|Rick Schuller and Bob Sowards Capture the PGA Senior-Junior Championship|
|Rick Schuller of Chester, Va., sank a 40-foot eagle putt and added six birdies, Jan. 17, enroute to victory in partnership with Bob Sowards of Dublin, Ohio, in the 55th PGA Senior-Junior Team Championship.|
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Four years of conversation was turned into a victory Thursday as Rick Schuller of Chester, Va., and Bob Sowards of Dublin, Ohio, won the 55th PGA Senior-Junior Team Championship at PGA Golf Club.
A second straight 8-under-par 64 pulled Schuler and Sowards from one stroke off the pace to a one-shot margin of victory at 33-under-par 255. The duo trailed by three after opening with 65 on the Dye Course and remained three back following the second round on the Wanamaker Course. They pulled within one after the third round on the Ryder Course, before closing on the Wanamaker Course.
In the final round, Schuller sank a 40-foot eagle putt at the seventh hole and added six birdies, including a six footer at the 18th hole. They both bogeyed the par-3 fourth hole from left of the green.
"I hit a lot of shots close," Sowards, PGA teaching professional at New Albany (Ohio) Country Club, said with a smile. "Then Rick would hit it inside me and make the putt."
Tied for second at 256 were Craig Stevens of Dallas, Ga., and Alan Morin of Royal Palm Beach, Fla., who closed with 64, and Sonny Skinner of Sylvester, Ga., and Robert McClellan of Butler, Pa., on a 66. Skinner and McClellan, the runners-up here last year, were among four teams tied for the 54-hole lead.
"We have been talking about this for four years," said Schuller, PGA director of Instruction at Swaders Sports Park in Prince George, Va., who turned 50 last month. "We knew we would both make a lot of birdies and if we didn't make many bogeys we should be right there." Over 72 holes of four-ball stroke play, Schuller and Sowards, 44, had two eagles, 32 birdies and three bogeys.
They also recorded another achievement unique to PGA professionals in the PGA Winter Championships. They are the first players to win the Stroke Play, Match Play and Senior-Junior. Both also earned PGA Professional Player of the Year honors - Sowards in 2003-05, Schuler in 2009.
Schuller and Sowards received $5,000 apiece from the $95,500 purse.
The PGA Winter Championships resume with the Stroke Play, Jan. 28-31; the Women's Stroke Play, Jan. 28-30; and the Match Play, Feb. 4-8, all on courses at PGA Golf Club.
Senior-Junior Team Championship