BLUFFTON, South Carolina – Rich Berberian is having a fabulous week so far and it’s only Wednesday – known by some as Hump Day!
The Vesper Country Club pro strung together a couple birdies, a couple bogeys, and a bunch of pars to shoot a final round even par 72 at demanding Belfair Golf Club to finish T-6 from a massive 312-player field in the 52nd PGA Professional Championship. But, more importantly, the 31-year old earned a tee time in the prestigious 101st PGA Championship, scheduled May 16-19 at Bethpage Black in Long Island, New York.
Berberian is no stranger to the PGA Professional Championship, since he won the event in 2016, held at Turning Stone Resort. This is Berberian’s fourth consecutive top-12 finish in this tournament and fourth appearance in the PGA Championship. He missed the cut in each of the last three PGA Championship appearances.
The PGA Championship is the second major of the year offering a purse of $11 million, and of course, the tournament features the best players inn the world.
Entering Wednesday’s final round at -1 and tied for 5th, Berberian opened with six consecutive pars before taking advantage of the par-5 7th hole with a birdie. After a bogey on the 9th, he made the turn in even-par and got back into red figures with a birdie on the par-5 13th. He bogeyed the 15th but made three straight pars coming in to comfortably clinch one of the 20 PGA Championship spots up for grabs.
For four days Berberian carded rounds of 72-70-72-72 that began with 312 club pros, with a 36-hole cut to the top 90 plus ties, and the top 70 plus ties after 54-holes. Berberian, the 2014 and 2018 New England PGA Section Champion, finished T-12 in 2018 and T-5 in 2017 after winning the tournament in 2016.
Shawn Warren, of Falmouth Country Club (Maine), and Kirk Hanefeld, Salem Country Club, were also among the 77 players to make the second cut into the final round. Hanefeld made bookend birdies on the 1st and 18th holes in the final round, but it wasn’t enough to avoid his highest round of the tournament, shooting 5-over 77 to finish T-66 at 9-over total.
After stumbling with bogeys on the 1st, 4th and 6th holes, Warren bounced back with birdies on the 7th and 13th to get to 4-over for the tournament. But Warren made two bogeys in his final four holes to finish 3-over for the day, 6-over total and T-43 for the tournament.