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Omar Uresti hangs on to win 53rd PGA Professional Championship

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Omar Uresti began Wednesday’s ultimate spherical of the 53rd PGA Professional Championship with a seven-shot lead, and he wanted most of it.

After enjoying flawless golf for the primary 54 holes, Uresti struggled all through the ultimate spherical. The Austin, Texas, resident was 4-over after 4 holes and noticed his once-invincible lead shrink to two photographs on the again 9 of the Wanamaker Course at PGA Golf Club.

But he obtained again to what he does finest, grinding away for pars, and held on for a three-shot victory over Frank Bensel Jr. of Jupiter, Florida. Uresti etched his title on the Walter Hagen Trophy for the second time in 4 years, having additionally gained in 2017.

“I had a pretty good lead and got off to a rough start, so there was a little frustration early,” Uresti stated. “I just tried to grind it out. I didn’t putt like I did the first three days, but I was able to hang in there and make some 2-putts.”

PGA Professional Championship: Leaderboard

Uresti’s 75 left him at 11-under 276. At 52, he grew to become the second-oldest PPC champion behind Hall of Famer Sam Snead, who was 59 when he gained in 1971.

The win additionally earned Uresti a spot in subsequent month’s PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, six PGA Tour exemptions over the following 12 months – Uresti has performed in 377 profession PGA Tour occasions – and a spot on the 2022 U.S. PGA Cup workforce.

“I’ve never played at Kiawah, so I’m looking forward to it,” Uresti stated. “That’s a long course. I’m 5-foot-6 and 52, so that’s going to be a fun week.”

Bensel began the ultimate spherical 11 photographs again of Uresti, however charged into rivalry with 4 birdies on his first 10 holes whereas Uresti was struggling. Bensel’s birdie on the sixteenth moved him inside two photographs of the chief for the second time on the again 9. Bensel had the day’s second-lowest spherical, a 68.

“We got to the sixth hole and I saw Omar was 4-over and I was 3-under, so I knew I had a chance,” stated Bensel, a PGA Teaching Professional at Century Country Club in New York. “It’s tough to play with a big lead, so I just kept wanting to play well and keep making putts. I’m really happy with how I played.”

Ben Cook of Vero Beach, Florida, had three late birdies to rally for a 74 and end third at 6-under 281. Larkin Gross of Center Cross, Virginia, couldn’t match his third-round 64, capturing a 76 that left him fourth, a shot forward of Ben Polland (73-284) of Bloomington, Minnesota.

While Uresti hung on for the win, many of the focus Wednesday was to see which PGA Professionals completed within the prime 20 to land a treasured spot within the 2021 PGA Championship.

Stuart Smith of Reno, Nevada, made the day’s largest transfer along with his 7-under 65 propelling him 60 spots up the leaderboard into sixth place at 1-under 286. Smith was tied with defending champion Alex Beach (70) of Stillwater, Minnesota. Brett Walker (70-287) of Ukiah, California, earned a PGA spot by ending tied for eighth with Danny Balin (71) of Lake Success, New York; Tyler Collet (72) of Vero Beach, Florida; Peter Ballo (72) of Stamford, Connecticut; Joe Summerhays (73) of Syracuse, Utah; Derek Holmes (78) of Cottage Grove, Minnesota; and Brad Marek (74) of Berkeley, California.

There was a five-way playoff for the ultimate 4 PGA spots between Mark Geddes (74) of Coronado, California; Greg Koch (73) of Orlando; Patrick Rada (74) of Jupiter, Florida; Sonny Skinner (75) of Sylvester, Georgia; and Cody Haughton (76) of Canton, Michigan. Haughton was odd man out after lacking out on the PGA with a bogey.

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