METAIRIE, La. – PGA Professional Neal Ajubita of Metairie, La. was victorious in the 2013 Gulf States PGA E-Z-GO Section Champion, holding onto his first round lead to finish on top with a score of 3-under-137 (68-69). This annual favorite was held on Monday, September 23 and Tuesday, September 24 at Reunion Golf & Country Club in Madison, Miss.
Ajubita said he experienced a few challenging moments on the course that thankfully resulted in sighs of relief.
“After the rain delay, I hit an overhanging tree on 8 and had to lay up, but I was able to make a great par,” said Ajubita. “And on 9, I hit a perfect drive and lay-up then I missed my shot and hit it in the hazard and then hit it over the bunker. I hit it close out of the bunker and made a pretty good bogey there.
“After 8 , 9 and 10, I had a really bad lie on 11. I had 123 yards, I was able to hit it on the front of the green and roll it all the way to the pin. I made a 15-footer and was able to get back to -7 for the tournament.”
Finishing up two strokes behind the leader was Tim Yelverton, PGA of Old Waverly Golf Club shooting 71-68—139. PGA Head Professional Jake Narro of Oak Knoll Country Club followed close behind, rounding out the top three with a score of 70-70—140.
Congratulations are due to Bob Wolcott, PGA of Tunica National Golf & Tennis for his hole-in-one on the 176-yard, par-3 fourth hole in the second round of play.
A deluge of rain did not prevent the players from enjoying an action-packed two days complete with a barbeque and shootout contest. In Monday’s Jani-King BBQ Shootout, Ron Stromeyer, PGA had a chance to make a 50-foot putt for $5,000. He did not claim the prize this time but did walk away with $150 for his efforts. Five players had a chance to make a hole-in-one for $10,000 including PGA Professionals Tim Jaquez, Anthony Price, Tim Yelverton, Cliff Bailey and Chris Harder. Once again the grand prize was left unclaimed, however, Price’s shot landed closest to the pin and earned him $150.
Ajubita was quick to commend this year’s event staff and sponsors for making it a tournament to remember.
“I’d like to thank Tim Basel (host professional) and his superintendent,” said Ajubita. “They did a great job in taking care of the golf course with four inches of rain over the weekend and two inches today. The golf course drains really well.
“I met Benji (Ben Nelson Golf & Utility Vehicles) last year at my first section championship. He is really involved and it is very important to find sponsors who really care and provide the kind of support great tournaments need.
“The Jani-King shootout was a lot of fun. A lot of screaming and cutting up, it was a great addition after the first round.”
With his win at the Section Championship, Ajubita has earned an exemption into the 2014 Zurich Classic of New Orleans being held at TPC Louisiana on April 21-27, 2014.
“I am overwhelmed to play my home course in a PGA Tour event,” said Ajubita of qualifying for the Zurich Classic. “I am going to feel all kinds of emotions when I get there, but now I am overjoyed.”
The Gulf States PGA Section wishes to thank longtime sponsor Benji Nelson with Ben Nelson Golf and Utility Vehicles and E-Z-GO for their tremendous support of this tournament and the Gulf States PGA.
“Definitely a good return on investment with the Gulf States PGA,” said Nelson of his continued relationship with the Section. “The Section has been a large part of my family’s life for a long time. I don’t know that any amount of money that we put back into the Section will ever repay what it has given to us.”
Nelson said he was happy the Section was able to turn out another great E-Z-GO Section Championship despite the inclement weather.
In addition, the Section thanks the PGA Tour for their supporting sponsorship as well as JJ O’Neill and Jason Lambert with Jani-King for ensuring the players an added bonus of fun and prizes. The Section also thanks the team at Reunion Golf & Country including club owner David Nutt, golf course superintendent Josh Owens and PGA Head Professional Tim Basel along with the rest of the staff for hosting a great event.