14 Under Par for the Weekend, Hebert Wins Senior Club Pro; Berry Ties for 29th
October 6, 2019
AUSTIN, Texas -- Seven holes into the final round of the National Senior Club Pro Championship on Sunday, Scott Hebert was 1 over par for the day and trailed Frank Bensel Jr. by five shots. But then Hebert, who had shot a 9-under-par 63 Saturday on the Fazio Foothills Course at Barton Resort, began another assault on par. By the time he was done, he had birdied six holes in a 10-hole stretch (8 through 17), posted a final-round 67 and claimed a four-stroke victory.
Hebert's winning 72-hole total was 270 (16 under).
Along with the Leo Fraser Trophy, which goes each year to the winner, the 50-year-old head pro from Traverse City, Mich., collected a check for $21,500. Hebert also joined an exclusive club, as he became the third player to have won the National Club Pro Championship (2008) and the Senior Club Pro title. Only Steve Schneiter (1995, 2016) and Bob Sowards (2004, 2018) had done it previously.
Bensel, who made only two pars between the fifth hole and the 15th, ended up with a 72, and that put him into a three-way tie for second at 274. Jerry Haas (the brother of former PGA Tour regular Jay Haas, who is now on the Champions Tour) closed with a 67 to get into a tie with Bensel and Jeff Hart, who shot 69. Omar Uresti, 51, a former PGA Tour player and winner of the National Club Pro Championship (2017), was another stroke back, at 275, alone in fifth, after a Sunday 71.
There were 264 pros in the field when the tournament began Thursday morning on two courses, Fazio (par 72) and the Coore Crenshaw Course (par 70). After the 36-hole cut, both of the weekend rounds were played at Fazio.
By Saturday evening, Bensel had a one-shot lead over Hebert. So they were in the final group on Sunday, along with Uresti. Hebert made an early birdie at the second hold (373 yards, par 4), but he bogeyed the fourth and the sixth. Meanwhile, Bensel was working on a string of three conscutive birdies at the fifth (550 yards, par 5), sixth (390, par 4) and seventh (412, par 4).
The tide began to turn the par-5 eighth (505 yards), which Hebert birdied and Bensel bogeyed, reducing the lead to three strokes. When Bensel doubled the 428-yard, par-4 10th, Hebert was within one. He pulled even when he made a birdie at the drivable par-4 12th (278 yards), but Bensel made a birdie on top of his to reclaim his one-stroke lead.
At the 428-yard, par-4 13th, things were reversed, when Hebert made another birdie, and Bensel a bogey. There was another lead change at the 13th (156, par 3), as Bensel's birdie tied him with Hebert. They were both 13 under par at that point.
Up ahead, Haas was making a run, with four consecutive birdies at 12, 13, 14 and 15 (520, par 5), and he joined the tie for first.
Hebert took the lead for good when he birdied the 15th and Bensel bogeyed it (his second bogey of the day on a par-5), at roughly the same time that Haas was making a bogey at the 389-yard, par-4 16th.
Suddenly, Hebert was two shot in front, and he sealed the deal with two more birdies at the 16th and 17th (188, par 3).
"The way the day started," Hebert said afterward, "it didn't look like it was going to go this way. As good as I finished my round yesterday, I started that poorly today. But I got a little momentum going on the back nine."
His 67 on Sunday matched Haas for the low score of the day, and his 36-hole total of 130 -- 14 under par! -- for the weekend beat everyone else by seven shots. His four-round aggregate of 272 tied the tournament record.
Hebert, Bensel, Haas, Hart and Uresti also earned spots in the 2020 KitchenAid Senior PGA, a Champions Tour major that will be played at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich., (May 21-24).
Also gaining places in the Senior PGA were all those who finished in the top 35 plus ties.
Included on the list was Don Berry, 57, the longtime head pro at Edinburgh USA. He shot 72 on Sunday for cumulative 282 (4 under) and a tie for 29th.
Having shot 67 at Fazio on Saturday, Berry didn't get off the best start on Sunday. He bogeyed the first hole. A birdie at the third, a bogey at the sixth and another birdie at the eighth had him at even par as he made the turn, but he started the back nine the same way he started the front, with a bogey. But he birdied the 12th, 13th and 15th holes, which put him at 6 under for the tournament. Had he finished that way, he would have tied for 16th, but a double bogey at the 16th dropped him out of the top 20.
Nevertheless, Berry was still able to reserve his place at Harbor Shores next May, and he was the only Minnesotan to make the 54-hole cut (there were cuts after 36 and 54 holes). While he was at it, he also secured the Minnesota Section PGA Senior Player of the Year Award for the seventh time in the eight years he's been eligible to win it.
A week ago, Berry tied for second place in the Minnesota Golf Champions tournament -- one shot behind the winner, Trent Peterson -- and thereby locked up the Minnesota Section Player of the Year Award.This is the 17th time he's won that award.
31st Senior PGA Professional Championship
At Barton Creek Resort
Fazio Foothills Course (6,780 yards, par 72)
& Coore Crenshaw Course (6,301 yards, par 70)
All 264 pros who started the tournament played each course once during the first two rounds. Those who made the cut played Fazio Foothills for the last two rounds.
1. Scott Hebert, Traverse City, Mich. 70-70-63-67--270 (-16)
T2. Jerry Haas, Winston-Salem, N.C. 70-67-70-67--274
T2. Frank Bensel Jr., Jupiter, Fla. 65-68-69-72--274
T2. Jeff Hart, Solana Beach, Calif. 70-67-68-69--274
5. Omar Uresti, Austin, Texas 72-63-69-71--275
T29. Don Berry, Edinburgh USA 69-74-67-72--282
54-hole cut -- 216
Larry Norland, Greenhaven 69-74-74--217
36-hole cut -- 144
Greg Avant, Lone Tree (Chandler, Ariz.) 72-73--145
Mike Barge, Hazeltiine National 74-74--148
George Smith, Club Champion 75-73--148
Craig Brischke, Tanners Brook 81-73--154
Bill Israelson, Vintage 78-78--156