Michigan’s Jim Deiters & Brian Cairns earn a spot in the 76th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, May 21-24, 2015

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (Nov. 17, 2014) – Congratulations to Jim Deiters of Midland Country Club and Brian Cairns from the Fox Hills Learning Center for finishing in the top 35 of the 26th Senior PGA Professional National Championship presented by Mercedes-Benz USA. This top 35 finish qualifies them for the 76th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, May 21-24, 2015, at French Lick (Indiana) Resort.

Jim shared the lead after round one posting an opening round of 64 (-8 under) on the Ryder Course at PGA Golf Club in Port St Lucie. Jim closed with a rounds of 73, 74, 75 for a 286 total and a T29 finish.

Brian closed with a (-1 under) par round of 71 for a total of 287 ,which put him in playoff for the last 4 spots. Brian parred the first playoff hole to earn one of  the final spots in the 76th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid.

Dave Kendall from the Kendall Academy and Ron Beurmann from the Country Club of Jackson both made the cut and finished  tied for 75th in this field of 264 PGA Professionals who are at least 50 years of age.

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (Nov. 16, 2014 by Randy Stutzman) – Frank Esposito Jr. of Monroe Township, New Jersey, had difficulty sleeping on a four-stroke lead in the 26th Senior PGA Professional National Championship presented by Mercedes-Benz USA. In fact, he wasn’t what he called “at peace” until the starter called his name Sunday morning at PGA Golf Club.

From that point, Esposito performed like he was driving a pace car around a track. The sole leader over the final 33 holes, Esposito, PGA Head Professional at Brooklake Country Club in Florham Park, New Jersey, capped a steady 1-under-par 71 at the Wanamaker Course by making a downhill 25-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole. With an emphatic fist pump, the 51-year-old sealed a four-stroke victory and his first national championship.

He also earned the Leo Fraser Trophy and a check of $20,000 in the $285,000 Championship.

James Mason of Dillard, Georgia, who came within two strokes of the lead before a closing bogey, finished with a 70 to share runner-up at 276 with Steve Schneiter of Sandy, Utah (69) and Rick Schuller of Chester, Va. (70). Jerry Haas of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the men’s head golf coach at Wake Forest University, was fifth at 277 after a 70.

The low 35 finishers f earned a berth in the 76th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, May 21-24, 2015, at French Lick (Indiana) Resort.

“Winning this is great, it really is,” said Esposito, whose last victory at PGA Golf Club came in the 2010 PGA Stroke Play Championship. “I didn’t know what to expect, and it means a lot to me, especially out here.

“The hard part was the waiting, the anticipation. I was ready to go. I’m not usually great doing it [playing with the lead]. But, I was at peace out there. It was fun to have the lead the whole way.”

Esposito either shared or led the Championship in each of the previous three rounds and didn’t give any indication he was about to suffer a collapse Sunday. He was 6-under par on the Wanamaker front nine for the week, and mixed a birdie at the par-5 seventh hole with a bogey at 10 today, when he missed his only green of the round. He then awaited a challenge that didn’t materialize until it was too late.

Mason, 63, a PGA Life Member and a former Champions Tour regular, birdied the par-5 16th hole to trim the deficit to two strokes.

“I came here not expecting too much. I have a tough time putting on these greens,” said Mason, who tied for 48th in the 75th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid last May. “But thankfully I putted well the last two days to finish strong. Frank played awfully well and he didn’t give up much out there. And we didn’t put much heat on him, either.”

Esposito, the reigning New Jersey PGA Senior Player of the Year, tied for third in last April’s delayed edition of the 2013 Senior PGA Professional National Championship, also at PGA Golf Club. Seven months ago, he was tied for the lead midway through the Championship before finishing 4-over par on the weekend. However, things were different on this final trip around the Wanamaker Course.

“It’s hard to get comfortable out there, with so many good players,” said Esposito. “Nothing comes from a good lead, no good thoughts. But I played solid again, hitting 17 greens. There were times to attack and times not to. I wasn’t trying to get too aggressive.”

Mason trimmed the deficit to two strokes with a birdie at the 16th hole, where Esposito hit a wayward 6-iron approach and faced a near impossible chip to the hole.

“I tried to hit a hard 6-iron, and left it out to the right,” said Esposito. “That’s my miss. But I had a horrible lie and it was sitting up so high that I thought I was going to go underneath it.”

But the drama ended there, and he calmly tapped in for par at the 17th and hit his approach to the middle of the 18th green while Mason pulled his approach left of the green and chipped well past the flagstick and two-putted from there for bogey.

Jeff Roth of Farmington, New Mexico, the 1993 PGA Professional National Champion, turned in the day’s low round of 67, finishing tied for seventh place.

Brian Cairns of Walled Lake, Michigan; Bobby Heins of Purchase, New York; Rick Lewallen of Kannapolis, North Carolina; and Gary Trivisonno of Aurora, Ohio, each parred the first playoff hole to earn the final berths in the 76th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid.

The 72-hole National Championship featured 264 PGA Professionals who are at least 50 years of age and have qualified to compete in the Championship through one of the 41 PGA Sections.

Visit PGA.com for complete Championship coverage, and join the social media conversation using the hashtag #SeniorPNC.

 

 

Speak Your Mind

*