Radley Run Country Club assistant pro Brett Melton appears to be making a serious run at a second straight Philadelphia Section PGA OMEGA Player of the Year award.
Melton fired a 4-under-par 67 at Trump National Golf Club Philadelphia in Pine Hill, N.J. Monday to claim a one-shot victory in the Jack Jolly/Golf Pride Championship for his second straight victory in a Philadelphia Section points event. The season-long points standings are sponsored by OMEGA and presented by the Haverford Trust Co. Melton captured the Burlington Classic Pro Am last week.
Overnight rains drenched the 6,680-yard, par-71 Trump National layout, but, aided by the course’s sandy soil, the maintenance staff was able to get the course playable in time for the Jack Jolly/Golf Pride Championship.
Melton jumped out with a birdie on the first hole, but stumbled on the par-4 third hole, taking a double bogey. But he posted five birdies the rest of the way to get his 4-under total on the scoreboard.
Mark Sheftic, the head of instruction at Merion Golf Club, also started fast with four birdies on the front nine, but was not as sharp on the inward nine and settled for a 3-under 68. Sheftic was the early leader in the clubhouse before Melton knocked him off the top of the leaderboard.
Mike Tobiason, an assistant pro at Deerfield Golf Club, also toured the front nine in 4-under and got it to 5-under early in the back nine. But Tobiason gave back two shots with bogeys on two of the last three holes and ended up tied for second with Sheftic.
Stu Ingraham, the head of instruction at the M Golf Range in Newtown Square who was the medalist in a local U.S. Senior Open qualifier last week, headed a group of three players tied for fourth at 2-under 69.
Joining him at that figure were Billy Stewart, an assistant pro at The ACE Club, and Corey McAlarney out of the pro shop at Squires Golf Club.
Overbrook Golf Club’s Ashley Grier, the Philadelphia Section’s top female player, headed a group tied for seventh at 1-under 70. Joining Grier in that group were Dave Quinn, the reigning Philadelphia Section Senior PGA Professional champion out of Philmont Country Club, and Bethlehem Golf Club assistant pro Alex Knoll.
Ross Seaman of Manufacturers Golf & Country Club, Michael Congdon of Aronimink Golf Club and Zachary Kempa of Chester Valley Golf Club all matched par with 71s to finish tied for 10th.
The Country Club of York’s head pro Terry Hertzog, winner of the Philadelphia PGA Professional Championship last summer, Deerwood Country Club head pro Greg Farrow and Brendon Post, an assistant coach and director of player development for the Delaware men’s golf team, finished tied for 13th at 1-over 72.
Ingraham’s 2-under 70 gave him the top spot in the senior division by a shot over Quinn with Farrow and Hertzog three shots behind Ingraham in a tie for third.
Farrow finally snapped the super-senior win streak by Radnor Valley Country Club head pro George Forster, who had to settle for a tie for second with Gary Hardin of Northampton Country Club and Center Square Golf Club’s Don DeAngelis. They each carded a 3-over 74.
The Jack Jolly/Golf Pride was also a concurrent Philadelphia Assistants Organization event and Melton led the field of the Section’s talented assistant pros with Tobiason the runnerup and Stewart finishing third.
Melton also seems to have his game in good shape as he heads the Philadelphia Section’s contingent to the PGA Professional Championship presented by Club Car and OMEGA, which tees off Sunday at the Bayonet and Black Horse Courses in Seaside, Calif. That usually means some prime-time viewing on The Golf Channel Sunday through Wednesday.
Sheftic, Stewart, Ingraham, Quinn, Post and Hertzog are also headed for northern California, among others from the Philadelphia Section. The top 20 finishers in the PGA Professional Championship – I still like its old-school moniker, the National Club Pro – earn a spot in the PGA Championship, the last major professional championship – at least for one more year – on the PGA Tour calendar, which will be played Aug. 9 to 12 at Bellevire Country Club in St. Louis.
I had to go back and amend my post last week on Ingraham earning a return trip to the U.S. Senior Open. I forgot he finished in the top 12 in the Philadelphia PGA Professional Championship at Laurel Creek Country Club last summer to earn a trip to Bayonet and Black Horse. If Ingraham’s calculations are right, it will be his 30th appearance in a national PGA of America event.
Ingraham has advanced to the PGA Championship six times out of the National Club Pro and Sheftic has done it three times.
Applebrook Golf Club head pro Dave McNabb lost in a playoff in the PGA Professional Championship to former PGA Tour regular Omar Uresti at the Sunriver Resort in Oregon a year ago.