Alex Beach wins 52nd PGA Professional Championship

Darren Carroll/PGA of America

Alex Beach wins 52nd PGA Professional Championship

PGA

Alex Beach wins 52nd PGA Professional Championship

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BLUFFTON, S.C. — Alex Beach of Stamford, Conn., parlayed a four-stroke swing over five holes to shoot 3-under-par 69 and win the 52nd PGA Professional Championship on Wednesday at Belfair.

Beach, an assistant professional at Westchester Country Club in Harrison, N.Y., finished with a 72-hole total of 10-under-par 277, two strokes ahead of a good friend, Danny Balin of Irvington, N.Y. Balin finished with a 1-under-par 71, and then it was another four strokes back to third place and Stuart Deane of Arlington, Texas.

“It kind of felt like match play,” said Beach. “Danny’s a tough opponent and he’s not going to make a lot of mistakes, so I felt like I had to capitalize on every opportunity I could. My putter was ice cold yesterday and I was fortunate that it heated up a bit today.”

Beach and Balin began the final round tied for the lead, but then Balin went ahead by two through the first five holes.

The day turned, however, over the next six holes. Beach raced ahead with three straight birdies starting at the par-4 sixth, and then Balin bogeyed Nos. nine, 10 and 11. Balin three-putted the ninth, then failed to get up and down from the right rough at No. 10.

He went three strokes down to Beach at the par-4 11th, where he three-putted from 12 feet, including a miss from inside 18 inches.

“Just slid off a little to the right,” said Balin.

SCORES: PGA Professional Championship

Alex Beach poses with the Walter Hagen Cup after winning the 52nd PGA Professional Championship on May 1, 2019 in Bluffton, S.C. Photo: Darren Carroll/PGA of America

Though Balin eventually closed to within one, Beach made a great birdie at the par-4 16th to increase his advantage. He drove into the left rough but then hit a 171-yard 8-iron, over a massive tree, to 4 feet.

Balin and Beach are longtime friends, and their relationship extends beyond the fact that they represent the same PGA Section. When Balin accepted a new job weeks ago, his old position at Westchester Country Club in Harrison, N.Y., was filled by Beach.

With his performance at Belfair, Balin added another highlight to an outstanding PGA Professional Championship résumé. In six career starts, he is a perfect 6-for-6 in qualifying for the PGA Championship and has never finished worse than 18th.

Each of the top 20 finishers at Belfair earned places in the starting field at the 101st PGA Championship in two weeks at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course in Farmingdale, N.Y.

Advancing to the PGA Championship

Alex Beach -10

Danny Balin -8

Stuart Deane -4

Jason Caron -2

Ben Cook -2

Rich Berberian Jr. -1

Rod Perry -1

Jeffrey Schmid E

Marty Jertson E

Casey Russell E

Brian Mackey E

Ryan Vermeer E

Rob Labritz E

Craig Bowden +1

Justin Bertsch +1

John O’Leary +1

Cory Schneider +2

Craig Hocknull +2

Andrew Filbert +3

Tyler Hall +3

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