These guys don’t have the name recognition to match PGA Tour pros, and that’s because they spend their professional lives running golf courses and teaching the rest of us bums how to play the game better.
Grey Goatee Nation, whether you know it or not, has a dog in the fight at the PGA Professional Championship at Turning Stone Resort in central New York state. Rich Berberian Jr., a teaching pro at Windham Country Club in Windham, N.H.. was alone in third place, two strokes off the lead, after Monday’s second round of the 72-hole event.
Berberian’s playing resume in New England is deep – he was the New Hampshire player of the year in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015, and the New England PGA champion in 2014 and 2015. He’s not new to the national stage – this is his second PGA Professionals appearance.
In 2015, he played in the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. He missed the cut, doomed by a Thursday 83, but he persevered with a second-round 72. It was at the Open that Berberian met up with the reporter who covered his tournament for the New Hampshire Union Leader and where he became, whether he likes it or not, an adopted son of Grey Goatee Nation.
Brooke M. Henderson was a 17-year-old of obvious talent but zero world golf profile when she came to Portland, Ore., last June to try to Monday-qualify for the LPGA’s Cambia Portland Classic.
The world, it’s safe to say, knows her name now.
Henderson not only qualified in Portland, she went on to win the tournament for her first LPGA victory. The ridiculously young Canadian is only the second player in LPGA history to qualify on Monday and win.
Great story, but just a prelude. Three weeks ago, of course, Henderson, now 18, took down an elite field to win the LPGA’s second major, the KPMG Women’s PGA at Sahalee Country Club. She won a playoff with world No. 1 Lydia Ko to get it done.
Henderson is back in Portland this week for the Cambia at Columbia Edgewater Country Club. She didn’t have to worry about today’s qualifier. This time, they’ll let her in the front door.
Scott Bisch is a Vancouver, Wash., photographer who covered Henderson in Portland last year, then got the trophy shot at Sahalee on June 12. He’ll be shooting at Columbia Edgewater this weekend, so keep it right here for more of his stuff.