Vermeer wins 51st PGA Pro title at Bayonet

Ryan Vermeer of Omaha, Neb., captured the 51st PGA Professional Championship by two strokes over Sean McCarty of Solon, Iowa, and Bob Sowards of Dublin, Ohio, on the Bayonet Course in Seaside.

Vermeer, PGA Director of Instruction at Happy Hollow Club in Omaha, birdied the last hole to became the first pro from Nebraska to claim the title, posting a score of 70-70-70-73—283, 5-under-par.

Sowards, the 2004 PGA Professional champion, finished at 72-72-72-69—285, and McCarty wound up at 71-73-73-68—285.

“I haven’t won a lot of golf tournaments in my life, about seven in college, but nothing like this,” said the 40-year-old Vermeer, who was a two-time All-American at the University of Kansas.

“To do it in front of cameras and what goes with it, and I’ve never won this much money. It’s a life-changing thing. I’ve known that I had enough game to win an event like this. To come out and do it is pretty awesome.”

The top 20 finishers qualified for the 100th PGA Championship on Aug. 9-12, at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis.

Jason Schmuhl of Windsor, who has won three Northern California PGA events this year, was the highest finisher from the Golden State with a score of 76-71-68-72—287 to wind up in a tie for fifth with David Muttitt of Albuquerque, N.M., who totaled 73-74-70-70—287.

Jaysen Hansen of Solon, Ohio, shot 68-76-73-71—288 to tie for sixth with Matt Dobyns of Glen Head, N.Y., who finished at 73-71-71-73—288 and Johan Kok of Nashville, Tenn., who wound up at 71-72-71-74—288.

Brian Smock of Coronado, who last month won the Southern California PGA Stroke Play Classic, was the second California qualifier with a score of 77-70-72-70—289 to tie for ninth with Marty Jertson of Phoenix, who shot 75-72-74-68—289, and Ben Kern of Abi1ene, Texas, who came in at 74-74-68-73—289.

The third Californian to qualify was Michael Block of Aliso Viejo, the 2014 PGA Professional champion, who tied for 16th with a score 76-72-66-77—291. Then he survived a 2½-hour, seven-hole playoff, with nine players battling for the five remaining spots before finishing in near darkness.

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