Morin Wins SFPGA Section Championship, Puerto Rico Open Exemption

Alan MorinJUPITER – Alan Morin capped off a big week on Thursday with his third win in the South Florida PGA Section Championship.

An assistant professional at The Falls Country Club, Morin, 41, closed with a 1-under-par 71 to win by a stroke at Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, edging Christopher Kaufman, 44, of Boca Raton, 208 to 209.

In addition to his first place check of $4,466.36, Morin received an exemption into the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open, which has been played in March the last three years opposite the World Golf Championship at Doral CC in Miami.

Morin also remains in contention for SFPGA Player of the Year honors and a berth in the Honda Classic next March at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens.

The final event to earn Player of the Year points is the SFPGA Professional Championship Sept. 28-29 at Quail Valley GC in Vero Beach. In 2009, Morin made the 36-hole cut at the Honda after claiming the 2008 Player of the Year distinction.

Earlier in the week at the Ritz Carlton, Morin clinched overall honors in the Global Golf Sales Tournament Series and was awarded the SFPGA exemption into the Nationwide Tour’s Miccosukee Championship Oct. 14-17 in Miami. The spot is based on points received with good finishes in three tournament series events over the summer. Morin earned 43 Stableford points in Tournament Series No. 3, two behind the winner, Chris Trout, an assistant at Cypress Lake CC in Fort Myers.

Morin is the second player to win the Section Championship three times. His previous titles were in 2002 at BallenIsles CC, Palm Beach Gardens, and in 2008 at Breakers Rees Jones, West Palm Beach.

The only other three-time winner is Paul Trittler of Naples, in 1989 at Doral CC, Miami, in 1991 at Cypress Links, now known as Dye Preserve, Jupiter, and in 1993 at Ibis CC, West Palm Beach.

Rarely, though, has there ever been a victory so unexpected as Thursday’s at The Ritz.

Trailing Kaufman by one and tied for second with Ken Martin of Village GC, Royal Palm Beach, as they stood on the 18th tee, Morin looked on in disbelief as both Kaufman and Martin closed with double bogeys, leaving him with a tap-in par to take the tournament.

“It was a gift, totally unexpected,” said Morin, “but a win is a win.
I was just standing there, pretty much being a spectator, and got a little lucky.”

First, Kaufman hit his second shot into the water at the 18th, made his penalty drop, put his fourth shot on the green and two-putted. Then Martin flew the green with his second, hit his third back through the green, stubbed his fourth and also two-putted.

“After that, I had to back off and re-think where everybody was and what I wanted to do,” Morin said. “In a way, it’s a shame. You hate to win like that. Chris and Kenny played great and I couldn’t make a thing all day.”

Morin was two strokes ahead at the start of the day and was still two-up at the turn as all three finished par 36 on the front nine. Morin and Martin each recorded a birdie and a bogey and Kaufman put up nine straight pars.

Suddenly, it all changed. At the 10th, Morin bogeyed as Kaufman and Martin birdied and it was all tied up. Morin birdied the 11th, but there was another two-stroke swing at the 12th as Kaufman took the lead.
Kaufman added birdies at the 14th and 16th holes, Martin at 13 and 14, and Morin stayed close with a bogey and two birdies on the last seven holes.

Kaufman, who heads the teaching program at the Boca Raton Resort and Club, finished with 70 for second. Martin and Lee Rinker, head professional at Emerald Dunes, West Palm Beach, tied for third on final round scores of 71 and 69.

“I just hung around, didn’t give up but I wasn’t making any putts,” added Morin, who hit 13 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens. “Winning this was very unexpected.”

There were 108 entries in the 32nd Section Championship. After one round each at The Ritz and at nearby Frenchman’s Reserve, the 36-hole cut came at 8-over-par 152. With sponsorship support from TaylorMade-adidas, Ashworth, Boxgroove and the PGA Tour, they were playing for a purse of $47,653.

There was one woman among the 105 entries in Monday’s Tournament Series. Coincidentally, Sherri Pla of Palm Beach Gardens Municipal GC had the only skin of the day, a birdie at the par-4 fifth hole. She received $940, more than all but four players on the tournament money list.

 

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