Hocknull wins Ariz. Open on course he once worked

Craig Hocknull after winning the 2013 Arizona Open.

Craig Hocknull shot rounds of 67-65-68 for a 16 under-par total of 200 to win the 68th Arizona Open by three strokes at Superstition Mountain Golf & Country Club.

Second place went to local professional Austyn Karle, who carded a 13-under 203 after posting rounds of 68-70-65. Karle, who started the final day in 10th place, shot the low round of the day (65) to move up the leaderboard. His card included six birdies and one eagle to go with his lone bogey on the par-3 17th.

Hocknull, who resides in Gilbert, Ariz. and has a limited exemption onto the Canadian and Web.com tours, is the first Southwest Section PGA member to win the Arizona Open since 2000. When not on the mini-tour circuit, Hocknull operates and teaches at Outback Golf Academy at Western Skies Golf Club in Mesa, Ariz.

“I was extremely pleased with the way I played today,” Hocknull said. “Coming off of a wrist injury, it feels good to play solid golf again.”

Hocknull's victory came in front of his mother and father, who flew 20 hours from Australia to see him play for only the second time as a professional.

“It was fun having a gallery following me around,” Hocknull said, “and to win here at Superstition Mountain where I spent five years as a teaching professional is really exciting.”

The 38-year-old Aussie, who was born in Papua New Guinea, has an Aboriginal name of Burrakarupuu and is a member of the Gumatj Tribe of Yolngu people. As did Adam Scott and Jason Day, Hocknull attended the Kooralbyn International School in Australia before moving to America to play college golf at Jackson State.

“Hocknull played steady all day,” said Curt Hudek, Executive Director of the Southwest Section. “His final birdie on the 18th hole capped off an exciting week for the Arizona PGA Section.”

The event was played on the 7,172 yard par-72 Prospector Course at Superstition Mountain Golf & Country Club – ranked No. 6 in Arizona on Golfweek's Best Courses You Can Play list.

Later in the week, Hocknull will travel to Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Ore., where he will compete in the 2013 PGA Professional National Championship.

Other notables in the field included former 2009 champion Curt Byrum, a PGA Tour winner and Golf Channel analyst, as well as 2011 champion Braxton Marquez.

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