San Filippo Wins PGA Quarter Century Championship, Sheerin Earns Half Century Title

January 11, 2024


Craig Dolch

For final results, click here.

For photos of the winners, click here.

By Craig Dolch

Special to the PGA of America

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (Jan. 11, 2024) – It took an extra hole – and an extra day – to decide the winners of the PGA Quarter Century Championships in cool, rainy conditions at PGA Golf Club.

Mike San Filippo of Hobe Sound, Fla., parred the first extra hole to beat Darrell Kestner of Glen Cove, N.Y., in the 65-and-older Division. Filippo rallied from three shots back with five holes left, thanks to birdies on the last two holes of the Ryder Course, including a holed bunker shot at No. 17.

The 50-to-64 Division won’t be decided until Friday morning after seven players tied at 5-under 139: Dan O’Boyle (67) of Kitty Hawk, N.C.; Mark Brown of Hobe Sound (68); Chad Proehl (69) of Urbandale, Iowa; Jim Smoot (70) of Huntington, N.Y.; Bill Breen (70) of Nashville, Tenn.; Mike Small (73) of Champaign, Ill.; and Mark Anderson (74) of St. Simons Island, Ga.

The playoff went two holes before being stopped because of darkness with five players advancing: Proehl, Smoot, Breen, Small and Anderson. The playoff resumes at 7:30 a.m. on the 10th hole of the Wanamaker Course.

San Filippo made short work of his playoff, but the story was how he got there. Filippo was two shots behind Kestner when he left his third shot in the bunker at the par-5 17th.

“I tried to get too cute with my bunker shot and left it in the bunker. Then I walked up and holed it,” Filippo said, shaking his head. “It was a complete fluke. The ball would have gone 10 feet by the hole. I was incredibly lucky there. I’m sure Darrell thought he had the tournament won.”

The 71-year-old San Filippo still trailed by one going to No. 18, but he made a 10-foot birdie putt. Kestner made a 6-footer for par to get in the playoff.

“I hit it nicely and made my share of putts, but Mike did what he had to do with those late birdies,” Kestner said. “I knew he would be there at the end even though I was a couple shots up. It’s always a good challenge to play against him.”

The five players who return to the Wanamaker Course to resume the playoff know it will likely take a birdie to win the first event of the PGA Winter Championships.

Smoot almost ended the playoff when his 40-foot birdie putt at the 18th curled around the hole. Others in the playoff couldn’t believe it didn’t go in.

“I thought I made it,” Smoot said. “But this is a lot of fun.”

Asked what his strategy would be for Friday, Illinois coach Small, who bogeyed the final hole of regulation, was blunt: “Play better than I did today.”

Jim Sheerin of Rye, N.H., won the Half Century Championship with a 1-under 70 to edge two-time defending champion Roy Vucinich (71) of Moon Township, Pa., by a shot on the Ryder Course. Sheerin, a PGA Master Professional who retired from Abenaqui Country Club, made two birdies against a lone bogey to finish at even-par 142.

“It’s a big surprise,” Sheerin said. “I played very consistently. I three-putted the second hole and that was my only blip. I’ve been coming here for 23 years and it’s nice to finally win one.”

The PGA Winter Championships are presented by GolfPass and On Location. The PGA Senior Stroke Play Championship starts Sunday at PGA Golf Club.

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