Peter Clarke, an assistant pro at Manufacturers Golf & Country Club, dropped in a 35-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a playoff to earn his first Philadelphia Section PGA victory of the year in dramatic fashion Monday at Concord Country Club.
The winning putt gave Clarke the win in the TaylorMade Classic over reigning Omega Player of the Year Michael Little of Lookaway Golf Club after the two had finished tied at the end of regulation, each carding a 2-under 69 over the 6,590-yard, par-71 Concord layout.
The playoff started on Concord’s par-5 18th hole and both players reached the green in regulation. Clarke’s bomb put the pressure on Little and his birdie try just slid by, giving the win to Clarke and denying Little a repeat victory in the TaylorMade Classic.
“I’ve put in a lot of hard work this offseason and it feels incredible to have the hard work pay off,” Clarke told the Philadelphia PGA website. “Coming into the year, it was definitely a goal of mine to win an event. I hope that I can carry this momentum with me throughout the year.”
The TaylorMade also doubled as a Philadelphia Assistants’ Organization (PAO) event and Clarke made it a sweep by topping the assistant pros in the field as well.
Shawn Matthews of Huntingdon Valley Country Club and Greg Matthias of Tavistock Country Club just missed out on the playoff as they finished tied for third at 1-under 70. Andrew Turner of Sunnybrook Golf Club and Jakob Gerney of Trump National Philadelphia shared fifth place, each matching par with a 71.
Four more players – Brian Kelly of Bucknell Golf Club, Corey McAlarney of Squires Golf Club, Zac Oakley of Heritage Shores Golf Club and Greg Farrow of Deerwood Country Club – finished tied for seventh at 1-over 72.
Heading the list of nine players tied for 11th at 2-over 73 was Radnor Valley Country Club head pro George Forster, who is fine-tuning his game as he prepares to tee it up in the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, a PGA Tour Champions major which will be held Memorial Day weekend at Trump National Golf Club in Potomac Falls, Va.
Forster, who earned a trip to Trump National by finishing tied for seventh in the Senior PGA Professional Championship presented by GolfAdvisor and Mercedes Benz USA at the PGA Golf Club’s Wanamaker Course in Port St. Lucie, Fla. in November, will be playing in his 12th PGA Tour Champions major championship.
Applebrook Golf Club head pro Dave McNabb, who will also represent the Philadelphia Section PGA in the Senior PGA Championship, posted a 5-over 76 at Concord to finish tied for 40th.
Also in the group tied for 11th at 2-over 73 were: Philadelphia Country Club head pro Scott Reilly, Brett Milton of Radley Run Country Club, Andy Watters of Talamore Country Club, Mark Sheftic, Merion Golf Club’s head of instruction, Spring-Ford Country Club head pro Rich Steinmetz, Kevin Kraft of the Bumble Bee Hollow Golf Center, Sean Szerencsits of Southmoore Golf Club, Terry Hertzog of the Country Club of York and Mike Furey of Mahoning Valley Country Club.