Sept. 18, 2016
Broadhurst Captures The First Tee Open
NCGA/Youth on Course team of Joe Huston and David Baker win the Pro-Am
Near-record warmth greeted players and spectators during Sunday’s final round of the 2016 Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, under a sky made hazy by smoke from the Soberanes fire. The temperatures weren’t the only things that were hot as the races for all three divisions—the professional event, junior competition and pro-am—heated up over the closing holes of the tournament.
Englishman Paul Broadhurst, in his first visit to Pebble Beach, led the tournament after the first round, was second after 36 holes, and led for much of the final round. A rough patch on holes 11 through 14, part of Pebble’s less-heralded inland stretch, dropped the 2016 Senior Open Championship winner out of the lead but he recovered with a birdie at 15 to tie Florida’s Joe Durant. Champions Tour money leader Bernhard Langer started the day four back, but a 6-under 66 final round, culminating in a kick-in birdie putt on the 18th green, tied him with Broadhurst and Durant as the tournament wound down.
Durant dropped out of the race with a bogey at 18, and Broadhurst and playing partner/first-round leader Kevin Sutherland both hit take-no-prisoners second shots from the 18th fairway, leaving short shots for possible chip-in eagles. Sutherland chipped close and dropped his birdie putt for a worst-case two-way tie for second. Then, while Bernhard Langer watched from the seating area adjacent to the green, Broadhurst two-putted from 30 feet for a final-round 68, clinching his first win on American soil with an 11-under 204, in his first visit to Pebble Beach.
With the First Tee Open victory Broadhurst, who won the 2016 Senior British Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, joins Ben Hogan and Tom Watson as the only pros to have won tournaments at both Carnoustie and Pebble Beach.
In the junior event, Phoenix, Arizona’s Patrick Fernandez and pro partner Michael Allen, a Bay Area native now living in Scottsdale, combined for a final-round 64. The duo led by four strokes when they finished, though four other pro-junior teams were four strokes back at the time with several holes left to play. The team of junior Ross Funderburke and pro Billy Andrade closed the gap down the stretch, but Fernandez/Allen came out the winners at 18-under in a playoff determined by a matching of scorecards.
In the amateur competition NCGA Executive Director Joe Huston and his partner, Youth on Course board member David Baker, finished at 37-under (net), crafting a one-stroke victory over the team of Jim Davidson and Gordon Dean. Huston and Baker led wire-to-wire by carding rounds of 57 on Friday at Pebble Beach, 62 on Saturday and 59 on Sunday at Pebble Beach. At the conclusion of the event, the PGA Tour announced next year’s event will welcome a new title sponsor and be re-named the PURE Insurance Championship, with proceeds continuing to impact The First Tee. — Gary McCormick