By CRAIG DOLCH
Special to PGA of America
Peter Ballo won his first PGA Tournament Series event in style Tuesday, hitting a sand wedge to 2 feet on the second playoff hole.
Rod Perry ended the PGA Tournament Series the way he started it – losing in a playoff at the PGA Golf Club.
But long-hitting John Somers almost stole the show.
Ballo shot a 6-under 66 on the Ryder Course, making a birdie on the 17th hole to force a playoff with Perry (69) at 11-under 133. After they each parred the first extra hole, Ballo won it after Perry missed his 15-foot birdie putt.
“It means a lot,” said Ballo, a PGA Professional at Silvermine Golf Club in Norwalk, Conn. “I know what Rod’s done and the kind of player he is. That’s a really good player in the country I just beat.”
Perry was trying to win his 10th career PGA Tournament Series event, but was outplayed down the stretch by Ballo. Perry only had two bogeys in 38 holes.
“Peter played great,” said Perry, a PGA Professional at Crane Lakes Golf & Country Club in Port Orange, Fla. “His mind was definitely in the right spot.
“Thankfully, I didn’t play my absolute best. Had I done that and lost, it would be discouraging. I’ve got to find a way to improve to keep up with these young guys who hit it a mile.”
Like John Somers.
Somers, who won Event No. 1 when he drove it over the green of a par-4 to capture a five-man playoff, used his length to shoot 9-under through 15 holes Thursday to take the lead at 12 under.
But Somers bogeyed the 16th and 18th holes and failed to birdie the par-5 17th with a 4-iron approach. He “settled” for a 65 to finish a shot out of the playoff, tied with Dylan Newman.
“I’m still happy with the way I played,” Somers said.
“It’s a whole ‘nother golf course for him,” playing partner Rich Berberian said of Somers. “Three-hundred-yard carries for him are nothing. He can reach all the par-5s with irons. He can putt, he can hit it, he’s just a lot of talent.”
Few had heard of Somers until he won his first PGA Tournament Series event he entered three weeks ago. He finished third on the money list ($9,060) behind Bob Sowards ($13,341) and Jeff Sorenson ($9,424).
“Hopefully, they won’t forget about me,” said Somers, a PGA Professional from The Eagles Golf Club near Tampa.
Little chance of that.
“His legend continues to grow,” Perry said.
Matt Borchert (68), Sorenson (68), Omar Uresti (70) and Chris Brown (69) tied for fifth.
Ballo earned $5,000 for the win. He credited PGA Professionals John Dipilato for a putting tip and coach Stuart Waack for giving him confidence for the victory.
The PGA Tournament Series is presented by GolfAdvisor.com.
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