Ten PGA Professionals will be representing the New Jersey Section for the PGA Professional Championship June 17-20.
Bayonet Black Horses is hosting this national event for the first time since 2012. The winner of the 312-PGA Professional field will receive an exemption into the 2018 PGA Championship, 2019 PGA Cup and six PGA Tour events over a 12-month period.
The top 20 finishers inside the PGA Professional Championship will book their spot in the 100th PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club, August 9-12.
Frank Esposito of Forsgate Country Club and Sam Kang of Essex Golf Center are the only two Section Professionals who competed in the 2012 PGA Professional Championship when it was last held at Bayonet.
Alex Beach of Baltusrol Golf Club became the first Section Professional to finish inside the top 20 since 2015. The 2016 and 2017 Section OMEGA Player of the Year birdied his final hole to finish in a tie for ninth, guaranteeing a spot in his first major.
Alex Beach at the 2017 PGA Championship
Other Section Professionals in the field that have experience at the PGA Championship include Esposito, Jim McGovern of White Beeches Golf and Country Club, and Brett Jones of Due Process Stable.
Jones competed in the PGA Championship in 2015, while Esposito, who won the Senior PGA Professional Championship for the second time last year, competed in 2008 and 2014. McGovern, who qualified for his third U.S. Senior Open in May, has played in five PGA Championships, most recently in 2014. Esposito is competing in his 11th PGA Professional Championship, the most among Section Professionals competing this week.
Video: Esposito at the Senior PGA Professional Championship
Kang, a winner of the New Jersey PGA Championship in 2011, is in his third straight PGA Professional Championship, while Joe Haggerty of Montclair Golf Club, will be making his debut. Kang has competed in seven PPC events.
Travis Deibert of The Ridge at Back Brook has finished inside the top-five of the New Jersey PGA three of the last four years and will also be in the field. Deibert was a runner-up of the National PGA Assistant Professional Championship in 2010.
Travis Deibert at the PGA Professional Championship at Philadelphia Cricket Club
Bill Hook of Knickerbocker Country Club, who was the only Section Professional to make the 54-hole cut at the PGA Professional Championship in 2016, will attempt to qualify for his first major. Marc Issler of Toms River Golf Center is competing in his third straight PGA Professional Championship, while Echo Lake Country Club’s Pat Fillian is making his fourth appearance.
Pat Fillian at the PGA Professional Championship at Philadelphia Cricket Club
Since 1968, only two PGA Professionals from the New Jersey Section have won this event. The first PGA Professional Championship winner was Howell Fraser of Mountain Ridge Country Club in 1968. No Section Professional has won the PGA Professional National Championship since Mike Burke in 1998.