Whitford Country Club assistant pro Andrew Turner led the Philadelphia Section PGA contingent in round 1 at the National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship Thursday at the PGA Golf Club’s Wanamaker Course in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Turner carded a 1-over 73 over the 7,123-yard, par-72 Wanamaker Course that proved to be a tough test for the best assistant pros in the country. Turner had a steady round that featured three bogeys and two birdies.
Turner is five shots back of leader Evan Wartgow of Koshkonong Mounds Country Club in Wisconsin, whose 4-under 68 was the only sub-70 round of the day.
Starting on the back nine, Wartgow made birdie at the 12th and bogey at the 14th before a birdie, eagle outburst at 15 and 16, respectively, quickly got him to 3-under. A bogey at 18 left him at 2-under heading for the front nine, where he made birdies at three and seven to finish at 4-under.
Wartgow leads a group of five players who each carded a 2-under 70 by two shots. Included in that group are: Jack Lempke of Bent Tree Country Club in Texas; Patrick Brady of Colorado National Golf Club in Colorado; Paul Apolenis of Stoneleigh Golf Club in Virginia; Chris Zumpano of Oak Hill Country Club in New York; and Dakun Chang of Twin Orchards Country Club in Illinois.
Also from the Philadelphia Section, Lookaway Golf Club’s Michael Little is a shot back of Turner in a tie for 37th with a 2-over 74, Sunnybrook Golf Club’s Corey McAlarney, recent winner of the Philadelphia Section PGA’s Match Play Championship, is tied for 81st with a 77 and Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Tony Perla is tied for 123rd with an 82.
Gene Fieger, who dominated the Philadelphia Section as an assistant pro at Overbrook Golf Club in the 1990s, is tied for 16th after matching par with a 72. Fieger is playing out of The Club Pelican Bay in Naples, Fla.
The field will be cut to the low 70 and ties following Friday’s second round. The winner gets $9,000 out of a total purse of $100,000 and also earns a berth in next June’s PGA Professional Championship at the Sunriver Resort in Oregon.