Final Results |Cook and Newman Photos
By CRAIG DOLCH
Special to PGA of America
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (Feb. 7, 2023) – Early Sunday morning, Benny Cook and Dylan Newman showed up at the PGA Four-Ball Stableford Team Championship looking for a tee time because they were alternates.
Tuesday night, they left PGA Golf Club with the trophies.
Ah, the craziness of golf.
The team of Cook and Newman received a break to get into the field Sunday – rainy weather prompted several withdrawals – and they spent the last three days taking advantage of that good luck.
Cook, a PGA Assistant Professional at John’s Island Club in Vero Beach, Fla., birdied the last two holes on the Dye Course to enable him and Newman to leapfrog two teams and win the PGA Winter Championship event with 47 points, one ahead of Steve Schneiter and Shaun Powers. Cook and Newman shared the $10,000 first prize.
“We were just happy to get in the field,” said Cook, who was the low PGA Professional (T44) at the 2021 PGA Championship. “We found out 40 minutes before our tee time we got in. We thought with the bad weather, that might happen.”
Cook almost eagled the par-5 17th Tuesday with a chip from behind the green, tapping in for birdie, and then made a 15-footer at 18 to clinch the victory. Cook had previously teamed with Ben Kern to win the Four-Ball twice, in 2020 and 2021.
“When you have a great partner, it takes a lot of pressure off you,” said Newman, a PGA Professional at Meadow Brook Golf Club. “I kept telling Benny to be patient. We got off to a really good start, had a hiccup on 7 (with a bogey) but we rallied back.”
Cook and Newman trailed the teams of Schneiter-Powers and Sean McCarty-Rich Berberian by a point headed to No. 17 before the birdie gave them the lead. Cook and Newman were helped tremendously when both of those teams failed to birdie the 17th after them.
“They gave us one by not birdieing 17,” Cook said. “We thought they would birdie 17, and we would have to birdie 18 to have a chance. Dylan and I hammed-and-egged it this week -- we didn’t birdie a lot of the same holes, and that’s obviously useful.”
Once Cook made his birdie at 18, the only way the team could lose was if someone in the final foursome holed his approach on the par-4 18th. Schneiter came close – his approach stopped 3 feet away – but that birdie only gave him and Powers runner-up honors.
“The 17th hole is what got us,” said Powers, who missed a 12-foot birdie after his partner was out of the hole. “I hit the putt the way I wanted to. It just didn’t go in.”
McCarty and Berberian (12) were third with 44 points. The teams of Jason Caron-Danny Balin (14) and Mark Anderson-Sonny Skinner (12) tied for fourth with 43 points.
Defending champions Bob Sowards of Dublin, Ohio and Kern of Georgetown, Texas, tied for ninth with 39 points. Sowards and Kern finished second in last week’s Senior-Junior Team Championship after winning that event in 2022.
“My partner must have been the greatest player on the property the last two days because I played terrible,” said Sowards, the reigning Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year who had won three of his last four starts at PGA Golf Club. “It’s disappointing because I usually play really well on these golf courses. But you can’t play great every week.”
The PGA Winter Championships are presented by GolfPass, On Location. The Stroke Play Championship starts Sunday on the Wanamaker and Ryder courses. Newman is the defending champion.
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