There are a total of 20 club professionals featuring at Kiawah Island this year. Get to know them here.
The PGA Club Professionals Featuring At The PGA Championship
After claiming the PGA Professional Championship by three shots, Omar Uresti and 19 other PGA Club Professionals earned their spot at the PGA Championship (opens in new tab) that begins on the 20th – 23rd May.
Uresti, who became only the sixth player to win multiple Walter Hagen Cups, will now be participating in his fifth PGA Championship.
But who are the others that will be joining him? Find out here.
The PGA Club Professionals Featuring At The PGA Championship
Omar Uresti – Was born on 3rd August 1968 in Texas. The American, who played 11 seasons on the PGA Tour, has managed to earn $4 million in prize money throughout his PGA Tour career.
Uresti caused some controversy after his first PGA Professional Championship victory in 2017, with many pros stating that he was a former touring professional, and he did not work full-time as a golf professional.
The PGA responded, stating that Uresti was eligible as an A-3 member with more than 20 years of PGA Tour membership.
Danny Balin – Was born on 9th April 1982 in Maryland. Balin, who was educated at Penn State University, played on the PGA Tour Latinoamérica, where he had one victory in 2015.
The American will be making his eighth appearance at the PGA Championship (opens in new tab), and actually ranks Kiawah Ocean Course as one of his favourite golf courses.
Peter Ballo – Played his College golf at St John’s University in New York. Ballo, who will make his PGA Championship debut, is the son of Mike Ballo who competed in three US Opens (opens in new tab) and three PGA Championships.
The Ballo family are well known around New York, with the Metropolitan (N.Y.) Golf Writers Association naming them the 2020 Family of the Year.
Alex Beach – Featuring in his fourth PGA Championship, Beach actually won the 2019 PGA Professional Championship.
Playing on the Korn Ferry Tour, the 31-year-old is the PGA playing and teaching professional at Westchester Golf Club in Los Angeles.
Frank Bensel Jr – The 53-year-old finished runner-up to Uresti at the PGA Professional Championship and featured at the 2012 PGA Championship.
Bensel Jr has been a golf professional at Century Country Club in New York for over 20 years and has also been a professional at Winged Foot (opens in new tab).
Tyler Collet – Graduating from Eastern Kentucky University in 2017. Collet is the first ever player from the University to feature at a PGA Championship.
Currently the assistant professional at John’s Island Club, the American has featured in a PGA Tour event before, missing the cut at the Puerto Rico Open. This will be his first PGA Championship (opens in new tab).
Ben Cook – The American will be featuring in his third successive PGA Championship after previously qualifying in 2020 and 2019.
The 27-year-old has one top-10 finish on the PGA Tour Latinoamérica and has also featured in the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship (opens in new tab). He missed the cut.
Mark Geddes – Born in Moreton, Dorset. Geddes will be making his first ever appearance at the PGA Championship.
The 28-year-old who finished T17th at the PGA Professional Championship, is the assistant professional at Coronado Golf Course in America.
Larkin Gross – The 23-year-old was the youngest golfer in the field at the PGA Professional Championship.
Currently the assistant professional at Springfield Golf & Country Club, the American finished in fourth position to secure a place at his first Major Championship.
Derek Holmes – Another debutant at the PGA Championship is Derek Holmes, who secured qualification with a stunning par putt at the 18th hole.
The 33-year-old is a former Division III All-American at Wisconsin-Stout and currently manages the PXG Minneapolis Store.
Greg Koch – Will make his debut at the PGA Championship after making birdie in a playoff at the PGA Professional Championship.
Koch, who coaches at Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando, also finished in a tie for third place at the Assistant PGA Professional Championship in November 2020.
Rob Labritz – The American is one of the more experienced professionals that will be appearing at Kiawah Island (opens in new tab). In 2010 & 2019, the American finished as the top club professional at the PGA Championship.
The 49-year-old is the Director of Golf at GlenArbor Golf Club in New York and has featured in multiple Major Championships.
Brad Marek – Playing his first PGA Championship, Marek has been a professional since 2008, with the American now an Executive Director at Touchstone Golf Foundation.
Marek, who graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2008, has multiple mini-tour victories and finished in a tie for eighth to qualify.
Tim Pearce – Secured his qualification in dramatic fashion when, in the final round, his putt on the penultimate hole stayed on the lip for six seconds before dropping in. This meant he would finish one shot ahead of the playoff line.
Related: What's The Ruling When Your Ball Is Overhanging The Hole? (opens in new tab)
Currently the professional at Birmingham Country Club in Michigan, Pearce will make his PGA Championship debut at Kiawah Island.
Ben Polland – Making his third appearance at the PGA Championship, Polland has played on both the Korn Ferry and PGA Tour Latinoamérica Tour, where he picked up one victory.
Currently the assistant professional at Shooting Star Golf Club, Wyoming. The American finished solo fifth to gain his spot at Kiawah Island (opens in new tab).
Patrick Rada – Will be making his debut at the PGA Championship after making par at the first playoff hole.
Rada, who is the head professional at McArthur Golf Club in Florida, will be returning to his college home for his first-ever Major Championship.
Sonny Skinner – The veteran turned professional in 1982 and will be making his fourth PGA Championship appearance after making par at the first playoff hole.
The 60-year-old is the only individual in the history of the PGA of America to earn both the PGA Professional of the Year (2008) and the Senior PGA Professional of the Year (2010, 2011, 2012).
Stuart Smith – The American will be making it a hattrick of appearances at the PGA Championship (opens in new tab), with a tied sixth finish securing him a spot.
Smith, who is the director of golf at Reno's Somersett Golf & Country Club, played in the 2011 & 2013 PGA Championship, as well as a number of Senior PGA Championships.
Joe Summerhays – The 49-year-old will be making his second PGA Championship appearance, after finishing in a tie for eighth.
Summerhays’ last appearance came in 2016 when he missed the cut; his cousin, Daniel Summerhays, finished third that year. After qualifying, fellow Utah native Tony Finau (opens in new tab) shared his congratulations via Twitter.
Brett Walker – Making his first PGA Championship appearance, Walker managed a tied eighth finish to secure his spot at Kiawah Island (opens in new tab).
Currently the assistant professional at Sunnybrook Golf Club in Pennsylvania, the American picked up his first professional victory in February of this year, defeating Uresti in a playoff to win the PGA Stroke Play Championship.
Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.
Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?
Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°
Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°
Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW
Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°
Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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