HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) — David Hutsell won the 44th PGA Professional National Championship on Wednesday, beating Faber Jamerson with an 8-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a playoff.
Hutsell, the 40-year-old PGA director of instruction at The Elkridge Club in Baltimore, Md., closed with a 3-under 68 on the Hershey Country Club’s East Course to match Jamerson (70) and Scott Erdmann (72) at 11-under 274. Erdmann dropped out of the playoff with a bogey on the first extra hole.
“It’s my biggest accomplishment in golf by far,” said Hutsell, a former Towson University baseball player who was a member of a golf course maintenance crew before the school formed a golf team. “Golf came to me late in life. To see where I started, and to where I am now, you could not have imagined it 15 years ago. Not a chance.”
The top 20 players earned spots in the PGA Championship on Aug. 11-14 at Atlanta Athletic Club. Hutsell, Jamerson and Erdmann also topped the eight qualifies for the U.S. PGA Cup team that will face Britain and Ireland on Sept. 16-18 at CordeValle in San Martin, Calif. The final two U.S. spots will be determined after the PGA Championship.
Hutsell earned $75,000 with his winning birdie on the par-4 17th. He became the third Middle Atlantic PGA member to win the national championship.
“There were a lot of guys struggling out there, and I’ve been there before with a lot on the line,” Hutsell said. “This golf course wasn’t an easy one.”
Jamerson’s tee shot wedged up against the roots of a tree in the left-hand rough. The PGA general manager at Falling River Country Club in Appomattox, Va., chipped left-handed back to the fairway, then hit his approach over the green and finished with a double-bogey 6.
“To earn a spot on the PGA Cup Team and have a chance to win this week was great. I accomplished all of those things,” Jamerson said. “I got a bad break in the playoff, but I hit it there. The ball was 4 inches from the trunk of the tree and I hit it left-handed, and then faced a 140-yard approach. I tugged it and hit it into no-man’s land.”
On the first extra hole, Erdmann, a PGA assistant professional at Oswego Lake Country Club in Lake Oswego, Ore., drove into the rough on the par-4 18th. He hit his approach into a greenside bunker, blasted out 20 feet past the hole and missed the par putt.
“I started out really slow and was fighting myself after bogeying the first few holes,” Erdmann said. “I was trying to tell myself to be patient. It was great to get into the experience, to get into the playoff. It was a tough bunker shot and just didn’t nip it well.”
Danny Balin closed with a course-record 63 to finish fourth at 9 under. Balin, the PGA assistant professional at Burning Tree Country Club in Greenwich, Conn., had an eagle and six birdies. He made a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 18.
“It was a dream day,” Balin said.