BOYLSTON, Mass. – Twelve New England PGA professionals are set to return to the Professional National Championship after nearly a two-year hiatus from national competition. The 53rd PGA Professional Championship is slated to begin Sunday, April 25 at the PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida and continue through Wednesday, April 28.
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The 12 New England representatives are headlined by NEPGA Player of the Decade, Rich Berberian Jr., PGA, of Vesper CC. Berberian captured three Skip Wogan Player of the Year Awards (2016, 2017, 2019) and three NEPGA Section Championships (2014, 2015, 2018). Berberian finished fourth in last year’s Section Championship but still holds an exemption into the PNC as the 2016 Champion.
Shawn Warren, PGA, Falmouth CC (Maine), returns to another PGA Professional Championship after winning his second straight Section Championship last season. The Maine product also won the Section Championship in 2013 and holds four Wogan Player of the Year awards (2013, 2014, 2015, 2018). Warren also has four NEPGA Assistants Championships to his name (2011, 2016, 2017, 2020).
A 2015 NEPGA Hall-of-Fame inductee and reigning New England Senior Champion, Kirk Hanefeld, PGA, makes yet another trip to the PGA Professional Championship in 2021. The Champions Tour veteran has claimed top-12 finishes in each of the last six New England PGA Section Championships to earn spots in the National Championship.
Bob Bruso, PGA, of Blackstone National GC heads to Florida after finishing in a tie for fourth in last year’s Section Championship, marking his fifth straight top-10 in the New England Section Championship. Blackstone’s Director of Instruction posted a two-round score of 150 at the 2019 PNC, missing the cut by four shots.
The reigning Wogan Player of the Year, Liam Friedman, PGA, of Nashawtuc CC makes his third trip to the Professional National Championship next week in Florida. Nashawtuc’s Assistant Professional finished tied for sixth at last year’s Section Championship, marking his fourth consecutive top-10.
John Hickson, PGA, of Cape Neddick CC returns to the Professional National Championship for the sixth time since 2012 and first since 2018. Hickson, the 2011 New England Section Champion, posted a three-round score of 222 to finish tied for eighth in the 100th Section Championship last year. Hickson made consecutive cuts at the 2008 and 2009 PNCs, finishing tied for 24th and 36th, respectively.
Last year’s New England Section Championship runner-up, Scott Johnson, PGA, the Head Golf Professional from Oakley CC, makes his second career trip and first since 2010 to the Professional National Championship in 2021.
Danny Kish, PGA, from The Atkinson Resort made his NEPGA Section Championship debut one to remember in 2020, posting a three-round score of 223 to claim a share of 11th overall and earn a spot in the 2021 PGA Professional Championship.
Jeff Seavey, PGA, of Goose River CC in Maine travels to his fifth Professional National Championship since 2013 after posting a 219 to finish third at last year’s 100th NEPGA Section Championship. The Goose River CC Assistant Professional won the 2013 New England Assistants Championship as well as several Maine Chapter events in his career, most recently capturing the 2020 Maine Chapter Championship
The 2014 NEPGA Professional of the Year, Greg Yeomans, PGA, from The Bay Club at Mattapoisett cracked the top-10 at the Section Championship for the fifth time in his career. Yeomans is also a six-time Cape Cod Chapter Player of the Year.
Matt Baran, PGA, from The Ridge Club, competes in his first PGA Professional National Championship next week in Florida after finishing tied for 11th at last year’s section championship. Previously, Baran captured the 2014 Assistants Championship hosted by Ledgemont CC and has not finished outside the top-10 in the Cape Cod Chapter Championship in over a decade with victories in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2016.
David Bennett, PGA, Country Club of Vermont, makes his PGA Professional Championship debut next week in Florida. The Vermont native posted a three-round score of 221 to finish in a tie for sixth at the 2020 New England PGA Section Championship after finishing as the runner-up to Warren the previous year. Despite the debut, Bennett has been a staple of the Vermont Chapter for several years, capturing the Vermont Chapter Stroke Play Championship in 2017, 2019, and 2020.
The 312-player field will play both the Ryder and Wanamaker courses at the PGA Golf Club next week.