(Wilmington, NC) - Savio Nazareth emerged as the winner of the 2016 Carolinas PGA Section Professional Championship held at Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, NC.
Early during the morning of the third and final round, play was suspended due to dangerous weather. Unfortunately, the tournament was unable to resume play despite a valiant effort by CC of Landfall's maintenance staff. The remnants of Tropical Storm Julia threw multiple cells of rain and lightning at the coastal town of Wilmington throughout the day. Teeing grounds, fairways, bunkers, and putting greens were under mass amounts of water. It was eventually determined that if it did stop raining, the course would require too much maintenance to allow for even a reduced nine-hole stipulated round. As a result, the final round was canceled, and the championship was based on 36 holes. However, the Committee held a number of competitors behind to hopefully conduct a few playoffs later.
After two rounds, Nazareth, a PGA Assistant Professional at Starmount Forest CC in Greensboro, NC, and PGA Teaching Professional James Stewart of Old North State Club in New London, NC, shared the lead at 141 (-3). A window in the weather system was found, and some course preparation allowed the championship to be finished using the 432-yard 13th hole. Stewart got in trouble off the tee, finding a large area of casual water. After taking relief, he hit his approach short right of the green guarded by a tall oak tree on the left. Nazareth, who was positioned on the right side of the fairway, then threw his shot to approximately 18 feet past the flag. Stewart's pitch came up 20 feet short. Still being away, he narrowly missed his par putt, leaving the door open for Nazareth, who calmly two-putted for the victory.
The importance of this win was obvious when Nazareth immediately broke into tears as Stewart congratulated his fellow competitor. Not only did Nazareth earn the title of "Carolinas PGA Professional Champion," the first place prize of $10,000, a beautiful crystal, and a framed championship flag, he also earned an exemption into either the PGA Tour's 2017 Wells Fargo Championship or Wyndham Championship.
The week did not start well for the Guilford College graduate. Without having played a practice round, Nazareth was not comfortable with a number of lines to take on tee shots and where approach shots should be placed. He stated, "I was never comfortable on the first day. I made some silly mistakes. However, I knew I could get back into contention after my opening 76 if I shot four under par or better the next day. In the second round, I birdied the first two holes and immediately knew I was good to go. I kept the pedal down and made no mistakes."
During the third day weather delay, as Nazareth waited along with the rest of the competitors, he knew he needed to remain patient. "We can't control the weather, and it does no good to get frustrated while playing the waiting game. When the final round was cancelled, nothing changed in my mind. I had to keep thinking optimistically that we'd eventually get out there for at least a playoff. I didn't want to be mentally caught off guard. Once the weather gave us that opportunity, I thought about my mother and brother who both recently passed away and spoke a few silent words to them. Also, my wife and son have been huge influences on my life. Hillary gave me a quote from the Bible to keep in my yardage book. It's Philippians 4:13 that says, 'I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.' Those words pumped me up, and I said to myself, 'Let's do this!"
After Nazareth tapped in in for par during the playoff, Stewart looked his former college opponent dead in the eyes and told him, "I know that both your mom and brother are smiling down on you. Smile back at them because you deserve this." Nazareth couldn't fully express how much that statement meant to him. He said, "James and I have known and battled each other for years in golf tournaments. He was really happy for me and my family. I thank him so much for his friendship."
120 CPGA Professionals convened to compete for the Section's most prestigious title. Additionally, 10 competitors qualified for the 2017 PGA Professional Championship to be conducted June 18-21 at Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Oregon where 312 PGA Professional from around the country will battle for exemptions into the PGA Championship - one of the four majors of golf. The following individuals will represent the Carolinas:
- Savio Nazareth - Starmount Forest CC
- James Stewart - Old North State Club
- Michael Hutcheon - Precision Golf School
- Brooks Blackburn - Palmetto GC
- Charles Frost - Old Town Club
- Brian Joyce - Eagle Point GC
- Josh Points - Wakefield Plantation
- Matt Vick - Pinehurst No. 9
- Andrew Bateman - Diamond Creek GC
- Kelly Mitchum - Pinehurst Resort & CC
CC of Landfall's Nicklaus Course has 27 holes. The championship is using the scenic Marsh and Ocean nines. The CPGA sincerely thanks the club's members, volunteers, and staff for their hospitality and support.
This event would not be possible without the support of the Presenting Partners for each of the 41 PGA of America Sections' Professional Championships.
Club Car - www.ClubCar.com
Mercedes-Benz USA - www.MBUSA.com
Omega - www.OmegaWatches.com
The CPGA expresses its gratitude to the following Supporting Partners.
Titleist / FootJoy - www.Acushnet.com
Nike Golf- www.Nike.com/NikeGolf
TaylorMade / adidas / Ashworth / Adams - www.TaylorMadeGolf.com
PGA Tour - www.PGATour.com
In addition, we thank a few Contributing Partners for their involvement.
Global Golf Sales - www.GlobalGolfSales.com
Evolve Golf - www.EvolveGolf.com
ProGolfWeather - www.ProGolfWeather.com
Precise Yardage Books - www.PreciseYardage.com
True Temper - www.TrueTemper.com
About CC of Landfall
Welcome to the Country Club of Landfall located in historic Wilmington, North Carolina. The Club boasts many amenities and is located inside the gated community of Landfall. For 25 years, Landfall has been one of the premier gated communities in the southeast. Landfall encompasses over 2,200 acres of serene, coastal living along the Intracoastal Waterway just across from Wrightsville Beach.
The Nicklaus Golf Course at the Country Club of Landfall consists of 27 holes, 18 from the original design opened in 1990 and a third nine which was completed in 2001. The legendary Jack Nicklaus, perhaps the greatest golfer of all time, played the opening round on September 6, 1990. The three nines are aptly named Marsh, Ocean, and Pines. Designed to preserve and enhance the natural character of the land, the course takes advantage of Landfall’s abundant saltwater and freshwater marshes as well as panoramic views of Howe’s Creek and the Intracoastal Waterway. This challenging course features rolling fairways, strategic sand and grass bunkers, smooth Champion greens and water on 12 holes.
About Carolinas PGA
Since its inception in 1923, the Carolinas PGA Section has been committed to nurturing and improving the quality of the game for the thousands of golfers using its member facilities. Now the largest of the PGA’s forty-one sections, the Carolinas PGA Section of the Professional Golfers’ Association boasts nearly 2,000 professional members and represents more than 800 golf facilities within North and South Carolina as well as portions of southern Virginia.
PGA professionals are responsible for conducting a variety of golf-related functions which include human resource management, golf shop merchandising, golf instruction, tournament operations, junior golf programs, growth of the game initiatives, golf club repair, administering the rules, public relations and much more. For more information, contact Liz Muroski, Director of Media and Promotions at 336-398-2742 or firstname.lastname@example.org.