Josh Speight has redeemed his 2016 Professional Championship second place finish and can now claim the Tom Utterback Trophy as his own. Speight’s overall 7-under-par made him the 2017 Middle Atlantic PGA Professional Champion at Farmington Country Club Wednesday.
Down two strokes at the beginning of the third round to Jimmy Flippen, Speight shot a 3-under-67 to claim the title. Two straight birdies on holes 13 and 14 gave Speight a two-stroke lead heading into the final stretch.
“I hit 3-wood to the back of the green on the par-4 13th,” Speight said. “Really, really good two-putt from 60 feet for the birdie there. I hit two perfect shots on 14 to make that birdie and I really thought I had a third on 15.”
Three off the lead on the first tee, Faber Jamerson put together a 32 on the front nine and was tied with Speight on the 13th hole. Speight’s birdie on 14 gave him a two-stroke lead after Jamerson bogeyed the hole following an errant tee shot to the right of the fairway.
From there, the two competitors parred the final four holes and Speight secured the Championship by two.
Speight finished the week with a three-day total 205, with scores of 68-70-67. He led the tournament with 49 holes of par or better and had 13 birdies, tied for best in the field.
“Round one I hit the ball well, but felt like I missed a lot of putts at Spring Creek,” Speight said. “Sixty-eight was a great score to start the tournament.”
In the 2016 Middle Atlantic Professional Championship Speight held a sizeable lead in the final few holes before hitting a ball out of bounds on 18. The error resulted in a playoff, which he lost to Jimmy Flippen.
“I’d say my most memorable shot today was the perfect tee shot I hit on 18,” Speight said. “It was a good way to finish and I was pretty happy how I played this week, especially after last year.”
Dirk Schultz had the best round of the day, shooting a 4-under-66 to claim third overall. Schultz previously won the MAPGA Professional Championship in 2013.
Speight will qualify to play in the 2017 PGA Professional National Championship among 11 other MAPGA Professionals.
Speight, Jamerson, Dirk Schultz, Craig Callens, Mike Gertzberg, Ricky Touma, John O’Leary, Jimmy Flippen, Jim Estes, Kent Graham, Mark Evenson and Adam Decker will be the 12 MAPGA Professionals to play in the national championship. Yong Joo and David Hutsell are exempt for the event.
The next event on the MAPGA calendar is the MAPGA Senior Championship, Quarter Century Championship and Senior Professional National Championship Qualifier will be held Aug. 28-29 at Army Navy Country Club.