Gulph Mills Golf Club assistant pro Jordan Gibbs, an impressive winner of the Philadelphia Section PGA Championship last year, led the Section contingent in the opening round of the PGA Professional Championship Sunday at the Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Ore. with an even-par 71 at the Meadows Course.
Gibbs had a steady round that included two birdies, at the fourth and 17th holes, against two bogeys, at the 13th and 14th holes, over the 6,974, par-71 Meadows Course. That left him tied for 33rd.
The scoring is a little skewed after Day 1 since half the field played the 7,530-yard, par-72 Crosswater Course, so the group that Gibbs is tied with at even par includes players who shot at 72 at the Crosswater Course.
Loren Personett, the head pro at the McCabe Golf Course in Nashville, Tenn., took the lead with a 5-under 66 at the Meadows Course. The highlight of his round came at the par-4 12th hole when his 8-iron approach from 161 yards away found the cup for an eagle.
Defending champion Rich Berberian Jr., the director of instruction at Vesper Country Club in Tyngsborough, Mass., is alone in second place, a shot behind Personett at 4-under 67. Berberian also opened up on the Meadows Course.
It wasn’t a great day for the Philadelphia Section crew and they will have to go a little lower Monday to survive the cut to 90 players.
Applebrook Golf Club head pro Dave McNabb is tied for 92nd at 2-over after a 74 at the Crosswater Course. John Pillar, the director of golf at the Country Club at Woodloch Springs, is at 3-over after a 74 at the Meadows Course.
Stu Ingraham, the head of instruction at M Golf Range in Newtown Square, made a remarkable rally from a rough front-nine 43 on the Crosswater Course that included five bogeys and a double bogey. The ageless Ingraham, at 57 playing in his 28th national PGA of America event, made birdies at 10, 11 and 15 in a 3-under 33 on the back nine for a 4-over 76.
Mark Sheftic, the head of instruction at Merion Golf Club, is at 5-over after a 77 at the Crosswater Course in his eighth straight appearance that was once commonly known as the National Club Pro.
Sheftic has three top-5 finishes in this event and contended at Sunriver in 2013 before finishing tied for fourth.
Philadelphia Country Club head pro Scott Reilly also shot a 77, but he played at the Meadows Course, so he’s at 6-over.
The Philadelphia Cricket Club pro shop has two players at Sunriver. Assistant pro Tony Perla is at 6-over after a 78 at the Crosswater Course while assistant pro John Spina is at 9-over after an 80 at the Meadows Course. The Philadelphia Section PGA Championship that Gibbs won was the qualifier to get into this event and was played at the Cricket Club’s Wissahickon and Militia Hill courses.
Radley Run Country Club assistant pro Brett Melton matched Perla’s total of 78, although Melton’s round came at the Meadows Course, so he’s at 7-over.
Michael Molino, a pro at The Country Club of Scranton, struggled to a 12-over 83 on the Meadows Course.
The top 20 finishers in the PGA Professional Championship earn a spot in the PGA Championship, the last professional major championship of the season, which will be played at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C. Aug. 10 to 13.