyton’s excellent play in his Final Round, he was able to earn the first alternate spot after defeating Neil Thompson (Thompson Golf Academy) in a one-hole playoff. David Pilkington of Pensacola Country Club fired a two-under-par final round of 70 to earn the third alternate spot.
The Alabama–NW Florida PGA would like to extend a huge thank you to Patrick Richardson, PGA Director of Golf, and the rest of his staff for an unbelievable two days at Shark’s Tooth Golf Club. “We are excited to have Patrick join the Section earlier in 2021 and grateful for all his support in the preparation and conduct of this Championship,” comments Executive Director, Bart Rottier. An additional word of praise goes to Wesley Pate, Parker Pate, Harris Richie and Robbie Duncan with the Jerry Pate Company and Club Car for their continued support of PGA Professionals in Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.