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Hutsell Wins PGA Professional National Championship
David Hutsell got to erase some disappointment yesterday in the 44th PGA Professional National Championship at Hershey Country Club in Pennsylvania.
The 40-year-old PGA director of instruction at the Elkridge Club in Baltimore rolled in an 8-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole to defeat Faber Jamerson of Appomattox, Va., and Scott Erdmann of Tigard, Ore., who had bowed out of the playoff one hole earlier, for the victory.
Hutsell, as part of the low 20 scorers, earned a spot in the 93rd PGA Championship, which will be held August 8-14, at Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga.
Ten years ago in Sunriver, Ore., Hutsell lost a playoff for a berth in that year's PGA Championship. "It's my biggest accomplishment in golf by far," said Hutsell, a former college baseball player who had been a member of a golf course maintenance crew before his college, Towson University, formed a golf team.
"Golf came to me late in life. To see where I started, and to where I am now, you could not have imagined it 15 years ago. Not a chance."
Hutsell, Jamerson and third-round leader Erdman finished tied in regulation on a sunny, gusty day at 11-under-par 274. Erdmann, a PGA assistant professional at Oswego Lake Country Club in Lake Oswego, Ore., posted a 72, but dropped out of the playoff after failing to get up and down from a front greenside bunker.
"I started out really slow and was fighting myself after bogeying the first few holes," said Erdmann. "I was trying to tell myself to be patient. It was great to get into the experience, to get into the playoff. It was a tough bunker shot and just didn't nip it well."
Jamerson, a PGA general manager at Falling River Country Club in Appomattox, finished with a 70, and nearly curled in a 35-foot birdie putt at 18 to win in regulation. He had a 25-footer in the playoff for a second chance to victory, but the ball stopped short of the hole.
Danny Balin of Greenwich, Conn., 29, who finished fourth for the second consecutive year, fired a course-record 64. "It was a dream day, and I really can't complain knowing that I played this well and still will be going to the PGA Championship," said Balin, the PGA assistant professional at Burning Tree Country Club in Greenwich.
Hutsell earned $75,000 from the $550,000 purse and became the third member of the Middle Atlantic PGA Section to capture the national championship, following friends Wayne DeFrancesco of Columbia, Md., in 2001 and Chip Sullivan of Troutville, Va., who won in 2007; both titles came at Crosswater Club in Sunriver.
"I got an email from Chip this morning," said Hutsell, breaking into a big grin. "We played each other in the Section Match Play Championship in April, and he beat me. He said, 'Go out and win this thing, so I can say I beat the National Champion.' Playing in this Championship, you can learn so much about what you need to work on.
"There were a lot of guys struggling out there, and I've been there before with a lot on the line. This golf course wasn't an easy one. When I was in that playoff in 2001, I didn't have my game on Sunday. I didn't make it. You kind of take those experiences and learn from them."
For all the scores, visit http://www.pga.com/nationalchampionship/2011/scoring/index.cfm.
The above report is courtesy of the PGA of America. For more information, visit www.pga.com.