Andrew Turner was tantalizingly close to the biggest top prize in any PGA Section tournament in the country when he was the runnerup in the Haverford Philadelphia PGA Classic at Sunnybrook Golf Club in Whitemarsh Township a year ago.
Turner was an assistant pro at Whitford Country Club at this time last year, but he has since moved into the pro shop at Sunnybrook. So this year he had a little home-course advantage and he used it to fire a 4-under-par 68 Tuesday and claim the whopping top prize of $100,000.
“I think the biggest check I ever won before this was five or six thousand bucks,” Turner told the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Joe Juliano. “So this is a little jump.”
Turner had eight birdies against four bogeys over the 6,850-yard, par-72 Sunnybrook layout. He was one of the early starters so he had a long day of waiting to see if anyone would challenge his total.
The challengers came and went with nobody getting closer than Jake Gerney of Trump National Golf Club Philadelphia, who was the runnerup with a 2-under 70.
Nine players finished in a big logjam tied for third at 1-under 71. The group was led by Radnor Valley Country Club head pro George Forster, who represented the Philadelphia Section PGA at last weekend’s KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Trump National Golf Club in Potomac Falls, Va. Forster, playing in his 12th PGA Tour Champions major championship, missed the cut as he struggled to an 83 in the second round in winds so strong play was halted for 45 minutes at one point.
Corey McAlarney, who worked in the Sunnybrook pro shop at this time last year but has since relocated to Squires Golf Club, was also in the group at 1-under.
Also in that group were Dave Quinn of Philmont Country Club, Stu Ingraham, the head of instruction at the M Golf Range in Newtown Square, two players from the Tavistock Country Club pro shot, Hugh Matthis and Greg Matthias, Steve Swartz of Regents’ Glen Country Club, Michael Caldwell of Bidermann Golf Club and Greg Farrow of Deerwood Country Club.
Six more players matched par at 72 to finish tied for 12th, led by French Creek Golf Club head pro Justin Riegel, who had it to 4-under through 12 holes, but gave four shots back down the stretch to end up at even-par.
Also at even par were Chris Gray of Rehoboth Beach Country Club, Kevin Kraft of Bumble Bee Hollow Golf Center, Curtis Kirkpatrick of Indian Springs Golf Club, Terry Hertzog of the Country Club of York, Orist Wells of Pittman Golf Club and Shane Matthews of Huntingdon Valley Country Club.
Turner, a 33-year-old product of Warwick High who resides in Honeybrook, had another near miss at this time last year when he came up a shot short of earning a spot in the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club in sectional qualifying at Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, N.J.
He'll get another shot at this year’s Open at Erin Hills in sectional qualifying Monday after earning co-medalist honors with an even-par 72 in a local qualifier at The Country Club of Scranton.