HOBE SOUND (Oct. 12, 2017) – Andrew Filbert of Naples took home the two biggest prizes in the South Florida PGA Section on Thursday.
Filbert shot a 1-under 71 at McArthur Golf Club to win the South Florida PGA Professional Championship by five shots. The victory also enabled the 30-year-old PGA Assistant Professional at Bonita National Golf Club to claim Player of the Year honors in the section. Filbert edged out nine-time POY winner Alan Morin.
“I knew I had a chance to win Player of the Year because I finished fourth last year,” Filbert said. “It’s one of the strongest sections around, but I knew I had a chance to hang with these guys.”
Filbert started the final round with a 2-shot lead, but was 2-over after eight holes. He eagled the par-5 ninth with a 5-iron to 6 feet, birdied the 10th and coasted to the 5-shot victory over Michael Valicenti of Jonathan’s Landing at 6-under 210.
“That eagle at No. 9 was a game-changer,” Filbert said. “It wasn’t clean on the front – there were a lot of nerves. But I knew when I got to the ninth hole, I could start attacking. I like those holes; I played the ninth and 10th holes in 6-under for the two rounds.”
Filbert and Valicenti (74-215) were the only players to break par after playing two rounds at McArthur and the other at Turtle Creek Club. Gene Fieger of Naples (73-217) tied for third with Jeff Waber (71-217) of Broken Sound – Old Course.
Morin led the POY standings, but dropped to second after a fifth-place tie Thursday. He was the two-time defending champion in this event.
“He’s a good guy, a good player and he’s had a good year,” Morin, an Assistant PGA Professional at The Falls Club of the Palm Beaches, said of Filbert. “He makes our section even stronger.”
Added Fieger: “Andrew’s been a good player for a few years, and he’s getting better. He’s a big kid that hits it far, like a lot of these young guys.”
Filbert earned $6,605 for the victory. The POY award also earned him a spot in next year’s Honda Classic.
“It’s been my lifelong dream to play in a PGA Tour event,” Filbert said.
The top 12 finishers qualified for the PGA Professional National Championship June 17-20 at Bayonet Black Horse at Seaside, Calif.: Filbert, Valicenti, Fieger, Waber, Morin, Adam Scrimenti (71-219), Jerry Tucker (77-220), Steve Delaney (74-221), Chris Kaufman (74-221), Kyle Sanders (75-222) Rick Gomes (77-222) and Jim Karr (79-223).
The South Florida PGA Professional Championship/Section Championship, staged by the South Florida PGA, is presented by Club Car. Mercedes-Benz and Omega and supported by Center State Bank, Golf Advisor, Golf Life Navigators, Kohler/Whistling Straits, Titleist/FootJoy, Precise Yardage Books, PGA Tour and Winner’s Award Group.
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