Written by Jeremy Beale

Record-Breaking Comeback Leads Joanna Coe, PGA to 2019 PGA Stroke Play Championship Victory

Everyone loves a great comeback story and PGA Professional Joanna Coe’s performance at the PGA Women’s Stroke play Championship in Port St. Lucie, Flo., is truly deserving of one.

Coe’s story began during her second round of the Stroke Play Championship, 4-over-par and 10 places away from day one leader, Seul-Ki Park (-2).

2019 PGA Winter Series: Women’s Stroke Play from PGA of America on Vimeo.

She fought back up the leaderboard during her second round on the PGA Club – Ryder Course, making four consecutive birdies on the front nine (holes 3-6) and then again on the back nine (Nos. 11-14). Coe finished her second round with a single round record breaking score of 64 (-8).

“I putted a lot better as opposed to [Monday], when I had four 3-putts and just made a bunch of bad errors,” Coe told the PGA of America. “[Tuesday] was my first time playing the Ryder (Course) and I kept it simple. In the fairway, hit my wedges close and I made a bunch of putts.”

However, Coe traveled back to the PGA Club – Wannamaker Course for the final round which proved to be difficult during her first round. During the final round of competition, Coe carded a 2-over-par, 74 on which put her at a tournament total 2-under-par (76-64-74—214).

Coe admitted she didn’t know where she stood coming into the final hole of the tournament. “I just wanted to make a par on the last hole because I know it’s a tough one,” she said.

“It’s uncomfortable the day after shooting a 64, and I’m well aware of that,” Coe told PGA.com. “I wanted to eliminate the big mistakes and I made a couple of key par saves coming in.”

With one last par putt, Coe was able to win the tournament by one-stroke, finishing over runner-up, Brittany Kelly, PGA of the Indiana Section.

In addition to Coe’s win she received $1,800 and a bid to the 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Mn., on June 18-23. She will also make an appearance at the ShopRite LPGA Classic at Seaview Hotel & Golf Club on June 3-9.

When asked what this win meant to her by PGA.com, she said:

“I am thrilled. It’s the best way to cap off my trip to Florida. The golf courses were great. I loved being around these girls and [PGA President] Suzy Whaley, which was a really cool feeling. I am super excited to bring this win back to Baltimore Country Club.”

Whaley presented Coe with her award and congratulated her on a well-deserved victory.

The 2019 PGA Stroke Play Championship was a part of the PGA Winter Series presented by Golf Adviser and Prime Sports.

Written by Jeremy Beale

Final-hole birdie propels Steve Schneiter and Rick Schuller to Four-Ball Stableford Team Championship

Congratulations to Rick Schuller and his partner Steve Schneiter for a comeback win at the PGA of America Four Ball Stableford Team Championship!

Schneiter, a PGA Assistant Professional at Schneiter’s Pebblebrook Golf Course in Sandy, Utah, rolled home an eight-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole of the Dye Course to clinch the title and share a $10,000 first-place prize. Schneiter and Schuller, a PGA Teaching Professional at Stonehenge Golf and Country Club in Richmond, Virginia, closed the 54-hole event with 45 points based upon 20 birdies, one eagle and no bogeys.

“I love competing with Steve more than against him,” said Schuller, the 2009 PGA Professional Player of the Year. “He’s a grinder and he never gives up and will be there at the end. We’ve competed against each other to know each other’s strengths. We share common interests outside of golf.”

That closing birdie putt was worth two points in the Stableford scoring format, boosting Schneiter and Schuller past two duos deadlocked at 43 points – defending champions Mark Brown of Oyster Bay, New York and Joshua Rackley, Brookville, New York; and Gary Trivisonno, Aurora, Ohio and Dwayne Randall, Clymer, New York.

Schuller praised his partner for his signature grit, and for finding a way to play through pain and uncertainty of a near-tragic injury. Last year, Schneiter – the 1995 PGA Professional Champion – had his right index finger nearly severed in a maintenance accident while working as superintendent at his family’s golf course. The tendons and nerves, he said, haven’t healed well.

“I still have therapy on the finger,” said Schneiter. “It gets numb as we go through the round. I can see the shots, but I can’t quite get through them. You put so much pressure on the forefinger, especially as a right-handed player.”

Schneiter and Schuller found their groove on the Dye Course, where they totaled 34 points over their final 36 holes. In the final round, they combined for seven birdies – including three straight by Schuller from Holes 5 through 7.

They credited their opponents in their foursome – Adam Rainaud of Chester, Connecticut, and Scott Berliner of Sebastian, Florida, for pushing them. Rainaud and Berliner finished fifth with 41 points.

“We knew we needed to get a pair of birdies on two of the final three holes,” said Schuller. “We both missed our chances on No. 16, then Steve nearly chips in for eagle on 17. I don’t know how it didn’t go in. At 18, I limped my putt up there for a four and gave him the green light special.”

Schneiter hit a 52-degree sand wedge from 115 yards that came to rest eight feet from the hole. Keeping the flagstick in as part of one of the new 2019 Rules of Golf, Schneiter ran the putt home. “I was shaking,” he said with a grin.

Several MAPGA teams performed well. Brendan McGrath/John O’Leary had a strong 17 point final round to finish T7. First and Second Round leaders Bob Dolan/Steve Delmar had a disappointing 4 point final round to finish 10th.

Joanna Coe and Greg Pieczynski finished tied for 13th place at +34. Coe was one of five women entered in the Championship, and the only one to make the 36 hole cut. Yong Joo/Joe Lussier finished 31st. Congratulations to all.

Written by Jeremy Beale


My name is Johnathan and I am a graduate of Johnson & Wales University of Charlotte, North Carolina. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Sports/Event/Entertainment Management specifically concentrating in golf operations management. I started playing the game of golf
in my hometown of Fort Washington, Md., when I was 7 years old and would like to continue my work in the golf industry. I was actively engaged in The First Tee program of Prince George’s County. Without my mentors of Ed Artis, Pua Ponafala and Joe Chase, my passion for the game of golf wouldn’t make me the person I am today.

I have continued to participate in golf tournaments by volunteering for past nine years at the AT&T National, U.S. Open, Melwood Prince George’s County Open, and the Senior PGA Championship. My average handicap consists of 79 lowest to 83 highest.

While attending Johnson & Wales, I advocated for the athletics department to start a golf team, however, they were not prepared to fund the team and could not drive a high enough level of interest from the student body. I continued to practice and network on my own. Unfortunately my school still did not have a golf team by the time I graduated college. With the help of my professors, I was able to distinguish myself and obtain a well -rounded knowledge about about operations, event management and trends within the golf industry. 

My pursuit of getting involved in the golf industry comes strictly from the perseverance and the mentorship my professors and coaches taught me at a early age. Their counseling helped me to research and discover the PGA Professional Golf Management Program. Being a part of the PGA is a privilege I do not take lightly and working for the Middle Atlantic Section of the PGA is a life dream that is more than I could possibly have imagined. Looking forward whether managing tournament operations or member relations, the skill set of organization, efficiency, compassion, understanding, and time management will all benefit and me in contributing towards the Middle Atlantic Section’s mission.

Written by Jeremy Beale

2019 MAPGA Section Award Recipients

The MAPGA Section Awards Committee is pleased to announce its 2019 Awards Class.  These individuals will join Hall of Fame Inductees Mike Ahrnsbrak, PGA  and Wayne DeFrancesco, PGA and be honored at our 2019 MAPGA Awards Banquet on March 23, 2019, at Lakewood Country Club.  Congratulations to all our winners!  Special thanks to the Awards Committee for their hard work in reviewing and making tough decisions on many award applications.  Our Awards Committee is made up of all of last year’s award winners, Chapter Presidents, and Section Officers, chaired by Honorary President Matthew Schulze, PGA.

PGA Professional of the Year

David Dorn, PGA

Woodmont Country Club
Bethesda, Maryland

Horton Smith Award

Jim Fitzgerald, PGA

Chevy Chase Club
Chevy Chase, Maryland

Teacher of the Year

Joy Bonhurst, PGA

Blue Mash Golf Course
Laytonsville, Maryland

Youth Player Development Award

Eric Layton, PGA

The Country Club of Virginia
Richmond, Virginia

Bill Strausbaugh Award

Lynne Hunter, PGA

Kenwood Golf & Country Club
Bethesda, Maryland

Assistant PGA Professional of the Year

Eli Mireles, PGA

Burning Tree Club
Bethesda, Maryland

Merchandiser of the Year (Private)

Ted Pogorelc, PGA

Bethesda Country Club
Bethesda, Maryland

Earle Hellen Sports Media Award

Chick Hernandez

Sports Anchor
Washington, D.C.

Player Development Award

Jeff Maynor, PGA

University of Maryland Golf Course
College Park, Maryland

Salesperson of the Year

Bobby Acciardo

Annapolis, Maryland

President’s Award


(MAPGA award for exceptional
contributions to golf and to the Section)

David Wortman Citizen of the Year

Col. Dick Johns, USA Ret.

Former Executive Director
Middle Atlantic PGA
Written by Jeremy Beale

Steve Delmar Finishes Runner-Up at 42nd National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. –  Steve Delmar of Rockville, Maryland, charged through 72 holes of the National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida, ultimately to place runner-up behind 2018 Champion, Kenny Pigman of Norco, California.

Delmar, began the final day two strokes behind Pigman, and birdied the 18th hole for a 68 and finished four strokes back at 11-under-par (68-68-73-68–277). Utilizing a furious rally to get to the top of the leaderboard, Delmar finished strong during the final day of competition. He made three birdies on the last three holes with seven birdies total throughout his final round.

“I made a long birdie at 13 and when Kenny hit it into the hazard at 14, I was thinking if I could birdie there, it would be a two-stroke swing,” said Delmar, who had missed the cut in two previous Championship trips. “I hit a good shot in there and couldn’t make birdie. Then at 15, he rolled in a 20-footer for birdie. I knew then it wasn’t going to happen. Getting solo second, I’ll take that.”

Through his first two rounds, Delmar had converted 12 birdies, three of which came directly after a bogey. During the second round of competition, he responded to his fourth bogey of the Championship (No. 11) with a pair of back-to-back birdies on 13-14 and 16-17. “A dramatic difference that can be attributed to his execution following missteps,” Pat Kravitz writer for the PGA of America said.

By placing in the top four Delmar has earned an exemption into next year’s National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship (November 14-17) at PGA Golf Club.


The National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship is supported by Srixon | Cleveland Golf | XXIO, GolfAdvisor.com and John Deere

Written by Jeremy Beale

Steve Delmar Gains Control at the National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship

By Pat Kravitz

PGA of America

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (Nov. 16, 2018) –  Steve Delmar of Rockville, Maryland, has solo command through 36 holes of the National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Delmar, who turns 31 one week from today, is hoping to secure an early birthday present and has posted a pair of 4-under 68s on the Wanamaker Course to gain a two-stroke advantage over Kenny Pigman of Norco, California.

Making his third appearance in the Championship, Delmar will stay the weekend for the first time, having missed the cut in 2015 and 2016 – a dramatic difference that can be attributed to his execution following a misstep.

“Pretty solid start so far. Yesterday, every time I made a bogey, I followed with a birdie,” said Delmar, a PGA Associate at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Maryland. “More of the same today. I wasn’t that comfortable; I just scored well. We’re only halfway done, but I definitely feel good about my position.”

Through two rounds, Delmar has converted 12 birdies, three of which came directly after a bogey. He responded to his fourth bogey of the Championship (No. 11) with a pair of back-to-back birdies on 13-14 and 16-17 and will ride the momentum into the weekend.

Pigman is no stranger to success when competing against fellow PGA Assistant Professionals. In six appearances in his PGA Section’s National Car Rental Southern California Assistant PGA Professional Championship, Pigman owns a 50% win-rate with three victories (2014, ’17, ’18) – each in come-from-behind fashion. To earn a victory this week, Pigman will have to lean on that familiar experience.

“There weren’t too many highlights today,” said Pigman, a PGA Assistant Professional at Goose Creek Golf Club in Mira Loma, California. “I struggled from holes 8 to 12 – just lost my swing. Fortunately, I played well coming in, but there’s a lot of golf to be played.”

A double-bogey at the 8th and a pair of bogeys on 11 and 12 slid Pigman’s name down the leaderboard, but he rebounded with back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16 to maintain a solid position.

Also chasing Delmar are Alan Morin of Royal Palm Beach, Florida, and Drew Bateman of Marble, North Carolina – each sitting in a tie for third at 5-under 139. Morin has four top-12 finishes in the Championship since 2013, while Bateman is making his first appearance.

With a victory this week, Delmar would become the second consecutive winner from the Middle Atlantic PGA Section. Ryan Zylstra, formerly of Richmond, Virginia, and now a resident of Naples, Florida, captured the 2017 Championship. Zylstra (T-60) also advanced to the weekend but will have plenty of ground to make up after a 74-75-149 start.

Seventy players advanced to the weekend, as the field was cut to the low 70 scorers and ties.

This week’s champion, if eligible, will earn a berth in the 2019 PGA Professional Championship, which is slated for April 28-May 1 at Belfair in Bluffton, South Carolina. The winner will also receive $12,000 of the $150,000 purse.

The top-four finishers, if eligible, will earn a berth in next year’s National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship, to be held November 14-17 at PGA Golf Club.


The National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship is supported by Srixon | Cleveland Golf | XXIO, GolfAdvisor.com and John Deere

Written by Jeremy Beale

Guest Speaker Sandy Cross Educates the Section About the Fundamentals of Diversity and Inclusion

FREDERICKSBURG, VA—“Diversity really represents all of the things that make us special and inclusion harnesses those differences and creates an environment of involvement, respect and connection where various backgrounds and richness of perspectives are harnessed to really create value,” Sandy Cross, PGA of America Head of Diversity and Inclusion said.

Cross spoke at the 2018 Middle Atlantic PGA Section Fall Membership Meeting about “The Fundamentals of Diversity and Inclusion.”  As she spoke to Golf Professionals, Golf Associates and industry leaders Cross provided an in-depth presentation about better understanding, recognizing and overcoming unconscious bias to help create a more inclusive game, business and workforce.

“There are organizations that are diverse, but that doesn’t mean they’re inclusive,” she said. “A lot of businesses will take the initiative to put diversity and inclusion in their mission statement but will believe that everyone knows they are welcome.”

As cross quoted a minority-majority misnomer from a census report, the numbers spoke volume to the potential future of the game.

According to a census study, 92 percent of the population growth has come from multicultural ethnic groups, with 4 and 10 Americans identifying as something other than non-Hispanic Caucasian. Those under the age of 24 are currently projected to be the last Caucasian majority group.

However, this projection does not align with the current census within the golf industry.

“Think about the Golf industry and the positive and negative assumptions that have been made by others outside the industry,” Cross said. “What assumptions are they making about the game or the industry [and] what assumption might we be making about others that aren’t a part of the game or industry? Do we assume that everyone outside the industry knows that they are welcome to play or work in golf.”

In 2015 an organization called Golf 2020 conducted a study about the 12 leading golf organizations, including the PGA of America. The study found more than 90 percent of their board, senior leadership and staff were respectively Caucasian.

“Golf is a game of invitation,” Cross said. We want individuals from different backgrounds playing and enjoying this game and having successful careers in this business. That is what is truly going to evolve and grow the success of this business and game.”

[A photo gallery of minorities within the game and business of golf.]


While golf is an $84 Billion industry, non-Caucasian minority groups combined make up $3.5 trillion of this Nations spending power and Millennials make up 43 percent.

Cross said it is natural to be drawn to others that look like yourself, but when we ask ourselves why the pace of change in America, outpaces the rate of change in the golf industry—the answer leads to another question—”are we inviting multi-cultural individuals to be a part of the game.”

“As we look to overcome bias, we really have to become aware of the possibility that we have bias and allow ourselves to experience new possibilities and different perspectives,” Cross said.  “The goal is to examine different perspectives and really immerse ourselves in different environments.”

She said, we really need to evolve and disrupt the status quo. In turn, the PGA needs to embrace the idea of overt representation—“if you can see it you can be it.” The PGA also needs to cast out a wider net to find more diverse consumers, suppliers and workforce outside of the industry.

“We have the power as an organization, section and industry to disrupt the self-reinforcing vortex of sameness,” Cross said. “If we each invited difference into the game—just one individual of a different background […] that would be unbelievably powerful.”

According to Cross, businesses which provide multiple perspectives around the table with multiple backgrounds are going to be more innovative and more successful in every regard. She said everyone wants to be recognized as an individual, especially minorities. They want to be recognized and seen for who they are and all the richness that they bring.

She asked the audience to imagine the possibility of inviting various ethnicities, women, LGBTQ+, veterans, and people with disability into the game and business of golf. What would that look like?

“Don’t hesitate to reach out to multicultural organizations as they will be really happy that you offered the opportunity to make meaningful changes at your organization,” she said.“It is a really powerful way to signal that your facility is inclusive. When some of those diversified people, businesses or organizations earn that opportunity on their own merit, their interest in the game will grow.”

Cross also showed a video from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) about unconscious bias. The video explained living our lives with blind spots can put us in a self-deprecating tunnel of the same viewpoints, decisions and outcomes, ultimately leading to an unending cycle of snap judgments and misconceptions.

“Our choices have consequences and by accepting that these blind spots exist we can stop them,” PWC said. “Imagine the possibilities that exist if we could do it all over again—different perspectives, inclusive relationships, diverse networks and better outcomes. Seeing people for who they really are—people with unlimited potential.”

Cross asked that everyone try to put diversity and inclusion at the top of their agendas and find out if they are truly hitting the mark. She asked that they track milestones and micro-moments of inclusion to assist with creating sustainable change.“Diversity and inclusion can’t depend on any single person—you need to have buy-in from everyone.”

“There is a real power in creating a diverse and inclusive environment,” Cross said. “It is through innovation, anticipation and response to change that will ultimately lead to better financial outcomes.”

The Section hopes this presentation helped everyone in attendance learn how to capitalize on the business benefits of diversity and inclusion and will utilize the information to grow their facilities and help grow the game to look more like America.

Thank you Sandy Cross for coming to speak to our Section.

Written by Jeremy Beale

Take it E-Z Player: Jim Estes wins 2018 MAPGA Players Cup

HAVRE DE GRACE, MD — The 2018 E-Z-GO MAPGA Players Cup at Bulle Rock Golf Club, proved to be an exciting event October 15 -16, as Jim Estes, PGA at Olney Golf Park won the tournament by carding a two-day total 1-under-par (72-71—143) and beating Steve Delmar (Columbia Country Club) in a two-hole playoff.

After the conclusion of the first day Estes (Even-Par) was tied for seventh and two strokes off the day one leaders (Dustin Moser, Joanna Coe, John O’Leary and Bryan Jackson) who were all 2-under-par.

In typical Pete Dye fashion, Bulle Rock continued to be a shot-makers course that challenged even the best section professionals. While many of the day one leaders fought to maintain their composure under pressure, Estes pushed through the final day making four birdies against three bogies.

All three of Estes bogies were on the front Nine and he shot a bogey-free back Nine.  But, he still had more work to do as his finish placed him in a playoff against Steve Delmar (Columbia Country Club) who also carded a two-day total 1-under-par (71-72—143).

The playoff went on for two holes, in which Estes went birdie-birdie to receive his win.

With Delmar’s runner-up finish in the Players Cup, he also emerged victorious as the Assistant Professional Association (APA) Champion held concurrently. He made three birdies against three bogies the final day to finish even-par after a 1-under-par finish during the opening round.

Joe Lussier of 1757 Golf Course finished with a two-day total 1-Over-Par (73-72—145) to be APA Runner-up. Alexander Simmons (Farmington Country Club) and Blake Brookman (Cedar Point Country Club) finished tied for third at 2-over-par.  Brookman was also named APA Player of the Year.

Four Professionals finished tied for Third in the Players Cup:

T3           Yong Joo              E              F              E              72           72           144

T3           David Hutsell     +1           F              E              71           73           144

T3           John O’Leary      +2           F              E              70           74           144

T3           Joanna Coe         +2           F              E              70           74           144

With another top finish for O’Leary he won OMEGA Player of the Year.

Full Results: https://mapga.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/mapga18/event/mapga1842/contest/25/leaderboard.htm

In the Senior Division of The 2018 E-Z-GO MAPGA Players Cup at Bulle Rock Golf Club, Rick Schuller, PGA (Stonehenge Golf and Country Club) had the lowest rounds both days, finishing with an impressive 9-under-par (69-66—135).

Schuller finished the opening round with four birdies and an eagle (Hole No.15) against a bogey and double bogey (3-under-par). But he didn’t stop there—Schuller came back the final day and carded a 6-under-par (bogey free round) with three birdies on the front and back nine of the course.

Dirk Schultz, PGA (Beaver Creek Country Club) who recently came from two major senior division wins—the MAPGA Senior Championship and Maryland Senior State Open—finished Runner-up with a 2-under-par (72-70—142).

There are still two events left in the MAPGA Omega Senior Player of the Year rankings—the PGA Professional Championship and Senior Match Play Finals.

Full Results: https://mapga.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/mapga18/event/mapga1842/contest/53/leaderboard.htm

Thank you to the Bulle Rock staff for helping us put on an exciting event and congratulation to all of our champions.


Written by Jeremy Beale

Congratulations to our 2019 PNC Qualifiers

The 2018 MAPGA Professional Championship wasn’t the only thing Bryan Jackson, PGA, walked away with on September 26 from Baltimore Country Club. He also earned the opportunity to compete in the 52nd PGA Professional Championship at Belfair in Bluffton, South Carolina in Spring 2019. The PGA Professional Championship is presented by Club Car and OMEGA.

Currently, a total of 14 MAPGA Professionals will travel to Belfair, April 28-May 1, 2019 to compete on the award-winning 36-hole, private golf club for the world’s largest all-professional event along with more than 290 other PGA Professionals. The championship field is comprised of players who advance from the 41 PGA Section Championships, along with exempt past champions. The low 20 scorers at Belfair will also earn a berth in the 2019 PGA Championship to be played May 16-19, 2019 at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, New York. All four rounds of the PGA Professional Championship will be broadcast live on Golf Channel.

Listed below are the 11 PGA Professionals that qualified for the PNC Qualifiers via the 2018 MAPGA Professional Championship. They will be joined by 3 MAPGA Professionals who received exemptions: David Hutsell (Pine Ridge GC) – 2011 National Champion; Chip Sullivan (PGA Member) – 2013 National Champion, and Craig Callens (Hermitage CC) Top 20 in 2018 PGA Professional Championship.


Written by Jeremy Beale

A Journey to Victory: Bryan Jackson, PGA, Wins 2018 MAPGA Professional Championship

Often times the longest roads walked, lead to the greatest of journeys. This couldn’t be truer for Bryan Jackson, PGA, who won the 2018 MAPGA Professional Championship, September 26 at the Baltimore Country Club in Timonium, Maryland.

Jackson birdied three of his last four holes to spark a stirring comeback and final round 65 to win his first MAPGA Section Championship.

As Jackson pushed his body and mind through three treacherous days of rocky paths and rolling hills, he reached what some might call the pinnacle of success within the Middle Atlantic Section—a Professional Championship victory.

Over the span of the first two days, Jackson waded through rainy, humid, foggy and wet course conditions before the sun reared itself on the final day, showing him the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

Upon conclusion the opening round, Jackson sat five strokes behind 2017 Defending Champion Josh Speight (Indian Creek Yacht & CC) who opened with a sparkling 4-under-par, 66. The second day showed promise as the gaps between the leaders grew smaller. Speight fell back to 1-under-par and Scott Shapin (Old South CC) took the lead heading into the third and final round at, 2-under-par.

Jackson, still a ways behind at 4-over-par heading into the final round, began to gradually climb up the leaderboard. On the front nine, Jackson shot 1-under-par, moving into the Top 5 overall. However, this was not the end of Jackson’s journey as he still had the back nine to make a final push towards the top of the leaderboard.

Unbeknownst to Jackson, as Speight and Shapin began to fall further down the leaderboard, he began to steadily climb to the top. Jackson made four birdies on the back nine to finish the tournament at 1-under par.

This placed him in a tie for first with three-time champion David Hutsell (Pine Ridge GC). Hutsell had hovered around even-par for the first two-days, just behind the first and second round leaders.

Hutsell opened his final round opening with five birdies against two bogies to go 3-under-par.  He continued to play aggressively trying to distance himself from the pack. However, he struggled to make birdies on the inward nine. He missed a crucial par putt on Hole No. 15 and two 6-to-8 foot birdie putts on his final three holes to guarantee him his fourth championship victory.

The playoff between Jackson and Hutsell lasted two holes with each competitor fighting the tension that was in the air.

On the first playoff hole (BCC No. 2), Hutsell was at the center of the fairway and Jackson ended up in the left rough, narrowly missing going out of bounds. Hutsell, who was actively conversing with his caddie, Brian Meyer (Mount Pleasant GC) to capitalize on his advantage into the green hit his ball long of the green and wound up in a green-side bunker.

Jackson, pinned against a tree line and hitting out of thick rough, contemplated his shot on his own. As tension arose whether he would make it out of such conditions he hit a screaming shot to the middle of the green where he was 25-30 feet from the pin. This was what some would have said was the shot of the day.

Hutsell proceeded to hit out of the bunker just barely skirting passed the right side of the hole to get up-and-down with a 3-foot putt for par. Jackson putt the ball just short of the hole, then made a testy downhill two-footer for his par to push the playoff to the second hole (BCC No.1).

With Jackson wavering in energy, four-time MAPGA Champion, Rick Schuller (Stonehenge G&CC) offered Jackson a helping hand as a caddie. Sometimes along the journey you just need a friend to keep you company along the way.

As both players teed off the first hole, they both ended up within feet of one another on the fairway. Then from their second shot, both Professionals once again ended up slightly above pin high on opposite sides of the hole.

Hutsell and Meyer actively navigated the break for their first putt to put pressure on Jackson. As Hutsell firmly struck the ball towards the hole, he began to watch eagerly as the ball rolled towards the edge of the hole. The ball agonizingly caught the edge and lipped out and Hutsell cleaned up for par.

Once again the pressure was on Jackson. With some helpful advice from his caddie Schuller, they began to read the breaks in the green. Schuller told Jackson he had been in this position before and he had narrowly missed the left-to-right break the last time.

Jackson walked up to the ball one final time and struck it. As everyone around the green watched the ball roll, Jackson could not calm his feet. He began to move towards the hole as the ball rolled towards the center of the cup. His fist began to tighten and before he had time to process it, the ball dropped into the center of the cup. Jackson thrust his fist in the air as he became the 2018 Professional Champion.

As he did everything to maintain his composure, he covered his face with the brim of his hat to keep the tears from streaming down his face. Jackson was overjoyed and emotional as to what he had accomplished.

This year had been tough for Jackson after the passing of his mother not too long before the tournament and some personal health and work issues, but with the win he was able to honor his mother’s memory and bring home two championship trophies, $10,000 in winnings and good news for his daughter’s birthday which was during the final round of the tournament.

Jackson trying to fight back the tears during the awards ceremony tried his hardest to explain such an incomparable accomplishment.

“People have those rounds where they have this confidence over the ball and to do it for five and half hours [round plus playoff] and keep that concentration is hard,” he said. “This was the best round of my life considering the circumstances and I probably won’t realize what I’ve done for about a week.”

He applauded Baltimore Country Club on the management of the course due to the wet course conditions and all the walking he had to do. But at the end of the day, the journey was worth it. “I might walk all of my rounds now,” Jackson said before thanking everyone who supported him throughout his round.

As they say it’s not about how you got there, but the journey you had along the way.

Thank you to Director of Golf Greg Jones and the BCC staff, in particular, their golf maintenance staff, for helping us host a fantastic event.


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